Before Birobidzhan. The fate of the rural Jewish populationin tsarist Russia and the first few years of the Soviet Union
As we examine the history of Jews, former citizens of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, who found themselves in Russia as a result of the partitions, we are forced to admit that Jewish settlement in rural areas implemented by the Bolshevik authorities is often mistakenly regarded as pioneering in nature. In fact, it was only a repetition of the tsarist project, though on a much larger scale. An analysis of the Jewish settlers’ farming skills shows that divisions into parasites and workers do not run along national lines but are much more complex. An analysis of the often difficult cooperation and co-existence with other nations of the USSR leads to a reflection on the evolution in the perception of the Jewish population in a broad social, cultural and political context.
Translated by Anna Kijak