Russians came to Seattle in several waves. The first was just prior to World War I. The second wave was the result of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and civil war. By 1925, there were approximately 5,000 Russians in the city. The immigrants embraced their new home, but they clung to their heritage. Many second-generation Russians still spoke their native language. Two Russian Orthodox churches were founded in Seattle, St. Spiridon and St. Nicolas.
A third wave of immigration came after World War II. Many White Russians settled in China during the 1920s. At the time of the Chinese Revolution of 1948, thousands fled to the Philippine Islands and South America. In 1950, Congress acted to allow these people to immigrate to the U.S.
In 1962, there were 6,000 persons of Russian background in Washington.