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History of the Jews in Russia and the Soviet Union

History of the Jews in Russia and the Soviet Union

Overview


The vast territories of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 at one time hosted the largest populations of Jews in the diaspora
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

. Within these territories the Jewish community flourished and developed many of modern Judaism's most distinctive theological and cultural traditions, while also facing periods of antisemitic discriminatory policies and persecutions. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, many Soviet Jews took the opportunity of liberalized emigration policies, with over half their population leaving, most for Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, the United States and Germany.
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The vast territories of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 at one time hosted the largest populations of Jews in the diaspora
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

. Within these territories the Jewish community flourished and developed many of modern Judaism's most distinctive theological and cultural traditions, while also facing periods of antisemitic discriminatory policies and persecutions. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, many Soviet Jews took the opportunity of liberalized emigration policies, with over half their population leaving, most for Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, the United States and Germany. Despite this emigration, the Jews residing in Russia and the nations of the former Soviet Union still constitute one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe.

Early history


Tradition places Jews in contemporary southern Russia, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, and Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 since the Babylonian captivity
Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon—conventionally 587–538 BCE....

, and records exist from the 4th century showing that there were Armenian cities possessing Jewish populations ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 along with substantial Jewish settlements in the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

. Under the influence of these Jewish communities, Bulan
Bulan (Khazar)
Bulan was a Khazar king who led the conversion of the Khazars to Judaism. His name means "elk" in Old Turkic. The date of his reign is unknown, as the date of the conversion is hotly disputed, though it is certain that Bulan reigned some time between the mid-700s and the mid-800s. Nor is it settled...

, the Khagan Bek
Khagan Bek
-History:Khazar kingship was divided between the khagan and the Bek or Khagan Bek. Contemporary Arab historians related that the Khagan was purely a spiritual ruler or figurehead with limited powers, while the Bek was responsible for administration and military affairs.In the Khazar Correspondence,...

 of the Khazars
Khazars
The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people who established one of the largest polities of medieval Eurasia, with the capital of Atil and territory comprising much of modern-day European Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, large portions of the northern Caucasus , parts of...

, and the ruling classes of Khazaria (located in what is now Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, Southern Russia and Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

), adopted Judaism at some point in the mid-to-late 8th or early 9th centuries. After the overthrow of the Khazarian kingdom by Sviatoslav I of Kiev
Sviatoslav I of Kiev
Sviatoslav I Igorevich ; , also spelled Svyatoslav, was a prince of Rus...

 (969), Khazar Jews may have fled in large numbers to the Crimea, the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, and the Russian principality of Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 which was formerly a part of the Khazar territory. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Jews appear to have occupied a separate quarter in Kiev, known as the Jewish town (Old Russian Жидове, Zhidove, i.e. "The Jews"), the gates probably leading to which were known as the Jewish gates (Old Russian Жидовская ворота, Zhidovskaya vorota). The Kievan community was oriented towards Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

 (the Romaniotes
Romaniotes
The Romaniotes or Romaniots are a Jewish population who have lived in the territory of today's Greece and neighboring areas with large Greek populations for more than 2,000 years. Their languages were Yevanic, a Greek dialect, and Greek. They derived their name from the old name for the people...

), Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 and Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 in the tenth and eleventh centuries, but appears to have been increasingly open to the European Ashkenazim from the twelfth century on. Few products of Kievan Jewish intellectual activity are extant, however. Other communities, or groups of individuals, are known from Chernigov and, probably, Volodymyr-Volynskyi
Volodymyr-Volynskyi
Volodymyr-Volynsky is a city located in Volyn Oblast, in north-western Ukraine. Serving as the administrative centre of the Volodymyr-Volynsky District, the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast...

. At that time Jews are probably found also in northeastern Russia, in the domains of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky
Andrei Bogolyubsky
Prince Andrei I of Vladimir, commonly known as Andrey Bogolyubsky was a prince of Vladimir-Suzdal . He was the son of Yuri Dolgoruki, who proclaimed Andrei a prince in Vyshhorod . His mother was a Kipchak princess, khan Aepa's daughter.- Life :He left Vyshhorod in 1155 and moved to Vladimir...

 (1169–1174), although it is uncertain to which degree they would have been living there permanently.

Though northeastern Russia had few Jews, countries just to its west had rapidly growing Jewish populations, as waves of anti-Jewish pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

s and expulsions from the countries of Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 marked the last centuries of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, a sizable portion of the Jewish populations there moved to the more tolerant countries of Central
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, as well as the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

.

Expelled en masse from England, France, Spain and most other Western European countries at various times, and persecuted in Germany in the 14th century, many Western European Jews naturally accepted Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 ruler Casimir III the Great
Casimir III of Poland
Casimir III the Great , last King of Poland from the Piast dynasty , was the son of King Władysław I the Elbow-high and Hedwig of Kalisz.-Biography:...

's invitation to settle in Polish-controlled areas of Eastern Europe as a third estate, performing commercial, middleman services in an agricultural society for the Polish king and nobility between 1330 and 1370, during Casimir the Great's reign. Approximately 85 percent of the Jews in Poland during the 14th century were involved in estate management, tax and toll collecting, moneylending or trade.

After settling in Poland (later Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

) and Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 (later Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

), the population expanded into the lightly populated areas of Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, which were to become part of the expanding Russian empire. In 1495 Alexander the Jagiellonian expelled the Jews from Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

 but reversed his decision in 1503.

In the shtetl
Shtetl
A shtetl was typically a small town with a large Jewish population in Central and Eastern Europe until The Holocaust. Shtetls were mainly found in the areas which constituted the 19th century Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Galicia and Romania...

s
populated almost entirely by Jews, or in the middle-sized town where Jews constituted a significant part of population, Jewish communities traditionally ruled themselves according to halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

, and were limited by the privileges granted them by local rulers. (See also Shtadlan
Shtadlan
A Shtadlan was an intercessor figure starting in Medieval Europe, who represented interests of the local Jewish community, especially those of a town's ghetto, and worked as a "lobbyist" negotiating for the safety and benefit of Jews with the authorities holding power...

). These Jews were not assimilated into the larger eastern European societies, and identified as an ethnic group with a unique set of religious beliefs and practices, as well as an ethnically unique economic role.

Russian Empire


Documentary evidence as to the presence of Jews in Muscovite Russia is first found in the chronicles of 1471. The relatively small population of Jews were generally free of major persecution: although there were laws against them during this period, they do not appear to be strictly enforced.

Small number of Jews, settled in Russian and Ukrainian towns suffered occasional persecutions, owing to religious fanaticism, but on the whole relations between the Jews and Christians were satisfactory and the former suffered no legal limitations. Converted Jews occasionally rose to important positions in the Russian State, i.e. Peter Shafirov
Peter Shafirov
Baron Peter Pavlovich Shafirov , Russian statesman, one of the ablest coadjutors of Peter the Great.Shafirov was born into the family if Pavel Shafirov, a translator in the Russian Foreign Office, of Polish Jewish extraction...

, vice-chancellor under Peter the Great was of Jewish origin.

Their situation changed radically, during the reign of Catherine II
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

, when the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 acquired rule over large Lithuanian and Polish territories, which were heavily populated by Jews, especially during the second (1793) and the third (1795) Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Under the Commonwealth's legal system, Jews endured restrictions euphemised as "disabilities"
Disabilities (Jewish)
Disabilities were legal restrictions and limitations placed on Jews in the Middle Ages. They included provisions requiring Jews to wear specific and identifying clothing such as the Jewish hat and the yellow badge, restricting Jews to certain cities and towns or in certain parts of towns , and...

, which also continued following Russian rule. Catherine established the Pale of Settlement
Pale of Settlement
The Pale of Settlement was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia, in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed, and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited...

 that included Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, and the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

 (the latter was later excluded). Jews were supposed to reside in the Pale and required special permission to emigrate into Russia proper. Within the Pale, Jews were given right of voting in municipal elections, but their vote was limited to one third of the total number of voters.

Jewish communities in Russia were governed internally by local, dominantly theocratic administrative bodies, called the Councils of Elders (Qahal, Kehilla
Kehilla
The Qahal was a theocratic organisational structure in ancient Israelite society, according to the Masoretic Text of the Bible. In later centuries, Qahal was the name of the autonomous governments of Jewish communities in Eastern Europe....

), constituted in every town or hamlet possessing a Jewish population. The Councils of Elders had jurisdiction over Jews in matters of internal litigation, as well as fiscal transactions relating to the collection and payment of taxes (poll tax
Poll tax
A poll tax is a tax of a portioned, fixed amount per individual in accordance with the census . When a corvée is commuted for cash payment, in effect it becomes a poll tax...

, land tax, etc.). Later, this right of collecting taxes was much abused; in 1844 the civil authority of the Councils of Elders over its Jewish population was abolished.

The beginning of the 19th century was marked by intensive movement of Jews to Novorossiya
Novorossiya
Novorossiya is a historic area of lands which established itself solidly after the annexation of the Crimean Khanate by the Russian Empire, but was introduced with the establishment of Novorossiysk Governorate with the capital in Kremenchuk in the mid 18th century. Until that time in both Polish...

, where towns, villages and agricultural colonies
Jewish agricultural colonies in the Russian Empire
Jewish agricultural colonies in the Russian Empire were first established in Kherson Governorate in 1806. The Ukase of December 9, 1804 allowed Jews for the first time in Russia to purchase land for farming settlements . Jews were provided exemption from military service, tax abatements, and...

 rapidly sprang up.

Rebellions beginning with the Decembrist Revolt
Decembrist revolt
The Decembrist revolt or the Decembrist uprising took place in Imperial Russia on 14 December , 1825. Russian army officers led about 3,000 soldiers in a protest against Nicholas I's assumption of the throne after his elder brother Constantine removed himself from the line of succession...

 of 1825, followed by the struggle of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

's intelligentsia
Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

, and the rise of nihilism
Nihilism
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value...

, liberalism
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

, socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, syndicalism
Syndicalism
Syndicalism is a type of economic system proposed as a replacement for capitalism and an alternative to state socialism, which uses federations of collectivised trade unions or industrial unions...

, and finally Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 threatened the old tsarist order.

Prior to 1827 Jews did not serve in the Russian army, but they were subject to double taxation in lieu of military service. In 1827 Nicholas I
Nicholas I of Russia
Nicholas I , was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers...

 decreed new recruitment regulations, extended to Jews. About 70,000 Jews were conscripted between 1827 and 1854, a large percentage of them underage (see Cantonist
Cantonist
Cantonists were underage sons of Russian conscripts who from 1721 were educated in special "canton schools" for future military service .-Cantonist schools during the 18th and early 19th centuries:Cantonist...

s).

The cultural and habitual isolation of the Jews gradually began to be eroded. An ever-increasing number of Jews adopted Russian language and customs. Russian education was spread among the Jews. A number of Jewish-Russian periodicals appeared.

Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 was known as the "Tsar liberator" for the 1861 abolition of serfdom in Russia. Under his rule Jews could not hire Christian servants, could not own land, and were restricted in travel.

Alexander III
Alexander III of Russia
Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov , historically remembered as Alexander III or Alexander the Peacemaker reigned as Emperor of Russia from until his death on .-Disposition:...

 was a staunch reactionary and an antisemite (influenced by Pobedonostsev) who strictly adhered to the old doctrine
Doctrine
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

 of Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Ethnocentrism. His escalation of anti-Jewish policies sought to ignite "popular antisemitism," which portrayed the Jews as "Christ-killers" and the oppressors of the Slavic, Christian victims.


