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Why do Russians hate Texas so much?

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Feodor Dostoevsky- there’s a town named after him in Texas- allegedly.

Recently I read that the population of people speaking Russian at home in the United States has quadrupled over the last thee decades. According to the US Census office, Russians – or rather Russian speakers – are now almost 1 million strong. That’s a lot of post-Soviet immigrants. And yet it seems there is at least one area in America that Russian speakers would rather avoid: my adopted state of Texas.

No, really – it’s official. The census also provides an interactive map showing where the speakers of various languages live and while fiddling about with it a writer at Forbes magazine noticed that although big cities like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago can lay claim to giant blobs of Russianness, in Texas – there’s nothing, just a few tiny spots here and there.
And yet Texas is home to Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin – the 4th, 7th, 9th and 11th biggest cities in the United States respectively. We should have lots of Russians, but we don’t. Well, at least that explains why my local Russian deli is so bad.

Indeed, over the course of 7 years in Austin I’ve met very, very few Russian speakers – a handful of Internet brides, some students, one or two academics and the occasional computer programmer. Houston isn’t much better – the Russians there have a website, but it’s incredibly boring… stuff about puppet shows, tips on where to get your car repaired – that sort of thing.

But why are Russian speakers avoiding Texas so strenuously while (according to the map) they congregate in the Pacific Northwest where it not only rains a lot but they are very close to the chill wind of boredom that blows down from Canada?  Here the sun shines every day and we border a drug war. It’s much more interesting.

It’s doubly strange, because Texas has a thriving economy and is home to the type of industries at which Russian speakers traditionally excel, such as oil, space and computer technology. Is it the heat? But Russians abound in Florida: Transaero even flies direct from Moscow to Miami. Besides, the heat is easy to deal with – you just stay indoors for four or five months of the year, as you do in Russia when it’s cold.

In fact, I can think of a whole bunch of things that Texas has in common with Russia, such as…

To read the rest of this awesome article, click here.

Daniel Kalder is an author and journalist originally from Scotland, who currently resides in Texas after a ten year stint in the former USSR. Visit him online at www.danielkalder.com
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