The City of West Hollywood annually celebrates the rich traditions brought to the United States by Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Each year, the City recognizes Russian Arts and Culture Month to embrace the diverse identities and cultural history of Russian-speaking community members whose origins span wide-ranging territories with varied religious and social traditions.
This year, as the devastation of war grips Ukraine following unprovoked attack and invasion from Russian military forces, programming for Russian Arts and Culture Month will focus on standing for peace in Ukraine and mobilizing efforts to raise funds to support refugees. Details about fundraising events and the link to donate are available at www.weho.org/fundraiser. All proceeds will go to HIAS, which provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers around the world and advocates for their fundamental rights so they can rebuild their lives. Originally established in 2001 to assist Jewish migrants emigrating from Ukraine to the United States, HIAS’ presence today is through a partnership with Right to Protection (R2P), an independent Ukrainian NGO based in Kyiv with offices across Ukraine.
Russian Arts and Culture Month in 2022 events are as follows:
- Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 2 p.m. – Panel Discussion: WWII Veterans Memorial Day/Victory in Europe Day at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.
- Sunday, May 8, 2022 at 11 a.m. – WWII Veterans Memorial Day/Victory in Europe Day commemoration at the Plummer Park WWII Veterans Memorial, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard.
- Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 6 p.m. – Paris Chanson Benefit Concert for Refugees from Ukraine at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.
- Saturday, May 14, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. – Maysky Classical Night Fundraiser at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.
- Sunday, May 22, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. – West Hollywood Fundraiser for Refugees from Ukraine at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The City and its Russian Advisory Board will embrace the opportunity to explore and share the deep historical elements of Russian culture within a broader understanding of empathy and support of Ukraine. Donations will be collected to support organizations assisting Ukrainian refugees. Details about this event and about additional programming during May are available at www.weho.org/fundraiser.
Additionally, the City has activated its West Hollywood Responds program to help encourage contributions to agencies and organizations that are working to help people in Ukraine. The City has assembled a list of organizations on its website atwww.weho.org/wehoresponds and is encouraging community members to take part in donating to organizations that are in urgent need of contributions.
The former Soviet Union encompassed 15 republics — Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia — and Russian culture, itself, has withstood centuries. With more than 100 distinct ethnic groups within the former USSR, Russian culture does not represent any one group. For Russian-speaking people, Russian language unites people and serves to connect and deepen a common culture across regions.
About the Russian-Speaking Community in West Hollywood — The City of West Hollywood is home to a large community of people from regions of the former Soviet Union. According to a 2013 survey of the community in West Hollywood, there are 3,872 people who live in the City who identify a former region of the Soviet Union as their primary ancestry. This represents approximately 11 percent of the City’s total population of 34,399 people.
Many Russian-speaking community members established roots in West Hollywood after fleeing from discrimination and antisemitism. In the early 1970s, the then-USSR experienced a wave of emigration due to the politics of the government. Many people chose to come to Los Angeles to embrace the future opportunities of a free world for themselves and their children. They came here by way of support provided by local programs and nonprofits to assist Jewish immigrants in what would become incorporated as the City of West Hollywood. The City remains a thriving hub for the Russian-speaking community in the region.
Since 2001, the City has recognized Russian Arts and Culture Month to bring to life the cultural and creative traditions of Russian-speaking community members with programming highlighting rich visual arts, performing arts, language, and history.
For additional information about the West Hollywood Fundraiser for Refugees from Ukraine in recognition of Russian Arts and Culture Month, please call the City’s Russian Information Line at (323) 848-6501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please contact Tatyana Rodzinek, City of West Hollywood Russian Community Programs Coordinator, at (323) 848-6826 or at email@example.com. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.