Many immigrants from the old Soviet Union made a home for themselves in the so-called "red borough" of Staten Island, N.Y. But despite New York's traditionally Democrat-blue past, many are reportedly flocking to the Republican Party today, claiming that the national Decmorats' "socialistic" policies remind them too much of Mother Russia's top-down oligarchy they fled from in the past.
Staten Island Real-Time News reports:
Businessman Arkadiy Fridman said that the newly formed Citizens Magazine Business Club, a confederation of more than 50 Russian-owned businesses here and in Brooklyn, has aligned itself with the Molinari Republican Club (MRC) in an effort to increase the Russian community's political and economic clout. ...
"We decided we had to support this club," said Fridman, a former Soviet Army officer who came to the United States in 1992. "They are very close to our political and business vision."
In the wake of the national GOP's big wins this year, when the party took back control of the House, Republicans everywhere are more confident that their bedrock message of smaller government and lower taxes will resonate with American voters.
Fridman said that the Democrats "are going in an absolutely different direction," focusing on "income redistribution" and rich-versus-poor "class war."
"It's too socialistic," said Fridman, head of the non-profit Staten Island Community Center and president of Citizens Magazine, a public affairs publication. "It's very painful for us to see."
The Citizens Club, formed earlier this month, looks to support and grow local businesses here; introduce Russian firms to the borough's existing business and political communities, and promote Russian community representatives to serve in elected office.
Reflecting the American Dream ideal that has drawn immigrants to the United States since the county's founding, the SI Real-Time News says that many Russians are "grateful" for America's freedoms and want to show it.
Yevgeniy Lvovskiy, of the ZHL Group development firm, said that many Russians here also are looking to break ethnic stereotypes that paint Russia as being all about "Siberia, beer and vodka."
"We are looking for an opportunity to prove ourselves," said Lvovskiy, who came to the United States in 1999. "If you work hard, and do the right thing, you get rewarded. We want to show people we are normal."
It's that self-starting stance, he said, that makes Russians here more in line with GOP orthodoxy.
So what do local Democrats have to say about this Big Brother-esque critique of their party? Democratic state Sen. Diana Savino said that while she understands Russians' natural aversion to big government, she thinks such criticism of her party is off-base, calling any comparison between the Democratic Party and Soviet-era Russia "absurd."