The first thirteen Korean families came to the South Ussuri region in 1863 and settled along the Tizinkhe River in search of work. In 1869 the first mass immigration took place as 4,500 Koreans moved into the region as a result of a poor harvest and the famine that followed in Korea's northern province of Ham Kyung. Korean immigration to the Soviet Union is characterized by the multiplication pattern that produces "chain settlements."
Those who survived the mass relocation lived in compact groups in an enclosed boundary for nearly two decades, mostly in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. In addition, there are a substantial number of Korean residents in the Caucasus and Ukraine. They organized collective farms: in the Tashkent region, Politotdel under Kim Suk Bon (1890-1969); Poliarnaia Zvezda under Kim Byung Wha (1905-1974); Pravda and Leninskii Put' in the Kzyl-Orda region; the IIIrd International and Avangard, headed by Choi Kwon Hak, in the Tselinograd region; and 18 let Kazakhstana under Kang Tae Han. In 1957 the first state farm, Raushan, was established in the Kungradsk region of Uzbekistan. It was modeled on the Korean collective farms. Only since the time of Khrushchev have Koreans enjoyed freedom of mobility and been able to leave the area of forced settlement. In 1959 more than 70 percent of the Koreans in Soviet Central Asia lived in rural areas, but by 1970 the census data show that 59.5 percent lived in cities. In 1970, 58 percent of the Koreans in Uzbekistan lived in cities, in contrast to 20 percent in 1959. City dwellers accounted for 64 percent in Kirghizia, 89 percent in Tajikistan, and 71 percent in Turkmenia.