Beyond the Pale: Russian Jewry outside the Pale of Settlement



The Russian Czarist government restricted Russian Jewry to the western provinces of the empire through a series of legislative acts, which came to be known as the Pale of Settlement. Starting in the 1850’s, provisions were enacted which enabled certain types of Jews to reside outside the Pale. Wealthy merchants, those with academic degrees, certain kinds of military veterans and craftsman, were gradually permitted to reside anywhere they desired across the Russian Empire. This process is now referred to as selective integration, and it proceeded quite slowly, and was often accompanied by other restrictions. This integration process didn’t lead to the desired emancipation, and was further limited by a reactionary policy pursued by the Czar following the pogroms of 1881-82. The Jewish community of St Petersburg emerged as the self-appointed leadership of Russian Jewry, and interceded on behalf of the Jews within the Pale with limited success.
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