A large-scale wave of anti-Jewish pogroms
Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire
The term pogrom as a reference to large-scale, targeted, and repeated antisemitic rioting saw its first use in the 19th century.The first pogrom is often considered to be the 1821 Odessa pogroms after the death of the Greek Orthodox patriarch Gregory V in Constantinople, in which 14 Jews were killed...

 swept Ukraine in 1881, after Jews were wrongly blamed for the assassination of Alexander II. In the 1881 outbreak, there were pogroms in 166 Ukrainian towns, thousands of Jewish homes were destroyed, many families reduced to extremes of poverty; large numbers of men, women, and children were injured and some killed. Disorders in the south once again recalled the government attention to the Jewish question. A conference was convened at the Ministry of Interior and on May 15, 1882, so-called Temporary Regulations were introduced that stayed in effect for more than thirty years and came to be known as the May Laws
May Laws
Temporary regulations regarding the Jews were proposed by minister of internal affairs Nikolai Ignatyev and enacted on May 15 , 1882, by Tsar Alexander III of Russia...

.


The repressive legislation was repeatedly revised. Many historians noted the concurrence of these state-enforced antisemitic policies with waves of pogroms that continued until 1884, with at least tacit government knowledge and in some cases policemen were seen inciting or joining the mob.


The systematic policy of discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 banned Jews from rural areas and towns of fewer than ten thousand people, even within the Pale, assuring the slow death of many shtetl
Shtetl
A shtetl was typically a small town with a large Jewish population in Central and Eastern Europe until The Holocaust. Shtetls were mainly found in the areas which constituted the 19th century Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Galicia and Romania...

s. In 1887, the quotas placed on the number of Jews allowed into secondary and higher education were tightened down to 10% within the Pale, 5% outside the Pale, except Moscow and Saint Petersburg, held at 3%. It was possible to evade this restrictions upon secondary education by combining private tuition with examination as an "outside student". Accordingly, within the Pale such outside pupils were almost entirely young Jews. The restrictions placed on education, traditionally highly valued in Jewish communities, resulted in ambition to excel over the peers and increased emigration rates. Special quotas restricted Jews from entering profession of law, limiting number of Jews admitted to the bar.

In 1886, an Edict of Expulsion
Edict of Expulsion
In 1290, King Edward I issued an edict expelling all Jews from England. Lasting for the rest of the Middle Ages, it would be over 350 years until it was formally overturned in 1656...

 was enforced on Jews of Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

. Most Jews were expelled from Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 in 1891 (except few deemed useful
Useful Jew
The term useful Jew was used in various historical contexts, typically describing a Jewish person useful in implementing an official authorities' policy, sometimes by oppressing other Jews....

) and a newly built synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 was closed by the city's authorities headed by the Tsar's brother. Tsar Alexander III refused to curtail repressive practices and reportedly noted: "But we must never forget that the Jews have crucified our Master and have shed his precious blood."


In 1892, new measures banned Jewish participation in local elections despite their large numbers in many towns of the Pale. The Town Regulations prohibited Jews from the right to elect or be elected to town Duma
Duma
A Duma is any of various representative assemblies in modern Russia and Russian history. The State Duma in the Russian Empire and Russian Federation corresponds to the lower house of the parliament. Simply it is a form of Russian governmental institution, that was formed during the reign of the...

s. Only a small number of Jews were allowed to be a town Duma
Duma
A Duma is any of various representative assemblies in modern Russia and Russian history. The State Duma in the Russian Empire and Russian Federation corresponds to the lower house of the parliament. Simply it is a form of Russian governmental institution, that was formed during the reign of the...

s members, through appointment by special committees.

In 1897, according to Russian census of 1897
Russian Empire Census
The Russian Imperial Census of 1897 was the first and the only census carried out in the Russian Empire . It recorded demographic data as of ....

 total Jewish population of Russia was 5,189,401 persons of both sexes (4.13% of total population). Of this total 93,9% lived in the 25 provinces of the Pale of Settlement
Pale of Settlement
The Pale of Settlement was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia, in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed, and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited...

. The total population of the Pale of Settlement amounted to 42,338,367—of these, 4,805,354 (11.5%) were Jews.

Mass emigration



Jewish emigration from Russia, 1880–1928
Destination Number
Australia 5,000
Canada 70,000
Europe 240,000
Palestine 45,000
South Africa 45,000
South America 111,000
United States 1,749,000


Even though the persecutions provided the impetus for mass emigration
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 there were other relevant factors that can account for the Jews' migration. After the first years of large emigration from Russia, positive feedback from the emigrants in the U.S. encouraged further emigration. Indeed more than two million Jews fled Russia between 1880 and 1920. While a large majority emigrated to the United States, some turned to Zionism. In 1882, members of Bilu
Bilu
Bilu was a movement whose goal was the agricultural settlement of the Land of Israel. "Bilu" is an acronym based on a verse from the Book of Isaiah "בית יעקב לכו ונלכה" Beit Ya'akov Lekhu Venelkha...

 and Hovevei Zion
Hovevei Zion
Hovevei Zion , also known as Hibbat Zion , refers to organizations that are now considered the forerunners and foundation-builders of modern Zionism....

 made what came to be known the First Aliyah to Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, then a part of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

.

The Tsarist government sporadically encouraged Jewish emigration. In 1890, it approved the establishment of "The Society for the Support of Jewish Farmers and Artisans in Syria
Greater Syria
Greater Syria , also known simply as Syria, is a term that denotes a region in the Near East bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea or the Levant....

 and Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

" (known as the "Odessa Committee
Odessa Committee
The Odessa Committee, officially known as the Society for the Support of Jewish Farmers and Artisans in Syria and Palestine, was a charitable, pre-Zionist organization in the Russian Empire, which supported emigration to the Biblical Land of Israel, then Ottoman Syria.The pogroms of 1881-1884 and...

" headed by Leon Pinsker) dedicated to practical aspects in establishing agricultural Jewish settlements
Jewish settlement
Jewish settlement may refer to :* Israeli settlement : Jewish communities currently established in the West Bank or in the Golan Heights, between 1967 and 2006 in the Gaza strip or between 1967 and 1981 in the Sinai....

 in Palestine.

A larger wave of pogroms broke out in 1903–06, leaving an estimated 1,000 Jews dead, and between 7,000 and 8,000 wounded.

Jewish members of the Duma


In total, there were at least twelve Jewish deputies in the First Duma
State Duma of the Russian Empire
The State Duma of the Russian Empire was a legislative assembly in the late Russian Empire, which met in the Taurida Palace in St. Petersburg. It was convened four times between 1906 and the collapse of the Empire in 1917.-History:...

 (1906–1907), falling to three or four in the Second Duma (February 1907 to June 1907), two in the Third Duma (1907–1912) and again three in the fourth, elected in 1912. Converts to Christianity like Mikhail Herzenstein
Mikhail Herzenstein
Mikhail Yakovlevich Herzenstein was a Russian Jew converted to Christianity, elected for the Constitutional Democratic Party to the First State Duma of the Russian Empire, representing the city of Moscow...

 and Ossip Pergament were still considered as Jews by the public (and antisemitic) opinion and are most of the time included in these figures.

At the 1906 elections, the Jewish Labour Bund had made an electoral agreement with the Lithuanian Labourers' Party (Trudoviks
Trudoviks
The Trudoviks were a moderate Labour party in early 20th Century Russia...

), which resulted in the election to the Duma of two (non-Bundist) candidates in the Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

n provinces: Dr. Shmaryahu Levin
Shmaryahu Levin
Dr. Shmaryahu Levin , was a Jewish Zionist activist in the Russian Empire, then in Germany and in the United States, member of the first elected Russian Parliament in 1906-1907....

 for the Vilnius
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

 province and Leon Bramson
Leon Bramson
Leon Bramson , was a Jewish activist, member of the first elected Russian Parliament in 1906-1907, then a leader and organizer of the World ORT....

 for the Kaunas
Kaunas
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the center of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. During Russian Empire occupation...

 province.

Among the other Jewish deputies were Maxim Vinaver, chairman of the League for the Attainment of Equal Rights for the Jewish People in Russia (Folksgrupe
Folksgrupe
Folksgrupe was a Jewish Anti-Zionist political organization in Russia, founded at a meeting in Vilna in March 1905. The organization proclaimed to work for establishing 'civil, political and national rights for the Jewish People in Russia'. The full name of the organization was the League for the...

) and cofounder of the Constitutional Democratic Party (Kadets)
Constitutional Democratic party
The Constitutional Democratic Party was a liberal political party in the Russian Empire. Party members were called Kadets, from the abbreviation K-D of the party name...

, Dr. Nissan Katzenelson
Nissan Katzenelson
Dr. Nissan Katzenelson , was a Russian Jewish activist, member of the First State Duma of the Russian Empire in 1906-1907....

 (Courland
Courland
Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland.- Geography and climate :...

 province, Zionist, Kadet), Dr. Moisei Yakovlevich Ostrogorsky
Moisey Ostrogorsky
Moisey Ostrogorsky was a Belarusian political scientist, historian, jurist and sociologist. Alongside with Max Weber and Robert Michels, he is considered one of the founders of political sociology, especially in the field of theories about Party Systems and political parties...

 (Grodno province), attorney Simon Yakovlevich Rosenbaum
Simon Yakovlevich Rosenbaum
Simon Yakovlevich Rosenbaum , was a Jewish activist and attorney, member of the First State Duma of the Russian Empire in 1906–1907, Lithuanian Minister for Jewish Affairs from June 29, 1923 to his resignation on February 12, 1924 and Lithuanian consul in Palestine.-Sources:...

 (Minsk
Minsk
- Ecological situation :The ecological situation is monitored by Republican Center of Radioactive and Environmental Control .During 2003–2008 the overall weight of contaminants increased from 186,000 to 247,400 tons. The change of gas as industrial fuel to mazut for financial reasons has worsened...

 province, Zionist, Kadet), Mikhail Isaakovich Sheftel
Mikhail Isaakovich Sheftel
Mikhail Isaakovich Sheftel was a Russian Jewish lawyer, member of the First Duma of the Russian Empire in 1906-1907. He figured among the leaders of the OPE, the Society for the Promotion of Enlightenment among the Jews of Russia.-Sources:...

 (Ekaterinoslav province, Kadet), Dr. Grigory Bruk, Dr. Benyamin Yakubson, Zakhar Frenkel, Solomon Frenkel, Meilakh Chervonenkis. There was also a Crimean Karaim deputy, Salomon Krym.

Three of the Jewish deputies, Bramson, Chervonenkis and Yakubson, joined the Labour faction, nine other joined the Kadet fraction. According to Rufus Learsi, five of them were Zionists, including Dr. Shmaryahu Levin
Shmaryahu Levin
Dr. Shmaryahu Levin , was a Jewish Zionist activist in the Russian Empire, then in Germany and in the United States, member of the first elected Russian Parliament in 1906-1907....

, Dr. Victor Jacobson and Simon Yakovlevich Rosenbaum
Simon Yakovlevich Rosenbaum
Simon Yakovlevich Rosenbaum , was a Jewish activist and attorney, member of the First State Duma of the Russian Empire in 1906–1907, Lithuanian Minister for Jewish Affairs from June 29, 1923 to his resignation on February 12, 1924 and Lithuanian consul in Palestine.-Sources:...

.

