Using the term Russia can often be misleading, as the term is used to describe the Soviet Union, the pre-1917 Russian Empire, and the post 1991 Russian federation. Centropa worked in that section of the Federation we will address as Russia proper. We highly recommend an essay by Dr Michael Stanislawski who goes into some detail on the various historical chapters of Russian Jewry. His essay can be found through the YIVO website: http://www.yivoinstitute.org/pdf/russian_empire.pdf
Centropa worked through two separate offices in Russia. In Moskow, Svetlana Bogdanova conducted several interviews for us and concentrated on Soviet Jewish veterans of the Second World War. Most of our interviews, however, were conducted in St Petersburg, where we worked closely with the Adain Lo Jewish Community Center. Our coordinator there was Natasha Gordina. Although we have interviewed more than fifty people in St Petersburg, once again, we concentrated primarily on Soviet army veterans.
Our more than 120 Russian interviews offer a fascinating picture of how Jews lived in 20th century Russia. In these interviews you will find stories of those who fled to Central Asia during the Second World War, front line soldiers' stories, and even a few stories of those imprisoned in Stalin's gulags.