Anti-Semitism in Modern Russia


Lindsay Upton

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In 1791, under Catherine the Great, the Jews of Russia were forcibly compelled to settle in a small portion of the southwest region known as the Pale of Settlement. This was the first large scale anti-Semitic action to be taken by a Russian leader, but it was not to be the last. Under Stalin, anti-Semitism was government policy that reflected Stalin?s personal sentiments. Khrushchev and Brezhnev reflected a continuance of Stalinist-style oppression and targeting of specific nationalities. Gorbachev proved a departure from this type of leadership, becoming the first Russian leader to not only admit to the existence of anti-Semitism but to wholeheartedly condemn it. Under Yeltsin, popular anti-Semitism rose with ultranationalism, results of Gorbachev?s democratizing reforms. Whether or not the post-Soviet government is able to overcome anti-Semitism in the twenty-first century and to what extent it remains a part of official policy is determined by the politics of the past and the evolution of the Soviet government?s treatment of the Jews. Recent years under Vladimir Putin have encouraged some hope as the government shows signs of readiness to deal with the problems of ultranationalism and xenophobia.That anti-Semitism still exists in the popular mindset is simply undeniable; however state sponsored anti-Semitism has become a thing of the past.


Walter Richmond




The Paul & Evalyn E. Cook Richter Trusts-Summer Research Fellowship

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