Two of them, Grigori Borisovich Iollos (Poltava
Poltava
Poltava is a city in located on the Vorskla River in central Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Poltava Oblast , as well as the surrounding Poltava Raion of the oblast. Poltava's estimated population is 298,652 ....

 province) and Mikhail Herzenstein
Mikhail Herzenstein
Mikhail Yakovlevich Herzenstein was a Russian Jew converted to Christianity, elected for the Constitutional Democratic Party to the First State Duma of the Russian Empire, representing the city of Moscow...

 (b. 1859, d. 1906 in Terijoki), both from the Constitutional Democratic Party, were assassinated by the Black Hundreds antisemite terrorist group.

The Second Duma included seven Jewish deputies: Shakho Abramson, Iosif Gessen, Vladimir Matveevich Gessen
Vladimir Matveevich Gessen
Vladimir Matveevich Gessen was a Russian jurist and politician. He was the country's first theoretician of constitutional law and was instrumental for the spread of the idea of constitutional, representative government in Russia....

, Lazar Rabinovich, Yakov Shapiro (all of them Kadets) and Victor Mandelberg (Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 Social Democrat), plus a convert to Christianity, the attorney Ossip Pergament (Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

).

The two Jewish members of the Third Duma were the Judge Leopold Nikolayevich (or Lazar) Nisselovich (Courland
Courland
Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland.- Geography and climate :...

 province, Kadet) and Naftali Markovich Friedman
Naphtali Friedman
Naphtali Friedman , from Panevėžys, was a Jewish Lithuanian lawyer and politician born in 1863, deceased in 1921....

 (Kaunas
Kaunas
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the center of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. During Russian Empire occupation...

 province, Kadet). Ossip Pergament was reelected and died before the end of his mandate.

Friedman was the only one reelected to the Fourth Duma in 1912, joined by two new deputies, Meer Bomash, and Dr. Ezekiel Gurevich.

Jews in the revolutionary movement



Many Jews were prominent in Russian revolutionary parties. The idea of overthrowing the Tsarist regime was attractive to many members of the Jewish intelligentsia
Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

 because of the oppression of non-Russian nations and non-Orthodox Christians within the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. For much the same reason, many non-Russians, notably Latvians
Latvians
Latvians or Letts are the indigenous Baltic people of Latvia.-History:Latvians occasionally refer to themselves by the ancient name of Latvji, which may have originated from the word Latve which is a name of the river that presumably flowed through what is now eastern Latvia...

 or Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, were disproportionately represented in the party leaderships.

In 1897 General Jewish Labour Bund (The Bund), was formed. Many Jews joined the ranks of two principal revolutionary parties: Socialist-Revolutionary Party
Socialist-Revolutionary Party
thumb|right|200px|Socialist-Revolutionary election poster, 1917. The caption in red reads "партия соц-рев" , short for Party of the Socialist Revolutionaries...

 and Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party , also known as Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party or Russian Social Democratic Party, was a revolutionary socialist Russian political party formed in 1898 in Minsk to unite the various revolutionary organizations into one party...

—both Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 and Menshevik
Menshevik
The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian revolutionary movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, both members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The dispute originated at the Second Congress of that party, ostensibly over minor issues...

 factions. A notable number of Bolshevik party members were ethnically Jewish, especially in the leadership of the party, and the percentage of Jewish party members among the rival Mensheviks was even higher. Both the founders and leaders of Menshevik faction, Julius Martov
Julius Martov
Julius Martov or L. Martov was born in Constantinople in 1873...

 and Pavel Axelrod
Pavel Axelrod
Pavel Borisovich Axelrod was a Russian Menshevik.- Early life and career :Born Pinches Borutsch in Potscheff near Chernigov and raised to Shklov, a small provincial town in and Mogilev, the biggest town of the three in the Russian Empire , Axelrod was the son of a Jewish innkeeper.In 1875 in...

 were Jewish.

Because some of the leading Bolsheviks were ethnic Jews, and Bolshevism supports a policy of promoting international proletarian revolution—most notably in the case of Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

—many enemies of Bolshevism, as well as contemporary antisemites, draw a picture of Communism as a political slur at Jews and accuse Jews of pursuing Bolshevism to benefit Jewish interests, reflected in the terms "Jewish Bolshevism" or "Judeo-Bolshevism". The original atheistic and international
International
----International mostly means something that involves more than one country. The term international as a word means involvement of, interaction between or encompassing more than one nation, or generally beyond national boundaries...

istic ideology of the Bolsheviks (See proletarian internationalism
Proletarian internationalism
Proletarian internationalism, sometimes referred to as international socialism, is a Marxist social class concept based on the view that capitalism is now a global system, and therefore the working class must act as a global class if it is to defeat it...

, bourgeois nationalism
Bourgeois nationalism
Bourgeois nationalism is a term from Marxist phraseology. It refers to the alleged practice by the ruling classes of deliberately dividing people by nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion, so as to distract them from possible class warfare...

) was incompatible with Jewish traditionalism. Bolsheviks such as Trotsky echoed sentiments which dismissed Jewish heritage, in place of "internationalism."

Soon after seizing power, the Bolsheviks established the Yevsektsiya
Yevsektsiya
Yevsektsiya , , the abbreviation of the phrase "Еврейская секция" was the Jewish section of the Soviet Communist party. Yevsektsiya was established to popularize Marxism and encourage loyalty to the Soviet regime among Russian Jews. The founding conference of Yevsektsiya took place on October 20,...

, the Jewish section of the Communist party
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

 in order to destroy the rival Bund and Zionist
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 parties, suppress Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and replace traditional Jewish culture with "proletarian culture".

About 450,000 Jewish soldiers served in the Russian army during the World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, and fought side by side with their Christian fellows. When hundreds of thousands of refugees from Poland and Lithuania, and among them innumerable Jews, fled in terror before enemy invasion and spread over interior of Russia, Pale of Settlement de facto ceased to exist. Most of the education restrictions on the Jews were removed with appointment of count Pavel Ignatiev as minister of education.

In March 1919, Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 delivered a speech "On Anti-Jewish Pogroms" on a gramophone
Gramophone record
A gramophone record, commonly known as a phonograph record , vinyl record , or colloquially, a record, is an analog sound storage medium consisting of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove...

 disc. Lenin sought to explain the phenomenon of antisemitism in Marxist terms. According to Lenin, antisemitism was an "attempt to divert the hatred of the workers and peasants from the exploiters toward the Jews." Linking antisemitism to class struggle, he argued that it was merely a political technique used by the tsar to exploit religious fanaticism, popularize the despotic, unpopular regime, and divert popular anger toward a scapegoat. The Soviet Union also officially maintained this Marxist-Leninist interpretation under Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, who expounded Lenin's critique of antisemitism. However, this did not prevent the widely publicized repressions of Jewish intellectuals during 1948–1953 (see After World War II) when Stalin increasingly associated Jews with "cosmopolitanism" and pro-Americanism.

Such actions, along with extensive Jewish participation among the Bolsheviks, plagued the Communists during the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 against the Whites
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 with a reputation of being "a gang of marauding Jews"; Jews were a majority in the Communist Central Committee, outnumbering even ethnic Russians. At the same time, the vast majority of Russia's Jews, much like their non-Jewish Russian neighbors, were not in any political party.

Jews were prominent in the Russian Constitutional Democrat Party, Russian Social Democratic Party (Mensheviks) and Socialist-Revolutionary Party
Socialist-Revolutionary Party
thumb|right|200px|Socialist-Revolutionary election poster, 1917. The caption in red reads "партия соц-рев" , short for Party of the Socialist Revolutionaries...

. The Russian Anarchist movement also included many prominent Jewish revolutionaries. In Ukraine, Makhnovist anarchist leaders also included several Jews.

The attempts of the socialist Bund to be the sole representative of the Jewish worker in Russia had always conflicted with Lenin's idea of a universal coalition of workers of all nationalities. Like some other socialist parties in Russia, the Bund was initially opposed to the Bolsheviks' seizing of power in 1917 and to the dissolution of the Russian Constituent Assembly
Russian Constituent Assembly
The All Russian Constituent Assembly was a constitutional body convened in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917. It is generally reckoned as the first democratically elected legislative body of any kind in Russian history. It met for 13 hours, from 4 p.m...

. Consequently, the Bund suffered repressions in the first months of the Soviet regime. However, the antisemitism of many Whites during the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 caused many if not most Bund members to readily join the Bolsheviks, and most of the factions eventually merged with the Communist Party. The movement did split in three; the Bundist identity survived in interwar Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, while many Bundists joined the Mensheviks.

In August 1919 Jewish properties, including synagogues, were seized and many Jewish communities were dissolved. The anti-religious laws against all expressions of religion and religious education were being taken out on the Jewish population, just like on other religious groups. Many Rabbis and other religious officials were forced to resign from their posts under the threat of violent persecution. This type of persecution continued on into the 1920s.

In 1921, a large number of Jews opted for Poland, as they were entitled by peace treaty in Riga
Peace of Riga
The Peace of Riga, also known as the Treaty of Riga; was signed in Riga on 18 March 1921, between Poland, Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine. The treaty ended the Polish-Soviet War....

 to choose the country they preferred. Several hundred thousand joined the already numerous Jewish population of Poland
History of the Jews in Poland
The history of the Jews in Poland dates back over a millennium. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was the centre of Jewish culture thanks to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy. This ended with the...

.

The chaotic years of World War I, the February and October Revolutions, and the Civil War were fertile ground for the antisemitism that was endemic to tsarist Russia. During the World War, Jews were often accused of sympathizing with Germany and often persecuted.

Pogroms were unleashed throughout the Russian Civil War, perpetrated by virtually every competing faction, from Polish and Ukrainian nationalists to the Red and White Armies. 31,071 civilian Jews were killed during documented pogroms throughout the former Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

; the number of Jewish orphans exceeded 300,000. Majority of pogroms in Ukraine during 1918–1920 were perpetrated by the Ukrainian nationalists, miscellaneous bands and anti-Communist forces.
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 era recorded Lenin's feelings on antisemitism:
Lenin was supported by the Labor Zionist
Labor Zionism
Labor Zionism can be described as the major stream of the left wing of the Zionist movement. It was, for many years, the most significant tendency among Zionists and Zionist organizational structure...

 (Poale Zion
Poale Zion
Poale Zion was a Movement of Marxist Zionist Jewish workers circles founded in various cities of the Russian Empire about the turn of the century after the Bund rejected Zionism in 1901.-Formation and early years:Poale Zion parties and organisations were started across the Jewish diaspora in the...

) movement, then under the leadership of Marxist theorist Ber Borochov
Ber Borochov
Dov Ber Borochov was a Marxist Zionist and one of the founders of the Labor Zionist movement as well as a pioneer in the study of Yiddish as a language....

, which was fighting for the creation of a Jewish workers' state in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 and also participated in the October Revolution (and in the Soviet political scene afterwards until being banned by Stalin in 1928). While Lenin remained opposed to outward forms of antisemitism (and all forms of racism), allowing Jewish people to rise to the highest offices in both party and state, certain historians such as Dmitri Volkogonov
Dmitri Volkogonov
Dmitri Antonovich Volkogonov was a Russian historian and officer.-Biography:...

 argue that the record of his government in this regard was highly uneven. A former official Soviet historian (turned staunch anti-communist), Volkogonov claims that Lenin was aware of pogroms carried out by units of the Red Army during the war with Poland, particularly those carried out by Semyon Budyonny's troops, though the whole issue was effectively ignored. Volkogonov writes that "While condemning anti-Semitism in general, Lenin was unable to analyze, let alone eradicate, its prevalence in Soviet society". Likewise, the hostility of the Soviet regime towards all religion made no exception for Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, and the 1921 campaign against religion saw the seizure of many synagogues (whether this should be regarded as antisemitism is a matter of definitionsince Orthodox churches received the same treatment).

