Chinese city with Russian roots

Although located far from the Russian border, in Harbin definitely feel Russian spirit. The secret lies in the city's history.

Chinese city with Russian roots

150 years ago along the Songhua River has only a lot of small settlements, but today it is a modern Harbin 12 millionth metropolis whose inhabitants are engaged in daily affairs against the backdrop of the magnificent architecture of the royal. The reason is that the city grew on the site of the settlement, the mortgaged in the early 20th century Russian builders, although today there is almost not meet the Russian people.

The prototype of the metropolis

Chinese city with Russian roots

The first buildings of Harbin became the railway station. According to the ambitious plan of the king's finance minister Count Sergei Witte on the construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway, Harbin important role junction on the way from Lake Baikal to Vladivostok and further into southern China. After receiving the official status of the city of Harbin began to develop rapidly and by 1917 there were about 100,000 inhabitants, 40,000 of whom were Russian.

Some buildings have retained Russian image of

During the construction of the new town of Count Witte wanted to make it clear to everyone who is boss. The result was a set of buildings of Russian architecture.

Chinese city with Russian roots

Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sofia (opened in 1907)

Chinese city with Russian roots

The farmstead "Volga"

Chinese city with Russian roots

Prospect in the European style in the district of Daoli

Chinese city with Russian roots

Right Grand Hotel Lungmen (opened in 1901)



Long before the formation of the Jewish Autonomous Region, many Jews from Russia left the east to Harbin, seeking to escape persecution and start a new life. Since the Russian Emperor Alexander III and Nicholas II then spent the ultraconservative national policies, lawlessness and other harassment pushed Russian Jews to the east. By 1913, in Harbin there were about 5000 Jews, and by 1920 their number reached 20 thousand. Today, the Jewish heritage preserved here only two synagogues and a vast graveyard.

Chinese city with Russian roots

The Jewish cemetery in Harbin

One of the largest communities of white emigrants

Of course, most of the white emigrants sent their foot in Paris, Berlin and Prague, but Harbin played a very significant role. After 1917, the number of Russian and jumped in the period of civil war with 40 000 to 120.

Chinese city with Russian roots

Although the majority of the white immigrants did not have Chinese nationality, the Russian community in Harbin prospered by creating and Russian schools and Russian-language newspapers.

Russian Fascist Party

In the early 30's, many members of the Russian community in Harbin welcomed fascism, seeing it as a way to fight the Bolsheviks. Headed by Konstantin Rodzaevsky party formed an alliance with Imperial Japan, announced the elimination of the Jews, the restoration of the influence of the Orthodox Church and the construction of the new corporatist economic system. After the annexation of Manchuria by the Japanese in 1931 and as a result of the RFP number of Jewish community in Harbin was reduced from 13 to 5000 by 1935. But the future was even more somber.

"Japanese Auschwitz"

Chinese city with Russian roots

The ruins of Unit 731

This unit with the innocuous official name "General Directorate of Water Supply and Prevention part of the Kwantung Army," is responsible for one of the worst ever committed war crimes. Here, experiments were conducted on people who can not imagine even in a horror movie, such as the opening of the living, frostbite, plague injection.

Guinea Unit 731, located just 24 km from Harbin, steel including Russian citizens. About 30% of victims of cruel experiments have Russian nationality.

The fate of the remnants of the Russian community

After the Chinese Eastern Railway in 1935 was sold by the Soviet Union, Japan, the majority of Russian Harbin decided to leave. Many have chosen to return home, but, ironically, some of them were arrested on suspicion of spying for Japan during the great purge of 1936-1938.

When in 1945 the city took the Soviet army, were arrested Russian who collaborated with the Whites, Japanese, or RFP, that is, almost all the rest of the Russian population of Harbin. Those who were not arrested, and returned to the USSR, and at the time of the census in 1964 in Harbin, there were only 450 Russian.

The locals tend to keep the Russian heritage of

Chinese city with Russian roots

The visitor ethnographic project "Russian Village Sunny Island", located near Harbin

Historical Russian architecture in Harbin gradually replaced by modern structures, but the people are trying to preserve the local attractions. For example, when talking about the demolition of old bridge began, activists have made making it to the list of monuments.

Ice Kremlin - one of the buildings, which will certainly present at the annual ice festival in Harbin. One of the city's historic restaurants, "Lucia", also cherishes the unique interior in the style of Russian emperors.