Koreans - Sociopolitical Organization

As members of the Soviet republic, Koreans chose to join the Pioneer group, Komsomol (the Young Community party), and the party organization to gain access into the Soviet society. The Soviet Korean intellectuals were active participants in the Communist party apparatus. A higher level of education, fluency in the Russian language, and greater representation in nonagricultural occupations allowed Soviet Koreans to become eligible for party membership. It was reported that nearly 30 percent of Koreans living in the Tashkent region belonged to the party. The high ratio of party membership is indicative of their efforts to participate in the Soviet political system. Yet actual political representation for Koreans was relatively low compared with other ethnic minorities. Only one ethnic Korean served on the Supreme Soviet and two as people's deputies.

The sweeping changes of perestroika and glasnost influenced all aspects of life in the Soviet Union. Korean cultural centers have been newly established in various cities where Koreans live in large numbers: Tashkent and Samarkand in Uzbekistan, Kharkov in Ukraine, Nalchigo in Georgia, and Chimkent and Alma-Ata in Kazakhstan. In May 1990 the National Korean Cultural Association of Soviet Koreans was formed with attendance of 300 Soviet Koreans from all parts of the USSR. Its newly elected chair, Professor Mikhail Pak of Moscow State University, considers the revival of Korean culture to be its highest-priority task.

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