Yet, according to Jewish historian Zvi Gitelman: "Never before in Russian history—and never subsequently has a government made such an effort to uproot and stamp out antisemitism".

At the same time, the economic position of the Jewish population in USSR was not good. Soviet laws offered hardly any economic independence to artisans, and none whatever to traders. For many Jewish artisans and tradesmen, Soviet policies led to loss of their property and trade. On the other hand, thousands of Jewish semi-intellectuals and social failures have tested unlimited, uncensored power by joining the communist party and soviet bureaucracy.

According to the census of 1926
First All-Union Census of the Soviet Union
The First All Union Census of the Soviet Union took place in December 1926. It was an important tool in the state-building of the USSR, provided the government with important ethnographic information, and helped in the transformation from Imperial Russian society to Soviet society...

, total number of Jews in USSR was 2,672,398of whom 59% lived in Ukrainian SSR
Ukrainian SSR
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic or in short, the Ukrainian SSR was a sovereign Soviet Socialist state and one of the fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union lasting from its inception in 1922 to the breakup in 1991...

, 15,2% in Byelorussian SSR
Byelorussian SSR
The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic was one of fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union. It was one of the four original founding members of the Soviet Union in 1922, together with the Ukrainian SSR, the Transcaucasian SFSR and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic...

, 22% in Russian SFSR and 3,8% in other Soviet republics.

Soviet Union before World War II



Russian Jews were long considered a non-native Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 ethnicity within a Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 Russia, and such categorization was solidified when ethnic minorities in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 were categorized according to ethnicity . In his 1913 theoretical work Marxism and the National Question Stalin described Jews as "not a living and active nation, but something mystical, intangible and supernatural. For, I repeat, what sort of nation, for instance, is a Jewish nation which consists of Georgian, Daghestanian, Russian, American and other Jews, the members of which do not understand each other (since they speak different languages), inhabit different parts of the globe, will never see each other, and will never act together, whether in time of peace or in time of war?!" According to Stalin, who became the People's Commissar for Nationalities Affairs after the revolution, to qualify as a nation, a minority was required to have a culture, a language, and a homeland.

To offset the growing Jewish national and religious aspirations of Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 and to successfully categorize Soviet Jews under Stalin's definition of nationality, an alternative to the Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

 was established with the help of Komzet
Komzet
Komzet was the Committee for the Settlement of Toiling Jews on the Land in the Soviet Union. The primary goal of the Komzet was to help impoverished and persecuted Jewish population of the former Pale of Settlement to adopt agricultural labor...

 and OZET
OZET
OZET was public Society for Settling Toiling Jews on the Land in the Soviet Union in the period from 1925 to 1938. Some English sources use the word "Working" instead of "Toiling".- Background :...

 in 1928. The Jewish Autonomous Oblast
Jewish Autonomous Oblast
The Jewish Autonomous Oblast is a federal subject of Russia situated in the Russian Far East, bordering Khabarovsk Krai and Amur Oblast of Russia and Heilongjiang province of China. Its administrative center is the town of Birobidzhan....

 with the center in Birobidzhan
Birobidzhan
Birobidzhan is a town and the administrative center of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Russia. It is located on the Trans-Siberian railway, close to the border with the People's Republic of China....

 in the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

 was to become a "Soviet Zion".

The Soviet authorities considered the use of Hebrew language
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 "reactionary" since it was associated with both Judaism and Zionism, and the teaching of Hebrew at primary and secondary schools was officially banned by the Narkompros (Commissariat of Education) as early as 1919, as part of an overall agenda aiming to secularize
Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

 education. Hebrew books and periodicals ceased to be published and were seized from the libraries, although liturgical texts were still published until the 1930s. Despite numerous protests in the West, teachers and students who attempted to study the Hebrew language were pilloried and sentenced for "counter revolutionary" and later for "anti-Soviet" activities.

Yiddish
Yiddish language
Yiddish is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world. It developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages...

, rather than Hebrew, would be the national language
National language
A national language is a language which has some connection—de facto or de jure—with a people and perhaps by extension the territory they occupy. The term is used variously. A national language may for instance represent the national identity of a nation or country...

, and proletarian socialist literature and arts
Socialist realism
Socialist realism is a style of realistic art which was developed in the Soviet Union and became a dominant style in other communist countries. Socialist realism is a teleologically-oriented style having its purpose the furtherance of the goals of socialism and communism...

 would replace Judaism as the quintessence of culture. Despite a massive domestic and international state propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 campaign, the Jewish population in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast never reached 30% (as of 2003 it was only about 1.2%). The experiment ground to a halt in the mid-1930s, during Stalin's first campaign of purges. Jewish leaders were arrested and executed, and Yiddish schools were shut down.

In his January 12, 1931 letter "Antisemitism: Reply to an Inquiry of the Jewish News Agency in the United States" (published domestically by Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

in 1936), Stalin officially condemned antisemitism:
In answer to your inquiry: National and racial chauvinism is a vestige of the misanthropic customs characteristic of the period of cannibalism
Cannibalism
Cannibalism is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh of other human beings. It is also called anthropophagy...

. Antisemitism, as an extreme form of racial chauvinism, is the most dangerous vestige of cannibalism.
Antisemitism is of advantage to the exploiters as a lightning conductor that deflects the blows aimed by the working people at capitalism. Antisemitism is dangerous for the working people as being a false path that leads them off the right road and lands them in the jungle. Hence Communists, as consistent internationalists, cannot but be irreconcilable, sworn enemies of antisemitism.
In the U.S.S.R. antisemitism is punishable with the utmost severity of the law as a phenomenon deeply hostile to the Soviet system. Under U.S.S.R. law active antisemites are liable to the death penalty.


The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

—the 1939 non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

—created further suspicion regarding the Soviet Union's position toward Jews. According to the pact Poland, the nation with the world's largest Jewish population, was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union in September 1939. While the pact had no basis in ideological sympathy (as evidenced by Nazi propaganda about "Jewish Bolshevism
Jewish Bolshevism
Jewish Bolshevism, Judeo-Bolshevism, and known as Żydokomuna in Poland, is an antisemitic stereotype based on the claim that Jews have been the driving force behind or are disproportionately involved in the modern Communist movement, or sometimes more specifically Russian Bolshevism.The expression...

"), Germany's occupation of Western Poland was a disaster for Eastern European Jews. Evidence suggests that some, at least, of the Jews in the Eastern Soviet zone of occupation welcomed the Russians as having a more liberated policy towards their civil rights than the preceding antisemitic Polish regime. Jews in areas annexed by Soviet Union were deported Eastward in great waves; as these areas would soon be invaded by Nazi Germany, this forced migration, deplored by many of its victims, paradoxically also saved the lives of a few hundred thousand Jewish deportees.

Many Jews fell victim to the Great Purges, and there is evidence that Jews were specifically targeted by Stalin, who harbored antisemitic sentiments all his life (main article:Antisemitism and Joseph Stalin). A number of the most prominent victims of the Purges—Trotsky, Zinoviev
Grigory Zinoviev
Grigory Yevseevich Zinoviev , born Ovsei-Gershon Aronovich Radomyslsky Apfelbaum , was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet Communist politician...

, and Kamenev, to name a few—were Jewish, and in 1939 Stalin gave Molotov an explicit order to fully purge the ministry of Foreign Affairs of Jews, in anticipation of rapprochement with Nazi Germany.

Jews who escaped the purges include Lazar Kaganovich
Lazar Kaganovich
Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich was a Soviet politician and administrator and one of the main associates of Joseph Stalin.-Early life:Kaganovich was born in 1893 to Jewish parents in the village of Kabany, Radomyshl uyezd, Kiev Governorate, Russian Empire...

, who came to Stalin's attention in the 1920s as a successful bureaucrat in Tashkent
Tashkent
Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and of the Tashkent Province. The officially registered population of the city in 2008 was about 2.2 million. Unofficial sources estimate the actual population may be as much as 4.45 million.-Early Islamic History:...

 and participated in the purges of the 1930s. Kaganovich's loyalty endured even after Stalin's death, when he and Molotov were expelled from the party ranks in 1957 due to their opposition to destalinization.

Beyond longstanding controversies, ranging from the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 to anti-Zionism
Anti-Zionism
Anti-Zionism is opposition to Zionistic views or opposition to the state of Israel. The term is used to describe various religious, moral and political points of view in opposition to these, but their diversity of motivation and expression is sufficiently different that "anti-Zionism" cannot be...

, the Soviet Union did grant official "equality of all citizens regardless of status, sex, race, religion, and nationality." The years before the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 were an era of rapid change for Soviet Jews, leaving behind the dreadful poverty of the Pale of Settlement. Forty percent of the population in the former Pale left for large cities within the USSR.

Emphasis on education and movement from countryside shtetl
Shtetl
A shtetl was typically a small town with a large Jewish population in Central and Eastern Europe until The Holocaust. Shtetls were mainly found in the areas which constituted the 19th century Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Galicia and Romania...

s
to newly industrialized cities allowed many Soviet Jews to enjoy overall advances under Stalin and to become one of the most educated population groups in the world.

Because of Stalinist emphasis on its urban population, interwar migration inadvertently rescued countless Soviet Jews; Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 penetrated the entire former Jewish Pale—but were kilometers short of Leningrad
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 and Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. The migration of many Jews farther East from the Jewish Pale, which would become occupied by Nazi Germany, saved at least 40 percent of the Pale's original Jewish population.

By 1941, it was estimated that the Soviet Union was home to 4.855 million, or around 30% of all Jews worldwide. However, the majority of these were residents of rural western Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 - populations that suffered greatly due to the German occupation and the Holocaust. Only around 800,000 Jews lived outside the occupied territory, and 1,200,000 to 1,400,000 Jews were eventually evacuated eastwards. Of the 3 million left in occupied areas, the vast majority is thought to have perished in German concentration camps.

The Holocaust



Over two million Soviet Jews are believed to have died during the Holocaust, second only to the number of Polish Jews to have fallen victims to Hitler. Among some of the larger massacres in 1941 were: 33,771 Jews of Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 shot in ditches at Babi Yar
Babi Yar
Babi Yar is a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and a site of a series of massacres carried out by the Nazis during their campaign against the Soviet Union. The most notorious and the best documented of these massacres took place on September 29–30, 1941, wherein 33,771 Jews were killed in a...

; 100,000 Jews and Poles of Vilnius
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

 killed in the forests of Ponary
Paneriai
Paneriai is a neighborhood of Vilnius, situated about 10 kilometres away from the city center. It is the largest elderate in the Vilnius city municipality. It is located on low forested hills, on the Vilnius-Warsaw road...

, 20,000 Jews killed in Kharkiv at Drobnitzky Yar, 36,000 Jews machine-gunned in Odessa, 25,000 Jews of Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

 killed in the woods at Rumbula
Rumbula
Rumbula is a pine forest enclave in Riga, Latvia, in which Jews were massacred during the Holocaust. For the air base at Rumbula, see Rumbula ....

, and 10,000 Jews slaughtered in Simferopol
Simferopol
-Russian Empire and Civil War:The city was renamed Simferopol in 1784 after the annexation of the Crimean Khanate to the Russian Empire by Catherine II of Russia. The name Simferopol is derived from the Greek, Συμφερόπολις , translated as "the city of usefulness." In 1802, Simferopol became the...

 in the Crimea. Though mass shootings continued through 1942, most notably 16,000 Jews shot at Pinsk, Jews were increasingly shipped to concentration camps in German Nazi-occupied Poland.

