Most of the English-speaking world knows about Facebook but where are the social people of the former USSR? Don’t jump to answer Facebook because it ranks a shocking 4th for social networks in Russia.
The most popular network for Russians, Ukrainians and others from the former USSR has one great advantage for the English-speaking world: great search capabilities in English. I didn’t know this great resource existed until my newly discovered and long-lost family asked me to join the network.
I feel so lucky to know about this network simply called VK. Just a month ago, a Russian woman on VK from my father’s southern Russia birthplace found my paternal great-grandparents’ grave from the 1940s, hardly a simple task in the massive and overgrown cemetery. She is now looking for graves of my other great-grandparents and my father’s cousin’s brother, all out of the kindness of her heart.
The search capabilities are beyond what is offered on Facebook. Users of VK can be searched by country, city, town, village, gender, selected age bracket, political views, military service, universities attended and places lived.
The best search capability for those looking for long-lost family is being able to type names of small towns and villages and see the places pop up in Russian with their regions and neighborhoods. Names of towns and villages duplicate throughout the former USSR so it is great to know the right place is being searched.
Users can find everyone living in certain towns and villages with the results provided in English. Most users on VK have photos, status updates, and lists of their friends and family available to view by anyone on VK. Search results even tell whether the users are currently online.
If trying out this social network hasn’t tempted you, here are the numbers by country: Russia: 111,443,494; Ukraine: 30,393,517; Belarus: 5,762,155; Latvia: 407,229 people ; Lithuania: 213,390; Estonia: 283,168; and Moldova: 964,464.
In all, the social network has a total of 280 million accounts worldwide. VK has become so popular that it is the second most visited website in Russia.
Start your search here even without a VK account. Here’s to finding long-lost family from the former USSR in the easiest format online.