The official “Committee for Settling Jews on the Land” in Russia, which has among its members many influential Soviet officials, is now confronted with a problem which is of greatest significance for the further development of Jewish agricultural setlementts in Russia. Since the first steps with regard to settling the Jews on the land were made, certain members of the Committee are advising extreme precaution owing to the reaction of the Russian peasantry.
In numerous sections where the so-called Jewish “trans-immigrants”, former city dwellers who now desire to settle on the land, were placed, the peasants have given unmistakable expression to their resentment and opposition to the new settlers.
While the Government Committee had originally intended to follow a policy of distributing the Jews among the non-Jewish elements, in conformity with its general principles, a change of policy is now being advocated, giving way to the peculiarity of Jewish colonization. It is pointed out that the situation as is manifested by the reaction of the large class of peasants, touches the quick of the Soviet Government’s policy towards the majority of Russian population.
The Soviet Government has been able to maintain itself only because of the fact that it satisfied the centuries-old hunger of the peasants for land. It is characteristic of the new course that even the Jewish Communists now openly advise that the Jewish agricultural settlement be planned in more compact groups and in concentrated regions.
The attitude of the Russian peasants has been the cause of keen disappointment in Jewish circles, which had expected a more comradely attitude from the Russian farmers.
While under the Czaristic regime, anti-Semitic feelings of the mob were openly expressed and officially stimulated, the anti-Semitic movement today is not visible on the surface. The Russian peasant is afraid to express his Jew-hatred in view of the stern measures the Government has taken to suppress any anti-Jewish excesses. While the anti-Semitic movement among the peasant element has vastly increased, it is held in leash. The peasant movement in Russia is today reasserting itself. The war and the Russian Revolution have awakened the Russian peasant to political consciousness. In the future political development of the Ukraine, the peasant will play a much larger role than in the past.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.