Jewish Autonomous Region

One of the anomalies of Russia is the Jewish Autonomous Region which is located in Russia’s Far East, surrounded by the Amur Region, the Khabarovsk Territory and China.  The administrative centre of the region is the city of Birobidzhan.

The region was established in 1934 as a result of a nationality project of Joseph Stalin to create a homeland for Soviet Jews within the borders of the Soviet Union.  At its peak after the Second World War around a quarter of the region’s population were Jewish. However today only about 1% of the region’s population are Jewish, after mass emigration to Israel took place in the 1970s-1990s.  Most of the remaining Jews live in Birobidzhan, which has seen a Jewish revival with a new synagogue and new monuments celebrating the city’s Jewish culture.