This article is devoted to the problem of ethno-cultural identification in the emigrant community of Harbin which is the center of the eastern branch of foreign countries from the 20s of the last century to the beginning of the 2000s. For a long time, this phenomenon was studied on the basis of archival documents, memoirs of famous historical figures, writers and poets. The source and the material of the research is the recently opened archive of Valentina Han, an ethnic Korean woman brought up in Russian culture, who considered herself to be Russian and was the spiritual leader of the last Russian Harbinites. The archive includes copies of V.P. Han's letters sent to her relatives, friends and acquaintances, letters and copies of letters sent by Harbinites to the USSR, Russia, Australia, USA, etc., greeting cards, letters, documents, notes, etc. of Russian residents of Harbin. Living conditions in Harbin allowed V. Han to get a brilliant education, brought up love for the Russian language and Russian culture, and formed ascetic ideals. Russia as an ethno-cultural setting defined ethnolinguistic, ethno-religious and ethno-psychological aspects of V. Han's personality. Judging by the archive, the spiritual scrapers in the years of trial were the deep Orthodox faith and the desire for education. Valentina Han's archive collection was also perceived as a spiritual mission to preserve the cultural heritage of her relatives and friends. The research was conducted with the help of attribution and textual reconstruction of archival documents, archival heuristics.
Keywords: Harbinarchivessource studiesorthodoxyethnocultural Identity
The phenomenon of Russian emigration in the Far East has recently been actively studied on the basis of archival documents (Bureau for Russian Emigrants in the Manchurian Empire - BREM) and written sources, which are memoirs of historical figures, famous people, writers, poets (Zabiyako, Zabiyako, Levoshko, & Khisamutdinov, 2015; Zabiyako, 2016). However, the "oral history" of "common people", which are the survived emigrants and their descendants (Zinenko & Ju, 2015; Zabiyako & Zabiyako, 2018; Zabiyako, Zinenko, & Zhang, 2018), their epistolary heritage and private archives, has no less historical value.
One of these collections is the archive of the Harbin Russian Valentina Han (Han, 2005), which belongs to the collection of amateur historian Li Liang: copies of V.P. Han letters sent to her relatives, friends and acquaintances, letters and copies of letters sent by Harbinites to the USSR, Russia, Australia, USA, etc., greeting cards, letters, documents, notes, newspaper clippings, photographs, invoices, statements to the authorities, death certificates, etc.
The research is based on the problem of reconstructing the processes of ethno-cultural identification of emigrants who found themselves after the revolution in China, in Northern Manchuria, and who inhabited the multinational, multi-confessional Harbin from the beginning of the 20s to the end of the last century.
Valentina Han's archive as a source; biography of Valentina Pavlovna Han and her family as a typical fate of common Russian emigrants in Harbin; ethno-cultural and ethno-religious processes in Harbin in the XX century; position and self-consciousness of former emigrants during the Japanese occupation, after the formation of the People's Republic of China, during the "cultural revolution", after rehabilitation; the role of Orthodoxy in the life of the emigrant community; ethnicity as a conscious choice.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the work is to study the strategies of ethno-cultural identification of emigrants in the conditions of forced isolation from Russia, economic difficulties of refugee status, political repressions, lack of spiritual support on the basis of archival documents.
The study uses methods of archival heuristics and attribution, source analysis, textual reconstruction.
Valentina Han was born in a Korean family in Nikolsk-Ussuriysk in 1922 (Kositsyn, 2005). According to other sources, on October 31, 1924, in Changchun (Han, 2005), where her father Pavel Trofimovich Han moved to in 1923. He was born in Vladivostok; there in 1918 he married Valya's mother Elizabeth Pavlovna:
Being a native of the Primorsky Krai of Russia, he [P.T. Han] in 1923 together with his wife moved to China, Changchun, where in 1924 their daughter Valentina was born. There were no Russians in Changchun at that time, so he and his family moved to Harbin, where I [Georgy Han] was born in 1927, and in 1930 my younger brother Erast was born. (Han, 2008, p.1)
Soon Valentina Pavlovna's father, a descendant of a poor peasant family, who had three classes of parochial school and two classes of gymnasium, started business and became a wealthy man:
He was gifted by nature with an analytical mind and a commercial ability, and he was able to dispose of people and find common ground with them. All these qualities contributed to the success of his business, and by the time he was 18 he had led his family out of need. (Han, 2008, p.2)
Valentina entered the Russian Gymnasium named after Dostoevsky, which after closing became the Gymnasium of the Bureau for Russian Emigrants (BREM), and then was renamed by the Japanese into the 2nd Higher School for Women. She graduated in 1939, entered the Commercial Department of the North Manchurian University and graduated in 1942, receiving a degree of Candidate of Commercial Sciences. From 1939 to early 1946, Valya was studying piano at the First Harbin Music School under the supervision of N.K. Fokina-Sidorova. In 1943 Valentina took sewing courses under the supervision of Zh.T. Ignatovich, and from 1944 to January 1946 she took an Obstetrical and Feldsher course at the Mariinsky Red Cross Community in Harbin. In addition to the Korean language, which she practically did not use in her adult life, Valentina knew the Russian language in which she thought, wrote letters; English language, which she learned at the courses at the Christian Young People's Association (CYPA) college; Chinese language, which she learned during her 12-year imprisonment and exile in China; Japanese language, which, like Russian and English, she taught. “Having such a brilliant all-round education, Valya was already at school imbued with a great love for Russia, for everything Russian and, while being in the Russian environment, she sometimes forgot that she was Korean” (Han, 2005, p.6). Valya was baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church and until the end of her life remained a deeply religious person, emphasizing that it was her faith that helped her to survive during the difficult years of mental and physical trials.
