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A study of Russian organizations in the greater Vancouver area. Tarasoff, Koozma J.

Abstract

This is a study of Russian ethnic organizations in the Greater Vancouver area of British Columbia. These ethnics in total include an official population of 9,324. More specifically, this is a study of "joiners" in fourteen "existent" and seven "non-existent" organizations. Bata were gathered over an eighteen month period mainly by participant observation and interviews. The findings may be summarized as follows: 1. There are relatively few "joiners" as compared to "non-joiners" in the ethnic sub-community. 2. Those that join do so for a variety of reasons, including religious, ideological, cultural and/or personal reasons. 3. Turning from the individual to the voluntary association or organization, we find certain characteristics of growth which we have described in eight sections: origin, formal structure and membership, internal differentiation, cooperation with other groups, conflict with other groups, internal strains, actual splits and termination (if any), 4. The dominant theme which evolves from the study is that one's perception of Communism (together with the "cold war" atmosphere) greatly affects organizational behavior. Thus we find a whole series of symbolic magic-like words used to pave the way on one hand or to hinder the spread of Communism on the other—or else to maintain a "neutral" position. 5. Other factors which affect organizational behavior in the Russian community have been included under seven sub-categories: social class, kinship, jurisdictional conflict, effective leadership, ecological factors, common interest, and place of birth and time of arrival in Canada. 6. Certain queries arise concerning the actual acceptance of "unpopular" ideas in a society which theoretically glorifies "diversity". This, in turn, affects the rate of integration of such minority opinions into society. In brief, then, the study of Russian ethnic organizations shows that there are certain things which bring people together and other things which split them apart; this whole process, in turn, is largely related to the national policy and its role in the "cold war" atmosphere.

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