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It Had Its History
The Jews of Russia
The laws of 1864, 1865, 1903 and 1912 barred Jews from acquiring or evening managing rural land in the provinces of Vilna, Kiev, Grodno, Minsk and Tobsk.
The Jews suffered during the many pogroms. In 1904 and 1905, at the time of Russia’s ill-fated war with Japan, pogroms were carried out by soldiers and by mobs. On October 1905 there was a wave of rioting which spread to all the most important Jewish centres. Odessa where over 300 persons were killed, and thousands injured, Kiev, Kishinev, Romi, Kremenchug. In a relatively short time, there were 64 outbreaks in the cities and 626 in the towns and villages, in which 800 Jews lost their lives and thousands were wounded. In the Kishinev pogrom of April 6, 1903, 45 Jews were killed by the mob. There was a solemn burial of the Scrolls of the Law that had been desecrated during the pogrom. Seven hundred houses were destroyed, 600 shops looted, 4,000 Jews remained homeless and destitute. In 1906 there were pogroms in Bialystok, with eighty dead.
With the accession of Nicholas II, the last Tsar, there was an increase in anti-Semitism. The greatest suffering for the Jews was caused by the continued mass expulsions. On March 29, 1891 under the then Tsar Alexander III, some 30,000 Jews living in Moscow, were rounded up and expelled, in the biggest and cruelest operation of the kind so far, they had constituted 86% of the Jews in Moscow. During the First World War, the Jews were accused of spying and collaboration with the enemy, and many of them were executed. On May 3, 1915, the expulsions reached their peak when 200,000 Jews of Kovno and Kurland were ordered to leave their homes within forty-eighty hours. An estimated total of over 600,000 were expelled, only 5% of whom succeeded in taking their movable possessions with them.
Earlier, Tsar Nicholas I decreed that Jews would have to join the Tsarist army for a forty year term. The 1827 law fixed a rate of Jewish conscription 40% percent higher than that of non-Jews. Under the terms of this law, the Jews had a quota of conscripts fixed for them, which was meant to be higher than that of the Christian population. Jews were called up for service every year, while for the general population it was every two years. The general draft age was from twenty to thirty-five, but for the Jews it was twelve to thirty-five.
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