Russian “Official Antisemitism” Reconsidered: Socio-Economic Aspects of Tsarist Jewish Policy, 1881-1905

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The respective Jewish policies of Tsarist ministers Witte and Plehve are re-examined through the perspective of their opposing socio-economic policies. The two ministers’ rivalry over Jewish policy is considered not to be a reflection of “antisemitic” or “pro-Jewish” sympathies, as that would leave major elements of these policies unexplained; rather, analysis shows it to be a means in their struggle to gain supremacy for their own respective policies regarding the nature and pace of Russia’s industrialization. The Russian policy-makers perceived the Jews not only as a religious group; they saw them as a non-monolithic economic entity, and differentiated among the various strata of Jewish society in accordance with the respective influence of each stratum’s economic activities on Russian society and economy. Accordingly, the two ministers formulated opposing differential Jewish policies to fit their respective all-Russian socio-economic policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-221
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Review of Social History
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Russian “Official Antisemitism” Reconsidered: Socio-Economic Aspects of Tsarist Jewish Policy, 1881-1905'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this