JustTroper on Aug 3rd 2017 at 3:10:06 PM
Last Edited By:
JustTroper on Jan 9th 2018 at 3:26:42 PM
Page Type: trope
After 1917, when the October revolution happened, Russia ceased being the part of the Western world order and started being actively opposed to it, and the Soviet Russians gradually became the stock villains of western fiction. However, the other kind of Russians, those who were not supportive of Bolsheviks and who immigrated into Western countries to avoid prosecution, tended to be portrayed sympathetically in contrast. Some of these characters would simply be trying to find their place in the Western world, while others would attempt to restore Russia to its pre-1917 position (in Cold War era fiction, they would frequently join forces with NATO). In earlier works, most of such characters belonged to nobility because nobility was the initial main target of the Soviets; later works also feature ordinary Russian citizens who escaped the Soviet state.
There were several reasons for this trope: first, many Westerners were genuinely sympathetic with the Russian emigres, since while people in the West were only told about the horrors of Bolshevism, these people experienced it themselves. Second, it was sometimes used for political correctness purposes, to make it clear that the author was opposing the Soviet ideology and not trying to offend the Russian nation. Finally, some Westerners also believed that these people could be useful in taking down the Soviet state and reintegrating Russia into the West.
- Erich Maria Remarque was fond of this trope: many of his novels feature noble Russian immigrants who are usually friends of the protagonist. Notable examples include Boris Morozov from Arch of Triumph, Count Orlov from Three Comrades, and Boris Volkov from Heaven Has No Favorites.
- Agatha Christie also frequently depicted such characters. This includes Vera Rossakoff, Hercule Poirot's only acknowledged love interest, and Princess Natalia Dragomiroff from Murder on the Orient Express who is portrayed in a generally good light and was acquitted by Poirot in spite of taking part in the titular murder.
- In Anastasia, the titular protagonist who had to escape the execution of the Romanov family is portrayed very sympathetically. The main antagonist is Grigory Rasputin who used his dark magic to cause the October Revolution.
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