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Vladimir Zhiganov (1896, Khabarovsk – 1978, Sydney) – photographer, archivist, author and philanthropist – lived his professional life amid the Russian diaspora in Shanghai, China, and his energies were singularly devoted to his community. He produced only one work – an illustrated atlas “Russians in Shanghai” published in 1936. Few histories are as fundamental to the study of their subject as is this book. It is a photographic index of Russian people, organizations and businesses in Shanghai, and it remains the most comprehensive and, in many respects, the sole source of information on the diaspora prior to the Second World War. Zhiganov was his community’s only biographer, but his own career remains enigmatic, and the only accounts we have of his life are his own. The essay traces the rise of the Russian community as reflected in Zhiganov’s definitive historical portrait of Shanghai’s “Little Russia,” and examines the early years of Communist Shanghai through the eyes of the last remaining Russians.