Stamps Professor David Chung discusses the history of Koryo Saram, Koreans who lived in the Russian Far East before being deported to Central Asia, in a recent NBC News article.
The congregants of All Nations Baptist Church include Uzbeks, Kazakhs, and Ukrainians. The pastor is of Korean ancestry. And everyone, including him, speaks Russian.
“I am working in America because I love this country, I love people,” Rev. Leonid Kim told NBC News. “Love is a very important thing.”
How 66-year-old Kim is fluent in Russian — and how he ended up in New York City — is a story that traces back more than a century.
Facing harsh economic conditions, Koreans began migrating to the Russian Far East in the mid-1800s, according to David Chung, a professor at the University of Michigan.