In 1945, Soviet troops entered the city, and then, after their departure, troops of the 8th Chinese army, which included Korean divisions. Koreans could not forgive Pavel Trofimovic Han's wealth: "Once they broke into our house, they threw us all out into the street and completely plundered our house, taking everything they could carry away, and what they could not, barbarously smashing and destroying everything" (Han, 2008, p.2), and the Chinese authorities nationalized all the three houses belonging to the family. The Hans had to move from Harbin to the Yakeshi Railway Station. Father, both sons and daughter got a job in the Department of Forest Concessions of the Chinese Eastern Railway and the Vorontsov Brothers, where Valentina worked as a secretary-machine operator:
In August 1949, Valentina Pavlovna was transferred to work in Harbin, where her parents soon moved as well. In the 50-60s, both brothers moved to Kazakhstan one by one. Valentina tried to get a visa to meet Georgiy, often went to the embassy in Beijing. The "cultural revolution" began and Valentina was accused of "spying for the USSR": "On August 29, 1964, she [V.P. Han] was grabbed in the street and pushed into a car and taken to prison, where she was placed in solitary confinement." (Han, 2005, p.6). For eight years, she was summoned for questioning every day. Only eight years and five months later she got a sentence of ten years' imprisonment and she was allowed to see her mother for the first time. In a letter to a friend, Valya wrote:
Being a deeply religious person, Valya was always praying warmly in her imprisonment. In the letter, V. Khan records his visionary experience:
Later on, she stoically evaluated the years in isolation:
In 1975, the authorities sent Valentina to the village for "rehabilitation", where she was given the heaviest and dirtiest job. Her long prison sentence undermined her health to such an extent that the prison doctor passed a harsh sentence: Valya is not a tenant in this world. In Russia and among the Harbinites there were rumors that Valentina died in prison:
She was let go to die, but she survived and returned to an empty house:
In 1982 Valentina Pavlovna was rehabilitated, she was given a two-room apartment, paid a part of her salary of 10 thousand yuan, paid a pension:
Having experienced incredible hardships and deprivations, unable to build personal happiness, Valentina Pavlovna gave herself to her students. To begin with, she gathered a small group and began to teach Russian. Later, she began to teach Russian at the Polytechnic Institute, and the English language groups were also formed. The children loved their teacher with all their heart, and grateful parents tried to do something nice in return:
In different years 1235 pupils have passed through Valentina Pavlovna's lessons: "I'm busy with pupils every day and on Sundays I opened the "Salon of spoken Russian" in the Workers' Palace on the Starokharbinskoe highway. I have already spent 5 Sundays. She is already 82 years old. I walk quite energetically so far, but with a cane".
After Pokrovskaya church in Harbin was opened (after a long break), V.P. Han began to take part in church and public life; she helps father Gregory, rector of the church, teaches the half-blooded parishioners to sing pious chansonnette:
In every letter to her relatives and friends, Valya wrote congratulations in honor of the Orthodox holidays, as well as reported the news of the Orthodox community of Harbin:
Valya got many letters with admiring reviews and advice about church affairs in Harbin: "But for us, Harbin was different. And you are destined to become the keeper of his antiquity, the guardian angel of this handful of Orthodox people gathering under the vaults of Pokrovskaya Church". In 1997 Valentina Pavlovna was awarded a diploma from the New York Orthodox community for her active participation in the search for the relics of Bishop Iona Hankouski in 1994.
Valentina Pavlovna Han passed away suddenly on November 8, 2005 from a heart attack. She did not want to be cremated under the Chinese law:
The Harbin resident's, ethnic Korean Valentina Han's archive is not only an evidence of the private fate of the Russian righteous person, without whom, as you know, the Russian world does not exist.. Scrupulously collected and preserved in a variety of epistolaries, addressees and margins of various kinds, this archive impartially testifies to the complex and tangled history of common Russian emigrants who remained in China in its daily life. In this life, Russian identity, as a conscious choice, becomes the basis for consolidation around Russian cultural traditions, Orthodox customs, and projections for the future of many Far Eastern emigrants.
The research is supported by a scholarship of the Amur State University. Title of the project: "Russians and Chinese in the conditions of interethnic contacts of XIX-XXI centuries: cultural, literary, religious context".
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21 January 2020
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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society
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Zabiyako*, A., Zinenko, Y., Kontaleva, Y., & Tsmykal, O. (2020). V. Hans Archive - A Source For Reconstruction Of Processes Of Ethnocultural Identity. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 3433-3439). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.12.04.461