RUSSOPHONE LOS ANGELES RESEARCH COLLECTIVE is a virtual public platform for the museification of the Russian history of Los Angeles. Our development goals include preserving and researching the city’s Russian heritage, creating exhibits, public outreach, and education.


The Russophone Los Angeles Research Collective is an independent organization, which collects, preserves, researches, and popularizes the rich history of Russophone immigration to Southern California. It was created in response to the mass migration from the former Russian empire and the USSR caused by a century of wars and political crises. “Russophone” here acts as an umbrella term to denote speakers of Russian, one language among the 224 languages spoken in our multilingual city. We chronicle, preserve and share the history of Russian-speaking migrants to Los Angeles, a group comprising a diverse range of nationalities and creeds and representing five waves of immigration from the early 1900s to the present. 

At the Russophone Los Angeles Research Collective, we see a world where communities share their values through their local histories and cultures, interpreting and reinterpreting them as markers of belonging. We envision ourselves as an inclusive social environment inspired by cross-cultural contact among diverse ethnic groups. We honor all migrant communities in the city who have historically performed acts of care for their members, bringing support and a sense of a shared purpose to their daily lives. By studying these often invisible groups and their histories, we aim to amplify migrant voices, thus building community resilience. We invite people of all traditions to engage in diasporic dialogue and cultural collaboration.  

Spanning the past 100 years, our collection includes periodicals, photographs, video and audio materials, publications, and ephemera relating to community schools and organizations, as well as to prominent members of the Russian community. Many of those community members were employed in the entertainment industry: motion pictures, theater, music, and ballet. The collection is currently housed at the Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Cathedral at 650 Micheltorena Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026. 

Founded in 2020, the Russophone Los Angeles Research Collective is run by Ivan Podvalov, a historian and athlete from Kazakhstan, Sasha Razor, a Belarusian-American scholar and archival activist, and Liane Schirmer, an American actress, L.A. historian, and aficionado of the city’s  Latino, Persian, and Russian hidden histories. 


russophonela@gmail.com/ 650 Micheltorena St., Los Angeles, CA 90026