Local residents of German-occupied areas, especially Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and Latvians, sometimes played key roles in the genocide of other Latvians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals and Jews alike. Under the Nazi occupation, some members of the Ukrainian and Latvian Nazi police carried out deportations in the Warsaw Ghetto
Warsaw Ghetto
The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all Jewish Ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established in the Polish capital between October and November 15, 1940, in the territory of General Government of the German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity...

, and Lithuanians marched Jews to their death at Ponary. Even as some assisted the Germans, a significant number of individuals in the territories under German control also helped Jews escape death (see Righteous Among the Nations
Righteous Among the Nations
Righteous among the Nations of the world's nations"), also translated as Righteous Gentiles is an honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis....

). In Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, particularly, the number of Nazi-collaborators was only slightly more than that of Jewish saviours. It is estimated that up to 1.4 million Jews fought in Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 armies; 40% of them in the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

. In total, at least 142 500 Soviet soldiers of Jewish nationality lost their lives fighting against the German invaders and their allies


The typical Soviet policy regarding the Holocaust was to present it as atrocities against Soviet citizens, not emphasizing the genocide of the Jews. For example, after the liberation of Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 from the Nazi occupation, the Extraordinary State Commission (Чрезвычайная Государственная Комиссия) was set out to investigate Nazi crimes. The description of the Babi Yar
Babi Yar
Babi Yar is a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and a site of a series of massacres carried out by the Nazis during their campaign against the Soviet Union. The most notorious and the best documented of these massacres took place on September 29–30, 1941, wherein 33,771 Jews were killed in a...

 massacre was officially censored
Censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 as follows:
Draft report (December 25, 1943) Censored version (February 1944)
"The Hitlerist bandits committed mass murder of the Jewish population. They announced that on September 29, 1941, all the Jews were required to arrive to the corner of Melnikov and Dokterev streets and bring their documents, money and valuables. The butchers marched them to Babi Yar, took away their belongings, then shot them."

"The Hitlerist bandits brought thousands of civilians to the corner of Melnikov and Dokterev streets. The butchers marched them to Babi Yar, took away their belongings, then shot them."

Stalinist antisemitic campaigns



In January 1948 Solomon Mikhoels
Solomon Mikhoels
Solomon Mikhoels ; was a Soviet Jewish actor and the artistic director of the Moscow State Jewish Theater. Mikhoels served as the chairman of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee during the Second World War...

, a popular actor-director of the Moscow State Jewish Theater
Moscow State Jewish Theater
The Moscow State Jewish Theater, Russian language: Московский Государственный Еврейский Театр, also known by its acronym GOSET: ГОСЕТ) was a Yiddish theater company established in 1919 and shut down in 1948 by the Soviet authorities....

 and the chairman of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee
Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee
The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee was formed on Joseph Stalin's order in Kuibyshev in April 1942 with the official support of the Soviet authorities...

, was killed in a suspicious car accident. Mass arrests of prominent Jewish intellectuals and suppression of Jewish culture followed under the banners of campaign against "rootless cosmopolitans
Rootless Cosmopolitans
-Track listing:# "I Should Care" – 1:17# "Shortly After Takeoff" – 4:14# "The Wind Cries Mary" – 5:01# "Friendly Ghosts" – 5:20...

" and anti-Zionism
Anti-Zionism
Anti-Zionism is opposition to Zionistic views or opposition to the state of Israel. The term is used to describe various religious, moral and political points of view in opposition to these, but their diversity of motivation and expression is sufficiently different that "anti-Zionism" cannot be...

. On August 12, 1952, in the event known as the Night of the Murdered Poets
Night of the Murdered Poets
On August 12, 1952, thirteen Soviet Jews were executed in the Lubyanka Prison in Moscow, Russia as a result of charges of espionage based on forced, false confessions resulting from coercion and torture. This massacre is known as the Night of the Murdered Poets....

, thirteen of the most prominent Yiddish writers, poets, actors and other intellectuals were executed on the orders of Joseph Stalin, among them Peretz Markish
Peretz Markish
Peretz Davidovich Markish was a Soviet/Russian Jewish poet and playwright who wrote in Yiddish.Peretz Markish was born in Polonnoye in 1895. His distant ancestors lived in Spain. As a child he attended a cheder and sang in the choir of the local synagogue. He served as a private in the Russian...

, Leib Kvitko
Leib Kvitko
Leib Kvitko was a prominent Yiddish poet, an author of well-known children's poems and a member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee . He was one of the editors of Eynikayt and of the Heymland, a literary magazine...

, David Hofstein
David Hofstein
David Hofstein was a Yiddish poet.He was born in Ukraine, Russian Empire and received a traditional Jewish education; his application to the Kiev University was declined. Hofstein began to write in Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, and Ukrainian....

, Itzik Feffer
Itzik Feffer
Itzik Feffer , also Fefer was a Soviet Yiddish poet who fell victim to Joseph Stalin's purges.-Background:...

 and David Bergelson
David Bergelson
David Bergelson was a Yiddish language writer. Ukrainian-born, he lived for a time in Berlin, Germany. He moved back to the Soviet Union when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany...

. In the 1955 UN Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

's session a high Soviet official still denied the "rumors" about their disappearance.

The Doctors' plot
Doctors' plot
The Doctors' plot was the most dramatic anti-Jewish episode in the Soviet Union during Joseph Stalin's regime, involving the "unmasking" of a group of prominent Moscow doctors, predominantly Jews, as conspiratorial assassins of Soviet leaders...

 allegation in 1953 was a deliberately antisemitic policy: Stalin targeted "corrupt Jewish bourgeois nationalists," eschewing the usual code words like "rootless cosmopolitans
Rootless Cosmopolitans
-Track listing:# "I Should Care" – 1:17# "Shortly After Takeoff" – 4:14# "The Wind Cries Mary" – 5:01# "Friendly Ghosts" – 5:20...

" or "cosmopolitans." Stalin died, however, before this next wave of arrests and executions could be launched in earnest. A number of historians claim that the Doctors' plot was intended as the opening of a campaign that would have resulted in the mass deportation
Deportation
Deportation means the expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. Today it often refers to the expulsion of foreign nationals whereas the expulsion of nationals is called banishment, exile, or penal transportation...

 of Soviet Jews had Stalin not died on March 5, 1953. Days after Stalin's death the plot was declared a hoax
Hoax
A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.-Definition:The British...

 by the Soviet government.

These cases may have reflected Stalin's paranoia, rather than state ideology—a distinction that made no practical difference as long as Stalin was alive, but which became salient on his death.

In April 1956, the Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 Yiddish language
Yiddish language
Yiddish is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world. It developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages...

 Jewish newspaper Folkshtimme published sensational long lists of Soviet Jews who had perished before and after the Holocaust. The world press began demanding answers from Soviet leaders, as well as inquiring about the current condition of the Jewish education system and culture. The same autumn, a group of leading Jewish world figures publicly requested the heads of Soviet state to clarify the situation. Since no cohesive answer was received, their concern was only heightened. The fate of Soviet Jews emerged as a major human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 issue in the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

.

The Soviet Union and Zionism



Marxist anti-nationalism and anti-clericalism had a mixed effect on Soviet Jews. Jews were the immediate benefactors, but long-term victims, of the Marxist notion that any manifestation of nationalism is "socially retrogressive." On one hand, Jews were liberated from the religious persecution of the Tsarist years of "Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality". On the other, this notion was threatening to Jewish cultural institutions, the Bund, Jewish autonomy
Jewish Autonomism
Jewish Autonomism was a non-Zionist political movement that emerged in Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century. One of its major proponents was a historian and activist Simon Dubnow, who also called his ideology folkism....

, Judaism and Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

.

Political Zionism was officially stamped out for the entire history of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 as a form of bourgeois nationalism
Bourgeois nationalism
Bourgeois nationalism is a term from Marxist phraseology. It refers to the alleged practice by the ruling classes of deliberately dividing people by nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion, so as to distract them from possible class warfare...

. Although Leninism emphasizes "self-determination," this did not make the state more accepting of Zionism. Leninism defines self-determination by territory, not culture, which allowed Soviet minorities to have separate oblasts, autonomous regions, or republics, which were nonetheless symbolic until its later years. Jews, however, did not fit such a theoretical model; Jews in the Diaspora did not even have an agricultural base, as Stalin often asserted when attempting to deny the existence of a Jewish nation, and certainly no territorial unit. Marxian notions even denied a Jewish identity beyond religion and caste; Marx defined Jews as a "chimerical nation."

Lenin, claiming to be deeply committed to egalitarian ideals and universality of all humanity, rejected Zionism as a reactionary movement, "bourgeois nationalism", "socially retrogressive", and a backward force that deprecates class divisions among Jews. Moreover, Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 entailed contact between Soviet citizens and westerners, which was dangerous in a closed society. Soviet authorities were likewise fearful of any mass-movement independent of monopolistic
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 Communist Party, and not tied to the state or the ideology of Marxism-Leninism
Marxism-Leninism
Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology, officially based upon the theories of Marxism and Vladimir Lenin, that promotes the development and creation of a international communist society through the leadership of a vanguard party over a revolutionary socialist state that represents a dictatorship...

.

Without changing its official anti-Zionist stance, from late 1944 until 1948 Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 had adopted a de facto pro-Zionist foreign policy, apparently believing that the new country would be socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 and would speed the decline of British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 influence in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

.

The USSR briefly supported the establishment of Israel in a 1947 speech that was not published in the Soviet media. It came during the 1947 UN Partition Plan
1947 UN Partition Plan
The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was created by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947 to replace the British Mandate for Palestine with "Independent Arab and Jewish States" and a "Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem" administered by the United...

 debate on May 14, 1947, when the Soviet ambassador
Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations
This is a list of permanent representatives of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation to the United Nations- Of the Soviet Union :- Of Russia :- External links :...

 Andrei Gromyko
Andrei Gromyko
Andrei Andreyevich Gromyko was a Soviet statesman during the Cold War. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet . Gromyko was responsible for many top decisions on Soviet foreign policy until he retired in 1987. In the West he was given the...

 announced:
Soviet approval in the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 was critical to the UN partitioning of the British Mandate of Palestine, which led to the founding of the State of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

.
Three days after Israel declared independence, the Soviet Union legally recognized it de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

. In addition, the USSR allowed Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 to continue supplying arms to the Jewish forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, even though this conflict took place after the Soviet-supported Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948
Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948
The Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948 – in Communist historiography known as "Victorious February" – was an event late that February in which the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, with Soviet backing, assumed undisputed control over the government of Czechoslovakia, ushering in over four decades...

. At the time the U.S. maintained an arms embargo on both sides in the conflict. See Arms shipments from Czechoslovakia to Israel 1947–1949.

By the end of 1957 the USSR switched sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict and throughout the course of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 unequivocally supported various Arab regimes against Israel. The official position of the Soviet Union and its satellite states and agencies was that Zionism was a tool used by the Jews and Americans for "racist imperialism".

As Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 was emerging as a close West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

ern ally, the specter of Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 raised fears of internal dissent and opposition. During the later parts of the Cold War, Soviet Jews were suspected of being possible traitors, Western sympathisers, or a security liability. The Communist leadership closed down various Jewish organizations and declared Zionism an ideological enemy. Synagogues were often placed under police surveillance, both openly and through the use of informers.

As a result of the persecution, both state-sponsored and unofficial, antisemitism became deeply ingrained in the society and remained a fact for years: ordinary Soviet Jews often suffered hardships, epitomized by often not being allowed to enlist in universities, work in certain professions, or participate in government. However, it should be mentioned that this was not always the case and this kind of persecution varied depending on the region. Still many Jews felt compelled to hide their identities by changing their names.

