Istanbul temporarily served as the capital of the Russian migrant wave that started after the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia in 1917. White Russians, who came to Istanbul as refugees, started to put a new face on the city’s social, cultural, and artistic life in a short time. While the newcomers contributed more to the world of restaurants, sports, entertainment, and art, they showed presence more in the art of opera and ballet except for the art of painting, opened places such as cinema and theater, created workshops and concert venues where painters, classical ballet artists, and musicians were active. Thus, the city’s artistic and social activity environments underwent a significant transformation in terms of entertainment, sports activities, and especially nightlife which profoundly affected the following periods. The number of people with a high education level, speaking many languages, receiving education in music and other fields of arts among the comers was quite remarkable. With the migration of White Russians to Istanbul, the music culture spread to a very different and wide range, and that became important for both music cultures in the context of intercultural interaction. In this study, while the changing structure of Istanbul in the historical process of the White Russian Migration was presented, the effects of White Russians on music and entertainment life were examined in social and cultural dimensions. For this purpose, first of all, the effects of the White Russian Migration on the cultural environment, entertainment, and social life of Istanbul were discussed in a general framework, and then, in particular, the effects of the White Russian Migration on the music life of Istanbul and the classical music artists coming to Istanbul were discussed, and finally, the permanent effects of all these on the following periods in the life of the city were examined.


White Russian immigration, Istanbul, music, entertainment, culture