• Robert J. Brym


Sometime in mid-1993 the millionth Jew emigrated from the former USSR in the twenty-five years since 1968. During that period fewer than two-thirds of the emigrants settled in Israel. Over one-third settled elsewhere, mostly in the USA.


Jewish Identity Emigration Rate Refugee Status Jewish Culture Communist System 
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  1. 1.
    In this section I draw on Robert J. Brym, “The changing rate of Jewish emigration from the USSR: Some lessons from the 1970s”, Soviet Jewish Affairs, vol. 15, no. 2, 1985, 23–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Robert J. Brym, “Soviet Jewish emigration: A statistical test of two theories”, Soviet Jewish Affairs, vol. 18, no. 3, 1988, 15–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Victor Zaslavsky and Robert J. Brym, Soviet-Jewish Emigration and Soviet Nationality Policy (London: Macmillan and New York: St. Martin’s, 1983)Google Scholar
  4. Tanya Basok and Robert J. Brym, “Soviet-Jewish emigration and resettlement in the 1990s: An overview” in Tanya Basok and Robert J. Brym (eds.), Soviet-Jewish Emigration and Resettlement in the 1990s (Toronto: York Lanes Press, York University, 1991), xi–xxii.Google Scholar
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  6. 2.
    Data sources for 1971–1991: “Immigration data— 1991 “, in Yehudei brit hamoatsot (The Jews of the Soviet Union), vol. 15, 1992, 188; for 1992: Sidney Heitman, “Jewish emigration from the former USSR in 1992”, unpublished paper (Fort Collins CO: Department of History, Colorado State University, 1993).Google Scholar
  7. 3.
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  10. Robert O. Freedman (ed.), Soviet Jewry in the 1980s: The Politics of Anti-Semitism and Emigration and the Dynamics of Resettlement (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 1989), 61–96Google Scholar
  11. 7.
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  12. 8.
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  13. 10.
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  14. Zvi Gitelman, “Soviet Jewish emigrants: Why are they choosing America?”, Soviet Jewish Affairs, vol. 7, no. 1, 1977, 31–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 11.
    At the time, some commentators argued that the Soviets cut the emigration rate in the 1980s because many Jews started using Israeli exit visas to leave Russia but then “dropped out” and went elsewhere. Presumably, that practice undermined the pretext that Jews were permitted to leave for purposes of family reunification. The Soviets allegedly feared that non-Jews might get the idea that emigration for reasons other than family unification was possible. They therefore virtually stopped the outflow of Jews. See, for example, Zvi Alexander, “Jewish emigration from the USSR in 1980”, Soviet Jewish Affairs, vol. 11, no. 2, 1981, 3–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  17. 12.
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  20. 14.
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  21. 15.
    “Miscellaneous reports”, Chronicle of Current Events, no. 52, 1980 [1979]), 129.Google Scholar
  22. 16.
    Theodore Friedgut, “Soviet anti-Zionism and antisemitism—Another cycle”, Soviet Jewish Affairs, vol. 14, no. 1, 1984, 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 17.
    “Soviet anti-semitism said to be ceasing”, Canadian Jewish News, 20 August 1987.Google Scholar
  24. 18.
    Vladimir G. Kostakov, “Employment: Deficit or surplus?”, Kommunist, no. 2, 1987, 78–89Google Scholar
  25. Irena Orlova, “A sketch of the migration and refugee situation in Russia”, Refuge, vol. 13, no. 2, 1993, 19–22.Google Scholar
  26. 19.
    Robert J. Brym, “The emigration potential of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Russia: Recent survey results”, International Sociology, vol. 7, no. 4, 1992, 387–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 20.
    Gregg A. Beyer, “The evolving United States response to Soviet-Jewish emigration” in Tanya Basok and Robert J. Brym (eds.), Soviet-Jewish Emigration and Resettlement in the 1990s, 105–39.Google Scholar
  28. 21.
    Roberta Cohen, “Israel’s problematic absorption of Soviet Jews” in Tanya Basok and Robert J. Brym (eds.), Soviet-Jewish Emigration and Resettlement in the 1990s, 67–89.Google Scholar
  29. 22.
    Sidney Heitman, “Jewish emigration &”.Google Scholar
  30. 23.
    Michal Bodemann, “A renaissance of Germany Jewry?”, paper presented at a conference on “The Reemergence of Jewish Culture in Germany”, University of Toronto, 6–7 May 1993.Google Scholar
  31. 25.
    In the October 1992 survey I conducted with Andrei Degtyarev in Moscow there were only 23 Jewish respondents, of whom 5 (22 per cent) expressed the desire to emigrate. This is a small sub-sample and one should not read too much into the results. Nonetheless, the fact that 22 per cent of the 535 Moscow Jews in the survey conducted with Ryvkina (weighted n) also expressed the desire to emigrate should increase one’s confidence in my findings. Compare Table 5.6, panel 1, with Robert J. Brym and Andrei Degtyarev, “Who wants to leave Moscow for the West? Results of an October 1992 survey”, Refuge, vol. 13, no. 2, 1993, 24Google Scholar
  32. 26.
    Rozalina Ryvkina, “Value conflicts of Russian Jews and their social types”, unpublished paper, Moscow, 1992.Google Scholar
  33. 27.
    A large random sample for a 1990 survey in ten republics of the USSR happened to include thirty-four Jews, a fifth of them from Georgia and none from Moscow or Leningrad. When the respondents were asked whether they would like to emigrate permanently, 71 per cent of the Jews said “yes”. Note, however, that the sample of Jews is tiny and skewed towards regions with high rates of emigration. The survey was, moreover, conducted during the period of panic emigration. See Lev Gudkov and Alex Levinson, Attitudes Toward Jews in the Soviet Union: Public Opinion in Ten Republics (New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1992), 26–7.Google Scholar
  34. 28.
    For example, the USA is apparently planning to implement a new policy allowing people from the former Soviet republics with refugee status only one year to emigrate. This may speed up the pace of departure for some people with refugee status but it may force others to choose to go to Israel and still others notss to leave at all. See “One-year limit on US refugee status for ex-USSR”, Monitor: Digest of News and Analysis from Soviet Successor States, vol. 4, no. 25, 30 July/ 6 August 1993), 1.Google Scholar
  35. 29.
    Natan Sharansky, “The greatest exodus”, The New York Times Magazine, 2 February 1992.Google Scholar
  36. 30.
    I note that the 1993 Israel budget proposal, tabled in 1992, predicted 154,000 CIS immigrants in 1993. A 1993 Israeli Treasury economic assessment paper lowered the figure to 80,000, but predicted 120,000 CIS immigrants per year starting in 1994. Based on actual figures for the first ten months of 1993, I project 70,000 CIS immigrants for 1993. See Government of Israel, “The State Budget for 1993: Submitted to the Thirteenth Knesset” (Jerusalem: Government Printer, 1992) (in Hebrew), 114Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Institute of Jewish Affairs Limited 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Brym
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Centre for Russian and East European StudiesUniversity of TorontoCanada

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