The word "Jew" was also avoided in the media when criticising undertakings by Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, which the Soviets often accused of racism, chauvinism etc. Instead of Jew, the word Israeli was used almost exclusively, so as to paint its harsh criticism not as antisemitism but anti-Zionism. More controversially, the Soviet media, when depicting political events, sometimes used the term 'fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

' to characterise Israeli nationalism (e.g. calling Jabotinsky a 'fascist', and claiming 'new fascist organisations were emerging in Israel in 1970s' etc.).

Emigration to Israel



A mass emigration was politically undesirable for the Soviet regime. As increasing number of Soviet Jews applied to emigrate to Israel in the period following the 1967 Six Day War, many were formally refused permission
Refusenik (Soviet Union)
Refusenik was an unofficial term for individuals, typically but not exclusively, Soviet Jews, who were denied permission to emigrate abroad by the authorities of the former Soviet Union and other countries of the Eastern bloc...

 to leave. A typical excuse given by the OVIR (ОВиР), the MVD department responsible for the provisioning of exit visas, was that persons who had been given access at some point in their careers to information vital to Soviet national security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

 could not be allowed to leave the country.

After the Dymshits-Kuznetsov hijacking affair
Dymshits-Kuznetsov hijacking affair
The Dymshits–Kuznetsov aircraft hijacking affair was an attempt to hijack a civilian aircraft on 15 June 1970 by a group of Soviet refuseniks in order to escape to the West...

 in 1970 and the crackdown that followed, strong international condemnations caused the Soviet authorities to increase the emigration quota
Quota
-Commerce:* Import quota, a type of trade restriction* Production quota* Sales quota, a minimum sales goal for a set time span* Tariff-rate quota, a type of trade restriction-Electoral systems:* Droop quota* Election threshold* Hagenbach-Bischoff quota...

. From 1960 to 1970, only 4,000 people left the USSR; in the following decade, the number rose to 250,000.

In 1972 the USSR imposed the so-called "diploma
Diploma
A diploma is a certificate or deed issued by an educational institution, such as a university, that testifies that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study or confers an academic degree. In countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, the word diploma refers to...

 tax" on would-be emigrants who received higher education
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

 in the USSR. In some cases, the fee was as high as twenty annual salaries. This measure was apparently designed to combat the brain drain
Brain drain
Human capital flight, more commonly referred to as "brain drain", is the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. The reasons usually include two aspects which respectively come from countries and individuals...

 caused by the growing emigration of Soviet Jews and other members of the intelligentsia
Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

 to the West. Following international protests, the Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

 soon revoked the tax, but continued to sporadically impose various limitations.

At first almost all of those who managed to get exit visas to Israel actually made aliyah
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

, but after the mid-1970s, many of those allowed to leave for Israel actually chose other destinations, most notably the United States. In 1989 a record 71,000 Soviet Jews were granted exodus from the USSR, of whom only 12,117 immigrated to Israel. Since the adoption of the Jackson-Vanik amendment
Jackson-Vanik amendment
The Jackson–Vanik amendment is a 1974 provision in United States federal law, intended to affect U.S. trade relations with countries with non-market economies that restrict freedom of emigration and other human rights...

, over one million Soviet Jews have immigrated to Israel.

Additional research is required into the discrimination experienced by Russian Jews in Israel. National anti-racism campaigns in Israel at the late 20th and early 21st centuries could be used as reference points.

Russia today


Jews make up about 0.16% of the total population of Russia, according to the 2002 census. Most Russian Jews are secular and identify themselves as Jews via ethnicity rather than religion although interest about Jewish identity as well as practice of Jewish tradition amongst Russian Jews is growing. Lubavitch has been a catalyst in this sector, setting up synagogues and Jewish kindergartens in Russian cities with Jewish populations. In addition, most Russian Jews have relatives in Israel.

Since the dissolution of the USSR, democratization in the former USSR has brought with it a good deal of tragic irony for the country's minorities, especially the Jewish population. The absence of Soviet-era repression exposed the remaining Jews to a resurgence of antisemitism in the former Soviet Union. However, there has not been a return to mass antisemitic incidents in Russia or anywhere else throughout the former Soviet Union.

There are several major Jewish organizations in the territories of the former USSR. The central Jewish organization is the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS
Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS
Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS is a Jewish organisation dedicated to restoring Jewish life, culture and religion in the Commonwealth of Independent States , the former Soviet Union...

 under the leadership of Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar
Berel Lazar
Rabbi Shlomo Dovber Pinchas Lazar, better known as Berel Lazar, is an Orthodox, Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic rabbi. He is presently Chief Rabbi of Russia, and chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities...

.

Perhaps stemming from the now obsolete Soviet nationality policy, a linguistic distinction remains to this day in the Russian language where there are two terms for "Jew". The word Еврей ("Yevrey" - Hebrew) typically denotes a Jewish ethnicity, while the world Иудей ("Iudey" - Judean) is reserved for denoting a follower of the Jewish religion, although the latter term has mostly fallen out of use.

Antisemitism is one of the most common expressions of xenophobia in post-Soviet Russia, even among some groups of politicians. Despite stipulations against fomenting hatred based on ethnic or religious grounds (Article 282 of Russian Federation
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 Penal Code), antisemitic pronouncements, speeches and articles are not uncommon in Russia, and there are a large number of antisemitic neo-Nazi groups in the republics of the former Soviet Union, leading Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

to declare in 2002 that "Anti-Semitism is booming in Russia". Over the past few years there have also been bombs attached to antisemitic signs, apparently aimed at Jews, and other violent incidents, including stabbings, have been recorded.

The government of Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 takes an official stand against antisemitism, while some movements parties and groups are explicitly antisemitic. In January 2005, a group of 15 Duma
State Duma
The State Duma , common abbreviation: Госду́ма ) in the Russian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. The Duma headquarters is located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to...

 members demanded that Judaism and Jewish organizations be banned from Russia. In June, 500 prominent Russians, including some 20 members of the nationalist Rodina
Rodina
Rodina or Motherland-National Patriotic Union was one of the four parties that controlled seats in the Russian legislature in 2003-2007...

 party, demanded that the state prosecutor investigate ancient Jewish texts as "anti-Russian" and ban Judaism. An investigation was in fact launched, but halted after an international outcry.

In Russia, both historical and contemporary antisemitic materials are frequently published. For example a set (called Library of a Russian Patriot) consisting of twenty five antisemitic titles was recently published, including Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf is a book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926...

translated to Russian (2002), which although was banned in 2010, The Myth of Holocaust by Jürgen Graf
Jürgen Graf
Jürgen Graf is a Swiss Holocaust denier and researcher. He studied philology at the University of Basel studying French, English, and Scandinavian languages and spent several years working as a school teacher at a prestigious private school. He is fluent in 15 languages...

, a title by Douglas Reed
Douglas Reed
Douglas Reed was a British journalist, playwright, novelist and author of a number of books of political analysis. His book Insanity Fair was influential in publicizing the state of Europe and the megalomania of Adolf Hitler before the Second World War...

, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and others.

Antisemitic incidents have ranged from random acts of violence against Jews to the detonation of explosives in Jewish communities, to high-profile cases such as the stabbing of eight Russian Jews in a Moscow synagogue on January 11, 2006, by a man with neo-Nazi ties.
See also: Pamyat
Pamyat
Pamyat is a Russian nationalist organization identifying itself as the "People's National-patriotic Orthodox Christian movement." The group's stated focus is preserving Russian culture.- History :...

, Neo-Nazism in Russia.


The Jewish Autonomous Oblast
Jewish Autonomous Oblast
The Jewish Autonomous Oblast is a federal subject of Russia situated in the Russian Far East, bordering Khabarovsk Krai and Amur Oblast of Russia and Heilongjiang province of China. Its administrative center is the town of Birobidzhan....

 continues to be an autonomous oblast
Autonomous oblast
An autonomous oblast is an autonomous entity within the state which is on the oblast level of the overall administrative subdivision. It may refer to:*Autonomous oblasts of the Soviet Union*Autonomous oblasts of Russia...

 of the Russian state. The Chief Rabbi
Chief Rabbi
Chief Rabbi is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community, or to a rabbinic leader appointed by the local secular authorities...

 of Birobidzhan
Birobidzhan
Birobidzhan is a town and the administrative center of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Russia. It is located on the Trans-Siberian railway, close to the border with the People's Republic of China....

, Mordechai Scheiner
Mordechai Scheiner
Mordechai Sheiner has been Chief Rabbi of Jewish Autonomous Oblast since 2002.-Background:Mordechai Sheiner came to the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in 2002. He arrived in Birobidzhan as a 30 year old rabbi from Israel. He had never been to Birobidzhan before, but spoke Russian thanks to two years he...

, says there are 4,000 Jews in the capital city. Governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 Nikolay Mikhaylovich Volkov
Nikolay Mikhaylovich Volkov
-Childhood and Education:Volkov was born in 1951 in Krasnoye village, in the Shablykinsky district of the Oryol Region. In 1973, Volkov graduated from a civil engineer institute in Odessa.-Politics:...

 has stated that he intends to, "support every valuable initiative maintained by our local Jewish organizations." The Birobidzhan Synagogue
Birobidzhan Synagogue
The Birobidzhan Synagogue was established in 2004. The synagogue is in the city of Birobidzhan, which is the capital of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, an autonomous oblast of Russia. It is "the first synagogue in Russia to be built partly with state money," according to the Federation of Jewish...

 opened in 2004 on the 70th anniversary of the regions founding in 1934.

Demographic data

Year Jewish population, millions Note
1914 More than 5.25 Russian Empire
1926 2.67 First All-Union Census of the Soviet Union
First All-Union Census of the Soviet Union
The First All Union Census of the Soviet Union took place in December 1926. It was an important tool in the state-building of the USSR, provided the government with important ethnographic information, and helped in the transformation from Imperial Russian society to Soviet society...


A result of border change (secession of Poland and union of Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

 with Romania), emigration and assimilation.
1939 3.0 A result of natural growth, emigration, assimilation and repressions
Early 1941 5.4 A result of the annexation of Western Ukraine and Belarus, Baltic republics, and inflow of Jewish refugees from Poland
1959 2.26 See the Holocaust
1970 2.15  
1979 1.81  
1989 1.45 Soviet Census (1989)
Soviet Census (1989)
The 1989 Soviet census, conducted between January 12-19 of that year, was the last one conducted in the former USSR. It resulted in a total population of 286,730,819 inhabitants...

. Final census in the entire Soviet Union
End of 1993 Less than 0.4 Russian Federation only.
2002 0.265 Russian Federation only. A result of mass emigration and assimilation.


The Jewish population in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast
Jewish Autonomous Oblast
The Jewish Autonomous Oblast is a federal subject of Russia situated in the Russian Far East, bordering Khabarovsk Krai and Amur Oblast of Russia and Heilongjiang province of China. Its administrative center is the town of Birobidzhan....

 of the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

 as of 2002 is 2,327 (1.22%).

The Bukharan Jews
Bukharan Jews
Bukharan Jews, also Bukharian Jews or Bukhari Jews, or яҳудиёни Бухоро Yahūdieni Bukhoro , Bukhori Hebrew Script: יהודיאני בוכאראי and יהודיאני בוכארי), also called the Binai Israel, are Jews from Central Asia who speak Bukhori, a dialect of the Tajik-Persian language...

