Russians have a long history in Alaska, with some Siberian migrant groups dating back as far as the early 1700s. The first European settlement in Alaska was in Kodiak in 1784 during the Russian fur trade. Eventually, Russia officially sold Alaska to the United States in 1867 but many Russians stayed and continued to grow.
One notable member of the Russian Orthodox community in Anchorage is professional pianist, Margarita Merkusheva. Since moving to Alaska from Vladivostok 20 years ago, she’s continued to advance her musical career by writing custom music for the Alaska Dance Theatre and giving piano lessons to dozens of families in the Russian community.
Video and story by Valerie Kern
Additional video by Margarita Merkusheva, Sabine Poux, and Hope McKenney
Music by Margarita Merkusheva and FirstCom Music
Special thanks to Alaska Dance Theatre
Historical information from Britannica.com