Russia abolishes the Pale of Settlement in the late 1800s (late 19th century)

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,197
SoCal
#1
What would the effects have been if Russia would have abolished the Pale of Settlement in the late 1800s (late 19th century)? One possible way to do this would be for Alexander II's eldest son Nicholas to survive and have him become Russian Tsar when his father is assassinated instead of his younger brother Alexander (known as Alexander III in real life). Then, if Nicholas is sort-of reformist-minded like his father, maybe he would have been willing to eventually put the issue of the abolition of the Pale of Settlement onto his agenda. Nicholas might also repeal some other anti-Semitic laws in this scenario but keep the Jewish quotas in order to provide affirmative action for Russia's non-Jewish ethnic groups.

Would an early abolition of Russia's Pale of Settlement and some other anti-Semitic Russian laws have any significant impact on Russian Jewish emigration? Or would the rate of Russian Jewish emigration have remained unchanged since life in the West (especially, but not only, in the US) would have still looked like a better and more appealing option to many Russian Jews? Also, how many Russian Jews would have settled in the Russian interior (the Russian territories east of the Pale of Settlement) in this scenario? In addition, what other effects would there be in this scenario that there were not in real life?

Any thoughts on all of this?
 
Apr 2017
1,555
U.S.A.
#2
This isn't a subject I am very knowledgeable of but I will attempt an answer.
My understanding of the concept is that the pale was established to grow Russia's western territories economies with jewish businesses. That is why they were limited to the Pale and not allowed outside it.
Abolishing the Pale and various anti-Semitic laws would most likely slow the emigration (but not stop it). I doubt there would have been extensive migration eastward into Russia, what little there would have been would be limited to major cities in European Russia.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,197
SoCal
#3
This isn't a subject I am very knowledgeable of but I will attempt an answer.
My understanding of the concept is that the pale was established to grow Russia's western territories economies with jewish businesses. That is why they were limited to the Pale and not allowed outside it.
That's interesting; I've never actually heard that before.

Abolishing the Pale and various anti-Semitic laws would most likely slow the emigration (but not stop it). I doubt there would have been extensive migration westward into Russia, what little there would have been would be limited to major cities in European Russia.
You mean extensive migration eastward into Russia, no?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,197
SoCal
#5
Yes, I've corrected it.
OK; thanks!

BTW, it's quite interesting that the Jewish population in the territories that are now Russia actually increased from about 250,000 in 1897 to almost 900,000 in 1939 in real life. The figure in 1959 was comparable to that in 1939 (something like 11% of Russian SFSR Jews lost their lives in the Holocaust, but this was compensated by Jewish migration into the Russian SFSR from the territories (SSRs) further east during World War II), but after 1959, the Jewish population in the Russian SFSR began to significantly decline. The next Russian census is likely to show there only being around 100,000 Jews in Russia--a nine-fold decrease from back in 1959!
 
Jun 2016
1,784
Russia
#6
The pale of settlement was not anti-Semithic but anti-Judaist law. There were no restrictions for the Jews that became Christians. Therefore the Pale of Settlement was of no importance for Russia.
These who think that USA was less anti-Semithic must remember MS St Lois and 937 Jewish emigrants sent back to Nazi Germany.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,197
SoCal
#7
The pale of settlement was not anti-Semithic but anti-Judaist law. There were no restrictions for the Jews that became Christians. Therefore the Pale of Settlement was of no importance for Russia.
These who think that USA was less anti-Semithic must remember MS St Lois and 937 Jewish emigrants sent back to Nazi Germany.
The Pale was anti-Semitic in a religious sense, not in an ethnic sense; in contrast, Nazi Germany was anti-Semitic is an ethnic sense.

As for the US, it certainly had its downsides--such as the 1920s immigration restrictions and the Jewish quotas in universities (though at least the latter could be excused as being a form of affirmative action for non-Jewish white Americans); however, the US never had anything like the Pale of Settlement for Jews.
 
Jun 2016
1,784
Russia
#8
The Pale was anti-Semitic in a religious sense, not in an ethnic sense; in contrast, Nazi Germany was anti-Semitic is an ethnic sense.

As for the US, it certainly had its downsides--such as the 1920s immigration restrictions and the Jewish quotas in universities (though at least the latter could be excused as being a form of affirmative action for non-Jewish white Americans); however, the US never had anything like the Pale of Settlement for Jews.
1. Nazi were anti-Semithic in both regional and ethnic sense.
2. I don't think that Ghettoes in America were somewhat better than Pale of Settlement. This law existed in Russia until 1917, while I've read Ghettoes in USA mentioned in American classics of 1960s, including Jewish Ghettoes.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,197
SoCal
#9
1. Nazi were anti-Semithic in both regional and ethnic sense.
2. I don't think that Ghettoes in America were somewhat better than Pale of Settlement. This law existed in Russia until 1917, while I've read Ghettoes in USA mentioned in American classics of 1960s, including Jewish Ghettoes.
1. The Nazis appear to have treated converts to Judaism better than they treated ethnic Jews, though:

Ernst von Manstein - Wikipedia

2. At least in the US one could move somewhere else if one didn't like living in the ghetto. Of course, there were some restrictions on where exactly one could move to. After all, even in the Northern US, there were restrictive covenants that prevented blacks (or at least large numbers of blacks) from living in certain neighborhoods.
 
Jul 2019
563
New Jersey
#10
1. Nazi were anti-Semithic in both regional and ethnic sense.
2. I don't think that Ghettoes in America were somewhat better than Pale of Settlement. This law existed in Russia until 1917, while I've read Ghettoes in USA mentioned in American classics of 1960s, including Jewish Ghettoes.
You're confused about the meaning of American "ghettoes". In America, a ghetto simply means an ethnic or religious enclave, unlike in Europe, where a ghetto generally meant an area where Jews were forced to reside. To the extent that there have been Jewish American ghettoes, they were the product of Jewish people voluntarily choosing to live together. Thus, there is absolutely zero equivalence between the compulsory and restrictive Russian Pale and American Jewish ghettoes.
 
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