Study Shows Drop in Number of Jewish Students in USSR

The number of Jewish students at Moscow’s institutions of higher education is roughly half what it was ten years ago, says a report by the Institute of Jewish Affairs (IJA), research arm of the World Jewish Congress.

Analyzing the figures, Dr. Lukas Hirszowicz, senior research officer, says that although demographic decline and the age structure of Soviet Jewry partly explain the fall, the figures “certainly provide statistical evidence that discrimination is also a cause.”

The fall in numbers paralleled the decline of the Soviet Jewish student population as a whole. Hirszowicz estimates the 1980 figure for all USSR Jewish students at 50-55,000, compared with almost 112,000 in 1968-9.

JEWISH POPULATION DECLINE

The Soviet Jewish population declined by 15.8 percent and by 13.2 percent in the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR), which includes Moscow, in the period between the census of 1970 and 1979.

But in what the IJA calls a roughly comparable period, Moscow Jewish students declined by almost 41 percent, “about three times the decline of the general Soviet Jewish population.”

On the other hand, the number of Jews in specialist education did not decline in the 1970s at the same rate as those in higher education.

Finally the report shows that in the USSR as a whole, the Jews were the only nationality other than the Georgians to suffer on absolute decline in the number of students in higher education.

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