Volume 16, 2011 : The Emerging Second Generation of Immigrant Israelis

Generation 1.5 Russians in Israel:
From Vodka to Latte. Maturation and Integration Processes as Reflected in the Recreational Patterns


Liza Rozovsky and Oz Almog
The Department of Land of Israel Studies
University of Haifa


This article reflects on the process of coming of age among Russian Israelis who immigrated as older children or adolescents. It describes the culture of informal youth groups (tusovkas) of the 1990s that transplanted multiple elements of Russian subversive youth culture of the last Soviet and post-Soviet years onto Israeli soil. These groups - that flourished mainly in peripheral towns of Israel - served as both social safety net for alienated Russian teenagers and the bridge to their gradual acculturation. Entering adulthood, most tusovka members left the streets, completed their academic degrees, and moved to Central Israel in search of lucrative jobs and thriving cultural life. Although young Russian Israelis have adopted many elements of the mainstream lifestyle (particularly in the patterns of residence and entertainment), their social preferences and identity remain distinct in lieu of the lingering Russian cultural legacies.

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