, self-designating as Yahudi, Isroel or Banei Isroel, live mainly in Uzbek
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 cities. The number of Central Asian Jews was around 20,800 in 1959. Before mass emigration, they spoke a dialect of the Tajik language
Tajik language
Tajik, Tajik Persian, or Tajiki, is a variety of modern Persian spoken in Central Asia. Historically Tajiks called their language zabani farsī , meaning Persian language in English; the term zabani tajikī, or Tajik language, was introduced in the 20th century by the Soviets...

.

The Georgian Jews
Georgian Jews
The Georgian Jews are from the nation of Georgia, in the Caucasus...

 numbered about 35,700 in 1964, most of them living in Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

.

The Caucasian Mountain Jews
Mountain Jews
Highland Jews, Mountain Jews or Kavkazi Jews also known as Juvuro or Juhuro, are Jews of the eastern Caucasus, mainly of Azerbaijan and Dagestan. They are also known as Caucasus Jews, Caucasian Jews, or less commonly East Caucasian Jews, because the majority of these Jews settled the eastern part...

, also known as Tats
Tats
Tats are an Iranian people, presently living within Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia ....

 or Dagchufuts, live mostly in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and the United States, with a scattered population in Dagestan
Dagestan
The Republic of Dagestan is a federal subject of Russia, located in the North Caucasus region. Its capital and the largest city is Makhachkala, located at the center of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea...

 and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

. In 1959, they numbered around 15,000 in Dagestan and 10,000 in Azerbaijan. Their Tat language
Tat language
The Tat language or Tat/Tati Persian or Tati is a Southwestern Iranian language and a variety of Persian spoken by the Tats in Azerbaijan and Russia. According to the Ethnologue, it's spoken by 18,000 people in Azerbaijan, 8000 in Iran, and 2300 in Russia. Its written form is related to Middle...

 is a dialect of Middle Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

.

The Crimean Jews, self-designating as Krymchaks, traditionally lived in the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

, numbering around 5,700 in 1897. Due to a famine, a number emigrated to Turkey and the U.S. in the 1920. The remaining population was virtually annihilated in the Holocaust during the Nazi occupation of the Crimea, but Krymchaks re-settled the Crimea after the war, and in 1959, between 1,000 and 1,800 had returned.

Israel

Year TFR
2000 1.544
1999 1.612
1998 1.632
1997 1.723
1996 1.743
1995 1.731
1994 1.756
1993 1.707
1992 1.604
1991 1.398
1990 1.390


The largest number of Russian Jews now live in Israel, not in Russia. Israel is home to a core Russian-Jewish population of 900,000 and an enlarged population of 1,200,000 (including halachically non-Jewish members of Jewish households, but excluding those who reside in Israel illegally). The Aliyah in 1990s accounts for 85–90% of this population.
The population growth rate for FSU immigrants were among the lowest for any Israeli groups, with a Fertility rate of 1.70 and natural increase of just +0.5% per year. The increase in Jewish birth rate in Israel during the 2000–2007 period was partly due to the increasing birth rate among the FSU immigrants, who now form 20% of the Jewish population of Israel.
96.5% of the enlarged Russian Jewish population in Israel is either Jewish or non-religious, while 3.5% (35,000) belongs to other religions (mostly Christians) and about 10,000 messianic Jews.

The Total Fertility Rate for FSU immigrants in Israel is given in the table below. The TFR increased with time, peaking in 1997, then slightly decreased after that and then again increased after 2000.

As of 1999, about 1,037,000 FSU immigrants lived in Israel, of whom about 738,900 immigrated after 1989. The second largest ethnic group (Moroccans) numbered just 501,000. From 2000–2006, 142,638 FSU immigrants moved to Israel. While 70,000 of them emigrated from Israel to countries like the U.S. and Canada, bringing the total population to 1,150,000 by 2007 January (Excluding illegals). The natural increase was around 0.3% in late 90s. For example 2,456 in 1996 (7,463 births to 5,007 deaths), 2,819 in 1997 (8,214 to 5,395), 2,959 in 1998 (8,926 to 5,967) and 2,970 in 1999 (9,282 to 6,312). In 1999, the natural growth was +0.385%. (Figures only for FSU immigrants moved in after 1989).

An estimated 45,000 illegal immigrants from the Former Soviet Union lived in Israel during the end of 2010, but it is not clear how many of them are actually Jews.

Notable recent immigrants from FSU include Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya is an Israeli journalist, currently Chief US Correspondent for the national daily newspaper Haaretz.-Background:...

, Avigdor Lieberman, Roman Dzindzichashvili
Roman Dzindzichashvili
Roman Yakovlevich Dzindzichashvili is a chess Grandmaster .-Life and career:Born in Tbilisi, Georgian SSR into a family of Georgian Jews, he won the Junior Championship of the Soviet Union in 1962 and the University Championships in 1966 and 1968. In 1970, he earned the title of International...

, Akiva Megrelashvili, Haim Megrelashvili
Haim Megrelashvili
Haim Megrelashvili is an Israeli football defender plays for Maccabi Haifa. He joined Maccabi Haifa in 2003 from cross-town rival Hapoel Haifa, and within a short time became Israel's rookie of the year...

, Victor Mikhalevski
Victor Mikhalevski
Victor Mikhalevski is an Israeli chess grandmaster who lives in Beer Sheva. his Elo rating was 2611, making him the #7 player in Israel and the 171st-highest rated player in the world...

, Evgeny Postny
Evgeny Postny
Evgeny Postny is an Israeli chess player with the title of Grandmaster.-Junior success:As a junior player, he scored very well in international competitions such as the World and European Championships, taking three major medals;...

, Maxim Rodshtein
Maxim Rodshtein
Maxim Rodshtein is an Israeli chess Grandmaster . As of January 2009, his Elo rating is 2650, making him the #4 player in Israel and the #76 best player in the world. It was his peak rating so far. He won the World U-16 championship in Greece in 2004.Rodshtein won the 2006 Israeli Chess...

, Tatiana Zatulovskaya
Tatiana Zatulovskaya
Tatiana Yakovlevna Zatulovskaya is a Soviet, Russian, and Israeli chess player, Woman Grandmaster, and the 1993 Senior Women's World Chess Champion...

, Maria Gorokhovskaya
Maria Gorokhovskaya
Maria Kondratyevna Gorokhovskaya was a Ukrainian gymnast. At the 1952 Summer Olympics, she won seven medals, the most medals won by any woman in a single Olympics....

, Katia Pisetsky
Katia Pisetsky
Katerina Yevgenyevna "Katia" Pisetsky is an Israeli rhythmic gymnast.-Biography:She is Jewish, and started rhythmic gymnastics at age 6 in Zaporozhie, after her parents enrolled her...

, Aleksandr Averbukh
Aleksandr Averbukh
Aleksandr Averbukh is a retired Israeli athlete who competed in the pole vault.-Biography:He is Jewish. He was formerly a decathlete competing for Russia, but in 1999 he became an Israeli citizen and rose to top level in pole vault....

, Jan Talesnikov
Jan Talesnikov
-Honours:* Israeli Premier League :**1996–97, 1997–98* Toto Cup :**1997–98- References :...

, Vadim Alexeev
Vadim Alexeev
Vadim Alexeev is a retired world-class Soviet/Israeli Olympic breaststroke swimmer. Alexeev was born in Almaty, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union. He is Jewish, and emigrated to Israel in 1992. He speaks Russian.-Career:...

, Michael Kolganov
Michael Kolganov
Michael Kolganov is a Soviet-born, Israeli sprint canoer and former world champion. Competing in three Summer Olympics, he won the bronze medal in the K-1 500 m event at Sydney in 2000...

, Alexander Danilov
Alexander Danilov
Alexander Danilov is an Israeli pistol shooter, who was a member of the Israeli shooting team at the 2000 Sydney Games and 2004 Athens Games....

, Evgenia Linetskaya
Evgenia Linetskaya
Evgenia Simonovna Linetskaya is a Russian-born Israeli 5' 9" right-handed professional tennis player.Through May 2009, her career high in singles was # 35 on July 4, 2005.-Early success:...

, Marina Kravchenko
Marina Kravchenko
Marina Kravchenko is a champion Israeli table tennis player. She is Jewish. She participated in the Olympics in 2004.-External links:**...

, David Kazhdan
David Kazhdan
David Kazhdan or Každan, Kazhdan, formerly named Dmitry Aleksandrovich Kazhdan , is a Soviet and Israeli mathematician known for work in representation theory.-Life:...

, Leonid Nevzlin
Leonid Nevzlin
Leonid Borisovich Nevzlin is a Russian-Israeli businessman. Nevzlin was a high ranking executive at Yukos, once a Russian oil firm before it was extinguished by the Russian government. That government is requesting his extradition due to hotly disputed criminal allegations against him and other...

, Vadim Akolzin
Vadim Akolzin
-Biography:Vadim Akolzin was born in Tver. He moved to Israel in 1999.He originally competed as a single skater.He switched to pairs and began competing with Julia Shapiro. Shapiro & Akolzin were the 2003-2005 Israeli national pairs champions. They broke up their partnership after 2005 season.In...

, Roman Bronfman
Roman Bronfman
Dr Roman Bronfman is a left wing Israeli politician. He was born in the Soviet Union, and immigrated to Israel in 1980. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Before entering politics, he was a lecturer and journalist....

, Michael Cherney
Michael Cherney
Michael Cherney is a Uzbekistan-born Israeli entrepreneur and industrialist. He is known for his significant role in the 1990s Aluminium in Russia, and his business ventures in Israel...

, Arcadi Gaydamak
Arcadi Gaydamak
Arcadi Aleksandrovich Gaydamak, is a Russian-Israeli businessman, who was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honour. On April 29, 2011 the Court of Appeal in Paris acquitted him of charges of arms dealing...

, Sergei Sakhnovski
Sergei Sakhnovski
Sergei Sakhnovski is an Israeli ice dancer with partner Galit Chait. They have been competing internationally for Israel since 1996. In 2002 they were the first Israeli ice dance team to win a medal at World Championships...

, Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky was born in Stalino, Soviet Union on 20 January 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess prodigy. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold displays, usually against...

, Roman Zaretski
Roman Zaretski
Roman Zaretsky is an Israeli ice dancer.He competed with his sister, Alexandra Zaretsky. Together, they are three-time Israeli National Champions, and two-time Olympic competitors.-Personal life:Roman Zaretsky was born in Minsk, Belarus SSR, Soviet Union....

, Alexandra Zaretski
Alexandra Zaretski
Alexandra "Sasha" Zaretsky is an Israeli ice dancer. She competed with her brother Roman Zaretsky. Together, they are three-time Israeli National Champions and two-time Olympic competitors.-Personal life:...

, Larisa Trembovler
Larisa Trembovler
Larissa Trimbobler is the wife of Yigal Amir, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.-Biography:...

, Boris Tsirelson
Boris Tsirelson
Boris Semyonovich Tsirelson is a Soviet-Israeli mathematician and Professor of Mathematics in the Tel Aviv University in Israel.-Biography:Boris Tsirelson was born in Leningrad to a Russian Jewish family...

 and Margarita Levieva
Margarita Levieva
Margarita Levieva is an American actress. Born in the Soviet Union, she was a professional gymnast before going on to star in the films The Invisible, Adventureland and Spread.-Personal life:...

.

