The Jewish Autonomous Region (JAR) of Birobidzhan in Siberia is still alive. Teh once famous “Siberian Zion”, at the confluence of the Bira and Bidzhan rivers, a stone’s throw from China and a day from the Pacific Ocean, nine thousand km. and six days by train from Moscow, is still a geographical reality. The political class of the Soviet Union decided to create a territory the size of Belgium for the settlement of the Jews, choosing a region on the border between China and the Soviet Union. It believed that the Soviet Jews needed like other national minorities a homeland based on territory. The Soviet regime thus opted to establish an enclave that would become the JAR in 1934. We should note that the creation of the JAR was the first historically realized case of the building of an officially recognized Jewish national territory since ancient times and well before Israel. Nevertheless, many historians declared dis experiment a failure and the history of the Region only tragic. It is interesting to note, however, that the survival of the JAR in post-Soviet Russia is not only a historical curiosity, a legacy of Soviet national policy, but today - after the collapse of the Soviet Union - it represents a very interesting case study. It is also a topic useful for the analysis and understanding of inter-ethnic relations, cooperation, and coexistence and is a unique case of geographic resettlement that produced a sort of “local patriotism”, as an example also for different ethnic groups living in the JAR, based on Jewish and Yiddish roots.

The Jewish Autonomous Region of Birobidzhan in Siberia / A. Vitale. - In: EUROPEAN SPATIAL RESEARCH AND POLICY. - ISSN 1231-1952. - 28:1(2021), pp. 9.161-9.184.

The Jewish Autonomous Region of Birobidzhan in Siberia

A. Vitale
2021

Abstract

The Jewish Autonomous Region (JAR) of Birobidzhan in Siberia is still alive. Teh once famous “Siberian Zion”, at the confluence of the Bira and Bidzhan rivers, a stone’s throw from China and a day from the Pacific Ocean, nine thousand km. and six days by train from Moscow, is still a geographical reality. The political class of the Soviet Union decided to create a territory the size of Belgium for the settlement of the Jews, choosing a region on the border between China and the Soviet Union. It believed that the Soviet Jews needed like other national minorities a homeland based on territory. The Soviet regime thus opted to establish an enclave that would become the JAR in 1934. We should note that the creation of the JAR was the first historically realized case of the building of an officially recognized Jewish national territory since ancient times and well before Israel. Nevertheless, many historians declared dis experiment a failure and the history of the Region only tragic. It is interesting to note, however, that the survival of the JAR in post-Soviet Russia is not only a historical curiosity, a legacy of Soviet national policy, but today - after the collapse of the Soviet Union - it represents a very interesting case study. It is also a topic useful for the analysis and understanding of inter-ethnic relations, cooperation, and coexistence and is a unique case of geographic resettlement that produced a sort of “local patriotism”, as an example also for different ethnic groups living in the JAR, based on Jewish and Yiddish roots.
Jewish Autonomous Region (JAR); Russia; Siberia; Birobidzhan; inter-ethnic relation;, ethnopolitics
Settore M-GGR/02 - Geografia Economico-Politica
Settore SPS/04 - Scienza Politica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/875200
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