Moscow (Apr. 3)
The Jewish migration movement in the Soviet Union will from now on be directed mainly to Bureya, in Siberia, while the work in the Crimea and the Ukraine will be confined to consolidating the existing settlements, but no new Jewish settlements and collective farms will be established there, the Government Commission for Jewish Land Settlement (Comzet) has decided at a plenary meeting which has been held here under the chairmanship of the President, M. Smidovitch, who is Vice-President of the Soviet Union.
The most important and specific task of the Comzet, the resolution which has been adopted by the meeting says, is to bring about the economic domination of Bureya. The Comzet is to do everything possible to enable the Government decision to proclaim a Jewish national autonomous unit in Bureya by the end of 1933 to be carried into effect. About 50,000 new Jewish settlers are to be brought into Bureya by the end of the coming year, according to the programme laid down by the Comzet, and by the end of the second five-year period the number of inhabitants in Bureya is to be increased to 300,000 souls, of whom not less than 45 to 50 per cent. are to be Jews.
The speakers who took part in the discussion emphasised the natural wealth of Bureya, and dwelt on the aim of the Soviet Government to transform Bureya into a metallurgical base for the whole of the Far East, pointing out that this opened up tremendous opportunities for Jewish mass immigration into the region.
A good deal of the discussion turned on criticism of the previous administration of the Comzet under M. Mereszin. In the four years in which the migration movement to Bureya had been in progress, it was complained, only 7,000 people had been settled, at a cost of 61/2 million roubles, while during the present year alone it was planned to settle 14,000 people and to invest 32 million roubles of State money in the work.
While its future activities will be concentrated in Bureya, the Comzet and the Jewish Colonisation Society (Ozet) do not intend to withdraw, however, from the work in the Crimea and the Ukraine, the resolution says further, but their efforts in these places will be directed entirely to consolidating what has already been done, in order to ensure the continued existence of the Jewish regions in the Crimea and the Ukraine.
About 100,000 hectares of land were sown this year in the Crimea; 3 million pood of corn were handed over to the State this year by the Jewish colonies in the Crimea; there are thousands of hectares of vineyards and tobacco plantations in the Crimea and much else that cannot and must not be neglected, it was pointed out.
But at the same time, the speakers said, there must be no more chasing after larger areas of land, without considering whether there are enough transmigrants available to control so much land. The result of the pervious policy, they said, was that out of 40,000 transmigrants who had been settled in the Crimea since the beginning of the Jewish settlement work in 1924, 20,000 had left.
The entire work in the Crimea will be directed from now on to consolidating the Jewish region in Freidorf and concentrating the whole of the Jewish settlement movement in this region. It is possible that Jewish settlers in other parts of the Crimea will now be transferred to Freidorf. This question will be looked into by a special commission which will have to submit a report after making a thorough investigation of the position in the Crimea. It is also possible that the Comzet will relinquish some of the land allocated in the Crimea for Jewish settlement, and will retain one large stretch in which the entire Jewish settlement work will be concentrated.
The same course will be adopted in regard to the work in the Ukraine, concentrating it in the three Jewish regions in the Ukraine, where over 4,000 families – about 20,000 souls – will be settled this year, according to plan.