Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Marko Dumančić, Jennifer Hanley, Alexander Olson

Degree Program

Department of History

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Through a case study of the Russian Five, the five Soviet-born hockey players who joined the Detroit Red Wings in the 1990s, this thesis offers insights into Russophobic beliefs and sentiment based upon historical memory of the Cold War. Through a loose chronological framework, this thesis considers the background of the Soviet hockey system for contextualization, and looks at the experiences of former Soviet hockey players from their arrival in north America in 1989 through the end of the twentieth century. An analysis of television broadcasts, newspapers, magazines, documentaries, and interviews, demonstrates that American citizens continued to promote Russophobic sentiment and reinforce Cold War rhetoric beyond the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 and the end of the Cold War.

While the Russian Five resided in Detroit, the Red Wings won two Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998 and were embraced into the community. Nonetheless, media coverage of the interactions between the Russian Five and other north American media markets reinforced the Cold War narrative through the continued use of Russophobic ideas, panic over immigration, and fears surrounding Russian private citizens as agents of the state.


Arts and Humanities | History | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social History | Sports Studies