Jewish Population c. 1900


Map Code: Ax01061

Catherine II established the Pale of settlement, to which Jews were confined, in 1791. Within the Pale there was substantial Jewish migration to the southeastern provinces of Kherson and Yekaterinoslav in the 1800s. In line with his other liberalizing reforms, Alexander II introduced rights of residence outside the Pale, to sosloviye (wealthy merchants), university graduates, and craftsmen. However, his successor Alexander III, influenced by the ideologue Pobedonostsev, sharply reversed these policies. The May Laws (1882) severely curtailed rights and levels of Jewish settlement: in 1886, all Jews were expelled wholesale from Kiev, and in 1891, from Moscow. With tacit support from the authorities a wave of pogroms swept Russia (1881–84); the pogroms petered out, but administrative harassment continued until renewed pogroms from 1903 to 1906. Between 1881 and 1914, some two million Jews emigrated from Russia; some of those remaining would become leading figures in the revolutionary movement.

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