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History Russia & The Former Soviet Union

The Russian Refugees

One Family’s Long Journey Home

by (author) Michael Andruff

Heritage House Publishing
Initial publish date
Nov 2022
Russia & the Former Soviet Union, Refugees
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price

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A sweeping family history, chronicling the journey of a group of Russian refugees who settled in rural Alberta in 1924, this book pays tribute to countless people who have found a safe haven in Canada over the past 100 years.

Every refugee has a story. This book follows the life of Nikifor Andriev, driven from his homeland in 1924, to settle in Canada as part of a group of 116 privately sponsored Russian refugees. Their new home, the aptly named Homeglen, Alberta, was a symbol of promise and prosperity. With a newly Anglicized name, Nikifor—now Michael—embarked on the Canadian dream, raising a family and eventually leaving Homeglen for a better-paying industrial job in BC.

Like countless other refugees and immigrants, Nikifor faced the obstacles and opportunities of life in Canada with a determination to succeed against all odds. Reinventing himself time and again following numerous setbacks and tragedies, he watched his family grow and disburse to pursue their own dreams, with the hope that each succeeding generation would have an easier life than the one that came before it. Nearly a century after Nikifor’s arrival in Homeglen, his son and namesake Michael Andruff, reflects upon his family’s history, the legacy of the refugee experience, and the parallels of his father’s generation of refugees with people fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, and, most recently, Ukraine, today.

As the son of a refugee who has benefitted from the stability and prosperity of life in Canada, Andruff shares this story as a call to action. The descendants and friends of the original group of 116 refugees who settled in Homeglen are asked to contribute to the Homeglen Legacy Fund, with the goal of raising $30,000 to privately sponsor a refugee family of four prior to June 2024 (the hundred-year anniversary of the original group’s arrival in Canada). Andruff is donating his royalties from the sale of this book to the Homeglen Legacy Fund.

About the author


Mike Andruff is the author of self-published ten travel books. He is a first-generation Canadian and was in a unique position to observe his refugee father over the course of his lifetime, which provided the material for his memoir, The Russian Refugees. The solitude brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the notion of writing a family history revealed to him the importance of the private sponsorship of refugees in Canada. After a long career in business, he is now happily retired and lives in Vancouver, BC, with his wife, Claire.

Michael Andruff's profile page