Jews in Russian Army

From:Lynne Shapiro 

Subject:Re: [WMJGS] How to obtain copy of dissertation on Jews in Russian Army

Date:Tue, 25 Jan 2005

The Univ of Michigan is frequently confused with the private company University Microfilms International (UMI), now called ProQuest Information and Learning. ProQuest is located in
Ann Arbor but is not affiliated with the University of Michigan. They hold the rights to sell copies of dissertations from most academic institutions around the United States, and many
from around the world. They also own the rights to many serial publications on microfilm. For more information about ProQuest, please consult their website at:
General Information: ProQuest Information and Learning
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Here is the information you will need to order a copy of the dissertation:
Jews in the Russian army: Through the military towards modernity (1827--1914) by Petrovsky-Shtern, Yohanan M., PhD BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, 2001, 434 pages AAT 3004975

The copy is loose leaf sheets of paper no binder, The cost
is $38.00 dollars, You may order over the phone with credit card, You
may also send in check or money order, Thank you Rhonda Lewis
1-800-521-3042 8-5:30 EDT M-F; FAX 800-864-0019


Article date: Jan 2014

Source: ?

The Pale of Settlement is the region of western Imperial Russia in which permanent residency by Jews was tolerated, and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was for the most part prohibited.  The Pale lasted until the fall of the Tsarist Empire in March 1917.


The word pale derives from the Latin word palus, meaning stake (similarly palisade.)  Pale extended to a figurative meaning as a boundary, and then to a broader concept as an area within which exceptional local laws may hold.


The Pale ultimately extended from the Eastern Pale, or demarcation line, to Russia’s western border with the Kingdom of Prussia (later the German Empire), south to Austria-Hungary, thence to Turkey.  Successive territorial acquisitions reconfigured the boundaries, so that various areas opened or were shut to Jewish residency.  Hence, the Pale comprised about 20% of the territory of European Russia, and largely corresponded to the historical borders of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.  In 21st century terms, it included much of Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine, and parts of western Russia.


At its height, the Pale, including the new Polish and Lithuanian territories, had a Jewish population of over 5 million.  This represented the largest component (40 percent) of world Jewish population at that time.


The Pale was first created by Catherine the Great in 1791 after several failed attempts by her predecessors, notably the Empress Elizabeth (1709-1762), to entirely remove Jews from Russia unless they converted to Russian Orthodoxy which was the state religion.  A significant area of the Pale, with both Christian and Jewish populations, was acquired stepwise by the Russian Empire via military conquests and diplomatic maneuvers beginning in 1762.  The institution of the Pale was propelled by the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 because until then, Russia's Jewish population had been rather limited.  The annexation of Polish and Lithuanian territory increased Russia’s Jewish population by, variously estimated, 300,000 - 1,000,000 Jews.  Ultimately, the Pale comprised about 20% of European Russia (area of Russia west of the Urals.)


The motives for creating the Pale are probably legitimately seen for the most part as economic and nationalist, though clearly with prejudicial social and religious overtones.  Russian society had been structurally divided into nobles, clergy and serfs.  Industrial progress led to the emergence of a middle class, and that was rapidly entered by Jews.  The imperial power chose to favor access to the middle class by the non-Jewish majority by limiting the areas of Jewish residency.


1772  The First Partition.  Russia took a small area of eastern Poland, and Austria took Galicia.

1791  Russia took Odessa, later lost it to Turkey.  The Pale is created, though not named as such.

1793  Russia took Ukraine west of Kiev, stopping short of Bessarabia.  The Second Partition.

1795  The Third Partition of Poland.  Russia stopped just east of Galicia and of Bialystok.

1801  Alexander I became tsar.  The Pale was formally named as such.  Russia took Bessarabia and regained Odessa. 

1814  The Congress of Vienna, resolving Napolean’s defeat, extended Russian territory well west of Warsaw and of Bialystok, which area had been Prussian.  Russia allowed a revival of the Polish monarchy in this acquired region and created a federation with it.  Russia gradually took full control of Poland in the next 20 years.

