Surviving History: The White Russians, Harbin and Beyond

Published on Apr 4, 2021
Breck Parkman, a former Senior State Archaeologist in California and an award-winning scholar, tells the stories of two White Russian families, taking the audience on the journey from Russia to China, and then to Australia and Americas. Lives spent resisting, fleeing and adapting to the communists, then fleeing them once more. The incredible events witnessed by these people include the Battle of Liaoyang (1904), the horrors of World War I (1914-1917), the Russian Revolution (1917) and Civil War (1917-1922), the capture and execution of Admiral Kolchak by the Bolsheviks in Irkutsk (1920), the Great Siberian Ice March to Chita (1919-1920), taking refuge in Harbin (1926), the Sino-Soviet Conflict in Harbin (1929), the occupation of Harbin by the Imperial Japanese Army (1931-1945), the Soviet Union’s Red Army’s occupation of Harbin (1945), the Chinese Red Army’s occupation of Harbin (1946), Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) and the Great Famine that accompanied it (1959-1961), and, finally, the voyage to Australia.

The Sisters Kuchinskaya Collection is comprised of various Russian orthodox icons, family photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, Russian language books dating back to the late 19th century, Russian arts and crafts, embroidered textile art, and small items of jewelry, among other things.

Breck Parkman is recently retired from 37 years as a Senior State Archaeologist in California; his award-winning work has spanned much of the world, including the Canadian Plains; the South Coast of Peru; and Central Siberia. Breck earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Anthropology at CSU-Hayward and is former Director of the UNESCO-sponsored Fort Ross ~ Global Village Project, which brought Russian and American children together on the Internet in the study of Fort Ross. He is a Past President of the Society for California Archaeology, and a former Research Associate at UC Berkeley. Currently, Breck sits on the Board of Directors of two local non-profits, the Sonoma Ecology Center and The Olompali People. Breck’s research interests are broad and range from Ice Age megafauna to Russian America and the archaeology of the Grateful Dead. Many of his publications address these topics. His work has been featured in several hundred newspaper, radio, and TV interviews and he has appeared in various films and documentaries on PBS, BBC, and the History and Discovery Channels. Breck lives in the hills above the Valley of the Moon with his teenage son.

Globus Books is an independent bookstore serving San Francisco since 1971. It offers a wide-ranging stock of books on all things Russia. Globus is actively working with the libraries across the states on completing their holdings for Russian publications, both contemporary and out-of-print, and features an impressive collection of immigrant press books as well as printed materials on the White Russians in China. The Globus Books team is well-known for its expertise in first editions of Russian literature, books on the Russian avant-garde, early imprints and travel and voyage books. Under the new management, Globus strives to serve the Bay Area, bridging gaps, continuing cultural traditions and giving voice to unrepresented communities in Russia and the US.

Among our Zoom audience are history scholars from UC Berkeley, travel writers, anthropologists, people whose ancestors once took Russia--Harbin--the US journey and history enthusiasts.


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