“What Russian-language Publications Tell Us about Refugee Life in Occupied Istanbul”

Ekaterina Aygün

YILLIK: Annual of Istanbul Studies 4, December 2022, pp. 99–105

“The article explores the burst of newspapers, almanacs, and calendars published in Istanbul by Russian-speaking émigrés. This wide variety of media such as the guidebook Russkij v Konstantinopole/Le Russe a Constantinople (1921) and the almanacs Russkaja Volna (Russian Wave, 1920-1921) are essential readings for understanding refugees’ new lives in Istanbul and their responses to the difficulties they faced there. Amidst unemployment, poverty, housing, and discrimination, refugees were entrepreneurial and creative, turning in food, art, literature, music, theatre, and dance to survive and maintain communal life. The refugees’ onward journeys from Istanbul to cities in Europe, the Americas, and Asia dispersed exile communities, brining with them memories of occupied Istanbul that fed into the creative works produced in new environments.”