1815  The Galician area of Tarnopol was returned to Austria.


From 1815-1825 a limited number of categories of Jews were allowed to live in interior provinces (Astrakhan, Caucasus) which were outside the Pale, wherein they were limited to the practice of specified trades.  These included distilling and selling alcohol, wholesale handling of lumber and grain, and administering mills and estates.  Starting around 1825, these privileges were curtailed as a means of limiting what had become successful competition with non-Jews.  Despite this policy, select Jewish individuals were still permitted to live outside the Pale for business and perhaps political reasons.  Petrovsky-Shtern (Jews in the Russian Army 1827-1917) says that they comprised no more than 4% of Russian Jewry in 1900.


These new policies excluded Jewish residence in the Astrakhan and Caucasian provinces.  Jews were expelled in the period 1827-1830 from the coastal regions eastward from Odessa, through Sebastopol and Yalta and extending to the easternmost point of the Black Sea.  Jews were expelled from Kiev in the 1830’s.  They were moved, sometimes forcibly, to provincial towns.


From 1796-1825 there were, paradoxically, hundreds of Christian families who were converts to Judaism.  They lived outside the Pale, mostly in the provinces of Tula, Orel, Saratov, and Voronezh which are in the area south and east of Moscow.  They called themselves the Ger sect, from the Hebrew ger meaning “proselyte.”  With the change of policy of 1825, those settlements were destroyed and the converts were banished to Siberia, to Armenia and to Azerbaijan in the Caucasus.


Petrovsky-Shtern records that by the 1850’s, Jewish communities outside the Pale grew mostly due to retired soldiers having been permitted to settle in places where they had served. He cites Petrozavodsk in 1856 having 214 Jewish men and 23 Jewish women.  The new retirees could return to the Pale, marry, and then emigrate from the Pale to where they then worked, with Russian, not Yiddish as their mother tongue, as tailors, shoemakers, butchers, sausage-makers, and smiths with less competition in these trades than there would have been inside the Pale. Petrovsky-Shtern cites other towns and cities as similar examples from 1846 to 1877.  This permission to live outside the Pale was rescinded in 1875.


Among other regressions were laws introduced in May 1882 under the recently ascended conservative Alexander III, shtetls were reclassified as villages.  The nominal reason was that the Jewish alcohol industry was too irresistible to the Russian peasants.  Villages were considered to be off-limits to Jews, and the coerced migration effected an urbanization of the Jews.  The state then nationalized the distillation and sale of alcohol, which impoverished large numbers of Jews who had been employed in that trade.

Whatever his thoughts, the increase in anti-semitism preceded Alexander III.  The settlement of the Russo-Turkish, or Balkan War of 1877-78 is perhaps a turning point.  Disraeli had successfully manipulated the peace treaty to limit Russia’s gain.  Jews, who had been major suppliers to the army in that war, were accused of profiteering.  Russian chauvinism, imperialism, and xenophobia were on the rise.  The throne opposed the previous policy of reforms.  In a major reversal, the decade saw anti-Jewish regulations introduced into the military, which may be measured by the paucity of Jews who attained significant officer rank.  1881–1884 is also characterized as a peak period of pogroms.  (The word pogrom derives from the Russian verb gromit for "to destroy, to wreak havoc, to demolish violently".)  Scores or more anti-Jewish events occurred in the Russian Empire, notably in Kiev, Warsaw and Odessa.  These events are conventionally presumed to have been with the tacit approval of the tsar and certainly with encouragement by some of his ministers.


Nicholas II ascended in 1894.  His micro-management leadership was notably inconsistent, weak, distracted by his son Alexei’s hemophilia, and coincided with inevitable social and political change.


Late February, 1917 in Petrograd saw workers’ strikes, factory lock-outs and anti-World War I protests, culminating with over 150 demonstrators killed, and many more injured in armed clashes with the police. The next day, disobeying and fully armed police joined the protestors. The disorders spread to Moscow, where the failure of a political solution led to Nicholas II’s abdication within a week.  A Provisional Government, taking the reins of office, was soon recognized by England, France, Italy and the USA.  The Provisional Government quickly abolished all religious and ethnic restrictions that had been imposed by Alexander III and Nicholas II.  These changes included that non-Russian languages became allowed at private educational institutions and in record keeping.  The Pale of Settlement was dissolved on March 20 (Old Style.)  Jews now had access to military schools, so that six months later Jews represented over 50% of the enrolled students in military schools in Kiev and Odessa.

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