Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region: Overcoming Broken Promises In A 'Promised Land'
In a distant corner of Russia’s Far East, along the border with China, the world’s only official Jewish territory other than Israel has existed peacefully for the last 85 years. The Jewish Autonomous Oblast was established under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1934, ostensibly to provide a homeland for ethnic Jews living in the USSR. However, some historians see other aims in its creation: an attempt to encourage migration to a far-flung corner of Russia, bolster the local economy, and strengthen the Soviet Union’s Chinese border. Today, only a tiny percentage of the population in this remote region is Jewish, but Jewish history and traditions still live on.