Russian Ethnic Group

The Russian people are one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. Russian people are a descendant of the Russian immigrants; belong to an ethnic group of east Slavs.



Main Areas Inhabited by Russian

China’s ethnic Russians living in the Ili, Tacheng, Altay and Urumqi of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and also living in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.


Russians have their own language and writing, using Russian. Their spoken language belongs to the Indo-European Slavic language family. But in the society, they all speak Chinese and use Chinese.

Russian People


They first began moving to China from Tsarist Russia after the 18th century. More entered various parts of Xinjiang after the 19th century, and even after the October Revolution in 1917.


Before the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Russians living in towns were mostly employed in various repairing businesses, transport, handicrafts, horticulture, animal husbandry and bee-keeping. In rural areas, groups of about 10 Russian families lived together in small villages. They reclaimed and cultivated the wasteland on the banks of the Ili and Tekes rivers.

They had achieved a fairly high level of development in production and culture. But under reactionary rule, they were exploited and oppressed.

The Russians living in urban areas now work mainly in industry, transport, finance, trade and medicine.

Although the Russian ethnic group in China has a small population, it has deputies to the National People's Congress and the regional People's Congress. They take an active part in running state and regional affairs.

Russian Family


Most of Russians belief in Greek Orthodox Church which is the same as the foreign Russians. Russians in China initially believed in the immortality of the soul, they think their souls still in after people died. 


The costume of the Russians is noted for its colorfulness. Men often wear split long robes and long trousers, or sometimes white embroidered shirts together with pantalettes. In winter, they wear leather or cotton-padded clothes and fur hats. Women like to wear short jackets and colorful skirts made of homespun cloth and embroidered with bright colored patterns. They often wear a scarf. Both men and women wear leather or felt boots with high uppers.


The housing of ethnic Russians called the "Mu Ke Leng", which is tall and big. It is a single timber framing house, divided into the bedroom, sitting room, kitchen and storeroom.


Russians eat three meals a day, they eat buttered bread and drink milk in the breakfast, eat bread and vegetables in the lunch, dinner is quite abundant, generally is rice, fried dish or pilaf, noodles, etc.

Russian Building

Marriage and Family

Russians practice monogamy. The marriage and love is freedom, but they must obtain their parents’ permission when get married. In Russians family, father is the authority whom in charge of the domestic economy. Children will live in a separate house and living when they grew up and get married. The heritage is divided by the children after parents died.


Russians bury the dead in the ground; coffins are mostly made of cypress wood. They will bathe the whole body of the death and help the death put on the shroud. Urban residents practice cremation.


Russians have many festivals; most of them are the same as the foreign Russians festivals. The typical Russians festivals are Easter, Christmas Day, Lady Day, Maslenitsa, Harvest Festival, Baptism Festival, etc.

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