Elena Govor has given voice to a part of Australian cultural history that until now has been silent. Extraordinarily, it was men born in the former Russian Empire that constituted the most numerous group in the First Australian Imperial Force, after those of Anglo or Celtic background. Almost one thousand Russian-born Anzacs, among whom were ethnic Russians and Baltic peoples, Jews, Finns, Ossetians and Germans.
Finding these men has been the fruit of monumental and painstaking research at the National Archives of Australian and the Australian War memorial. Here Elena Govor traces their stories from pre-revolutionary Russia through the devastation of war and its aftermath to the devastation of war and its aftermath to the cultural diversity of modern-day Australia.
This book not only tells the history of Russian multi-ethnic communities in Australia, is passionately rediscovers ties, formerly severed, between the children and grandchildren of Russian Anzacs and their Russian past. In doing so, it has uncovered a unique story of Australia's past, its colour, character and comradeship.
Introduction: Forging the Nation
Part One: Origins, Emerging Communities
Chapter 1. Easter and Western Slavs
- Ethnic and Other Russians, Byelorussians and Ukrainians
Chapter 2. Other Russian Subjects
- Baltic Peoples
- Caucasians and Other Minorities
Part 2: War, the Russian War
Chapter 3. Joining Up
- Enlist of Starve
- The Battalion That Might Have Been
Chapter 4. Among the First Anzacs
- From Egypt to Syria
Chapter 5. The Western Front
Chapter 6. Being Russian Among Australians
- A Russian in Almost Every Unit
- Serving with Russians
- 'I Fight No More for the British'
Chapter 7. Heading Home?
Part 3: Life
Chapter 8. 'Suspected to be a Bolshevick'
Chapter 9. Coming Home
- 'A Man Should Do a Man's Work'
- Between the Land and the Sea
- Making a Go of it
- Lingering After-Effects of the War
Chapter 10. Becoming Australian
- Pressures to Assimilate
- A Sense of Belonging
- Blending In
Chapter 11. The Second World War