Russians for Trump, Others for Clinton: Dramatic Split in Brighton Beach

A large population of immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Brighton Beach overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump in this presidential election, while other ethnic groups in the area, in particular Pakistanis, voted for Hillary Clinton.

One of the polling stations in the area was located in an apartment complex built in the 1960s and formerly known as Trump Village. Among Russian-speaking voters who agreed to talk there and at two other polling places in Brighton Beach on election day, all voted for Donald Trump.

A map of voting results published on Wednesday by the website DNAinfo demonstrates the split clearly. Areas near the beach where many from Russian-speaking community live are distinctly colored in red. However, only a few blocks away, around the Neptune Avenue, where there are many Muslim families, blue is the dominant color.

Many residents of Brighton Beach who are not originally from the former Soviet Union have been very vocal about opposing Donald Trump. His position on immigration and charged words he used when talking about it during his campaign have unnerved people across several ethnic groups.

At the same time, Russian-speaking immigrants, many of whom came from the U.S.S.R as Jewish refugees, have traditionally voted Republican in presidential elections. Among their reasons is the rejection of everything remotely socialist, promises of support of Israel and crackdown on terrorism, as well as lower taxes.

Many Brighton Beach residents, especially of the older generation, have long relied on overwhelmingly conservative local media in the Russian language for political analysis. During this campaign, Russian government-owned TV channels, to which many Brighton Beach have access to, also took an especially strong pro-Trump stance.

According to a study done by several Russian-speaking organizations, among those who rely only on Russian-language news sources, 58% were likely to vote for Trump versus merely 14% supporting Hillary Clinton.