United States



The second largest population is in the United States. According to RINA, there is a core Russian-Jewish population of 350,000 in the U.S. The enlarged Russian Jewish population in the U.S. is estimated to be 700,000. Most noticeable FSU Jews in the U.S. are Leonard Blavatnik
Leonard Blavatnik
Len Blavatnik is a Russian-American businessman, currently living in New York and London, including at a home on Kensington Palace Gardens. He has made his fortune through diversified investments, through Access Industries, in Russia, Europe, North and South America.-Origins:Born in the Soviet...

, Dmitry Salita
Dmitry Salita
Dmitry Salita is a Ukrainian-born Jewish-American boxer from Brooklyn, New York in the welterweight division.He has a 33–1–1 record, with 16 KOs. He is , and his reach is 69".He is a practicing Orthodox Jew, and became so after he moved to Brooklyn...

, Sergey Brin
Sergey Brin
Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin is a Russian-born American computer scientist and internet entrepreneur who, with Larry Page, co-founded Google, one of the largest internet companies. , his personal wealth is estimated to be $16.7 billion....

, Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov
Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov
Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov is a Soviet and Russian theoretical physicist whose main contributions are in the field of condensed matter physics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2003.- Biography :...

, Regina Spektor
Regina Spektor
Regina Ilyinichna Spektor is a Russian American singer-songwriter and pianist. Her music is associated with the anti-folk scene centered in New York City's East Village.-Early life:...

, Michael Weiner, Anthony Fedorov
Anthony Fedorov
Anatoliy Vladimirovich "Anthony" Fedorov is an American singer who was the fourth place finalist on the fourth season of the American Idol.- Biography :...

 and Gregory Kaidanov
Gregory Kaidanov
Gregory Kaidanov is a Grandmaster of chess.As of April 2007, his Elo rating was 2587, making him the #9 player in the US and the 179th-highest rated player in the world. His peak rating was 2646 in 2002....

. Other large pockets of Russian-Jewish Communities include Brooklyn, New York, specifically Brighton Beach
Brighton Beach
Brighton Beach is an oceanside neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. As of 2000, it has a population of 75,692 with a total of 31,228 households.-Location:...

 and Sheepshead Bay, Washington Heights
Washington Heights
Washington Heights may refer to some places in the United States:*Washington Heights, Manhattan **Washington Heights , a 2003 film set in Washington Heights, Manhattan*Washington Heights, New York...

 and in the Sunny Isles Beach neighborhood of South Florida.

The other large pocket of Russian Jewish residence is Northeast Philadelphia and surrounding Bucks and Montgomery Counties, as well as Northern New Jersey.

Germany


The fourth largest Russian-Jewish community exists in Germany with a core Russian-Jewish population of 110,000 and an enlarged population of 200,000.

In 1991–2006 period, approximately 230,000 ethnic Jews from FSU immigrated to Germany. In the beginning of 2006, Germany tightened the immigration program. A survey conducted among approximately 215,000 enlarged Russian Jewish population (taking natural decrease into consideration) indicated that about 81% of the enlarged population was Jewish or Atheist by religion, while about 18.5% identified as Christians. That gives a core Russian Jewish population of 111,800 (religion Jewish, 52%) or 174,150 (religion Jewish or Atheist).

Notable Russian Jews in Germany include Valery Belenky
Valery Belenky
Valery Vladimirovich Belenky is a retired Soviet/Azerbaijani/German artistic gymnast who competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics and in the 1996 Summer Olympics.He is Jewish, and was born in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR....

, Lev Kopelev
Lev Kopelev
Lev Zalmanovich Kopelev was a Soviet author and a dissident.- Biography :...

, Wladimir Kaminer
Wladimir Kaminer
Wladimir Kaminer is a Russian-born German short story writer, columnist, and disc jockey of Jewish origin.Kaminer was born in Moscow, and after initially training as an audio engineer for theatre and radio, then studied dramaturgy at the Moscow Institute of Theater...

 and Maxim Biller
Maxim Biller
Maxim Biller is a German writer.Born in Prague to Russian-Jewish parents, he emigrated with his parents and sister to Germany in 1970, when he was ten years old. After living for a long time in Munich, he now lives in Berlin....

.

Canada


The fifth largest Russian Jewish community is in Canada. The core Russian Jewish population in Canada numbers 30,000 and the enlarged Russian Jewish population numbered 50,000+, mostly in Montreal and Toronto. Notable Russian Jewish residents include Mark Berger
Mark Berger (judoka)
Sensei Mark Berger is a Canadian judoka.He immigrated to Canada from Ukraine and East Germany.-Judo career:...

 and the musical group Tasseomancy.

Australia


Small number of FSU Jews exist in Australia (Core population of 10,000 constituting 33% of all Russian born and 25% of all Ukrainian born citizens in 1996 Census. Enlarged population around 20,000). Some Jewish organizations claim that there are up to 50,000 Russian Jews in Australia.

Finland


Hundreds of Russian Jews have moved to Finland since 1990 and have helped to stem the negative population growth of the Jewish community there. The total number of Jews in Finland have grown from 800 in 1980 to 1,200 in 2006. Of all the schoolgoing Jewish children, 75% have at least one Russian born parent.


Other countries


The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Finland, Belgium, New Zealand, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. The addition of Russian Jews have neutralized the negative Jewish population trends in some European countries like The Netherlands and Austria. Notable Russian Jews in France include Anatoly Vaisser
Anatoly Vaisser
Anatoly Vaisser is a French chess Grandmaster and currently Senior Chess Champion of the World....

, Leon Poliakov
Leon Poliakov
Léon Poliakov was a French historian who wrote extensively on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.Born into a Russian Jewish family, Poliakov lived in Italy and Germany until he settled in France....

, Alexandre Koyré
Alexandre Koyré
Alexandre Koyré , sometimes anglicised as Alexander Koiré, was a French philosopher of Russian origin who wrote on the history and philosophy of science.-Life:...

, and Lev Shestov
Lev Shestov
Lev Isaakovich Shestov , born Yehuda Leyb Schwarzmann , was a Ukrainian/Russian existentialist philosopher. Born in Kiev on , he emigrated to France in 1921, fleeing from the aftermath of the October Revolution. He lived in Paris until his death on November 19, 1938.- Life :Shestov was born Lev...

. Some other important Russian Jews are Gennadi Sosonko
Gennadi Sosonko
Gennadi Borisovich Sosonko is a Dutch chess Grandmaster .At the beginning of his career, in 1958, he won in the Leningrad juniors championship.Sosonko moved from the Soviet Union to the Netherlands via Israel in 1972...

 (Netherlands), Anna Smashnova
Anna Smashnova
Anna Smashnova is a former professional tennis player from Israel. She retired from professional tennis after Wimbledon 2007.Smashnova, who has been noted as having a great last name for a tennis player, reached her career-high singles ranking of World # 15 in 2003. She was in 13 finals, and won...

 (Israel), Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi ; pronounced in the original Russian as "karch NOY"; Ви́ктор Льво́вич Корчно́й, born March 23, 1931 is a professional chess player, author and currently the oldest active grandmaster on the tournament circuit...

 (Switzerland), and Maya Plisetskaya
Maya Plisetskaya
Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya , born is a Russian ballet dancer, frequently cited as one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. Maya danced during the Soviet era at the same time as the great Galina Ulanova, and took over from her as prima ballerina assoluta of the Bolshoi in 1960...

 (Spain).

See also

  • History of the Jews in Ukraine
    History of the Jews in Ukraine
    Jewish communities have existed in the territory of Ukraine from the time of Kievan Rus' and developed many of the most distinctive modern Jewish theological and cultural traditions. While at times they flourished, at other times they faced periods of persecution and antisemitic discriminatory...

  • History of the Jews in Belarus
    History of the Jews in Belarus
    The Jews in Belarus were the third largest ethnic group in the country in the first half of the 20th century. Before World War II, Jews were the third among the ethnic groups in Belarus, and in cities and towns comprised more than 40% of the population. The population of cities such as Minsk,...


  • Jewish history
    Jewish history
    Jewish history is the history of the Jews, their religion and culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Since Jewish history is over 4000 years long and includes hundreds of different populations, any treatment can only be provided in broad strokes...

     and Jewish diaspora
    Jewish diaspora
    The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

    • Timeline of Jewish History
      Timeline of Jewish history
      This is a timeline of the development of Jews and Judaism. All dates are given according to the Common Era, not the Hebrew calendar....

    • History of the Jews in Poland
      History of the Jews in Poland
      The history of the Jews in Poland dates back over a millennium. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was the centre of Jewish culture thanks to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy. This ended with the...

    • History of the Jews in Carpathian Ruthenia
      History of the Jews in Carpathian Ruthenia
      - 20th century census data:The last antebellum census in Hungary, 1910. The four counties of Hungary that coveredthe territory what we now call Carpathian Ruthenia were Ung, Bereg, Ugocsa and Máramaros....

    • History of the Jews in Bessarabia
    • Lithuanian Jews
      Lithuanian Jews
      Lithuanian Jews or Litvaks are Jews with roots in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania:...

       – Galician Jews
      Galician Jews
      Galician Jews or Galitzianer Jews are a subdivision of the Ashkenazim geographically originating from Galicia, from western Ukraine and from the south-eastern corner of Poland . Galicia proper, which was inhabited by Ukrainians, Poles and Jews, was a royal province within Austro-Hungarian empire...

       – Georgian Jews
      Georgian Jews
      The Georgian Jews are from the nation of Georgia, in the Caucasus...

       – Bukharan Jews
      Bukharan Jews
      Bukharan Jews, also Bukharian Jews or Bukhari Jews, or яҳудиёни Бухоро Yahūdieni Bukhoro , Bukhori Hebrew Script: יהודיאני בוכאראי and יהודיאני בוכארי), also called the Binai Israel, are Jews from Central Asia who speak Bukhori, a dialect of the Tajik-Persian language...

       – Mountain Jews
      Mountain Jews
      Highland Jews, Mountain Jews or Kavkazi Jews also known as Juvuro or Juhuro, are Jews of the eastern Caucasus, mainly of Azerbaijan and Dagestan. They are also known as Caucasus Jews, Caucasian Jews, or less commonly East Caucasian Jews, because the majority of these Jews settled the eastern part...

    • History of antisemitism
    • Sect of Skhariya the Jew
      Sect of Skhariya the Jew
      The Sect of Skhariya the Jew, much more commonly known as the Heresy of the Judaizers or Zhidovstvuyushchiye, was a sect that appeared in Novgorod the Great and Grand Duchy of Moscow in the second half of the 15th century and marked the beginning of a new era of heresy in Russia...

    • Jews and Judaism in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast
      Jews and Judaism in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast
      The history of the Jews in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast , Russia, began with the early settlements of 1928.Yiddish, along with Russian, are the two official languages in the JAO.-Early settlement:...

    • Jewish Cossacks
      Jewish Cossacks
      Of the different branches of Cossacks the only one that documents allowing Jews into their society were the Cossacks of Ukraine. When Poland and Lithuania were merged by King Sigismund Augustus into one commonwealth the provinces of Volhynia, Podilia and the rest of Ukraine were separated from...


  • Regional history
    • History of the Soviet Union
      History of the Soviet Union
      The history of the Soviet Union has roots in the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, emerged as the main political force in the capital of the former Russian Empire, though they had to fight a long and brutal civil war against the Mensheviks, or Whites...

    • History of Russia
      History of Russia
      The history of Russia begins with that of the Eastern Slavs and the Finno-Ugric peoples. The state of Garðaríki , which was centered in Novgorod and included the entire areas inhabited by Ilmen Slavs, Veps and Votes, was established by the Varangian chieftain Rurik in 862...


  • List of Jews from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

External links