Soviet Plan to Build Jewish Republic in Bira-bidjan Apparently Abandoned

What appears to all practical purposes to be an abandonment of the Soviet government’s plan to establish a Jewish Republic in Bira-Bidjan, Far Eastern Region, as proclaimed several months ago by Michael Kalinin, President of the Soviet Republic, is apparent from the composition of a special government commission to build up the region and to colonize it. What the Comzet, the government department for settling the Jews on the land, had planned to be a territory built up by Jews and for Jews, when in 1927 it suggested the Bira-Bidjan region as a suitable location, appears destined not to come to pass. Jewish interests in Bira-Bidjan will play a secondary role when the new commission starts its work, because it will be composed chiefly of representatives of the different government trusts that are primarily interested in Bira-Bidjan from purely commercial points of view and not from the view of a Jewish Republic. They will employ non-Jewish help and give little preference to Jewish labor.

The management of Bira-Bidjan, which had been under the joint direction of Comzet and the Ozet, organization for settling the Jews on the land, had been severely criticized of late. More or less in response to this criticism, Comzet decided to create the special commission as an independent government organization to carry out the actual work at Bira-Bidjan under instructions from the Comzet.

Only today a rather belated resolution from the Far Eastern Regional Communist Party, charging the Ozet with mismanaging Bira-Bidjan, was published. The resolution points out, first, that Ozet mismanaged its finances; second, that it conducted the Jewish colonization work so poorly that it led to a dissolution of the organized Jewish collectives, and third that it stimulated bad feeling on the part of the natives.

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