The Immigration of Jewish people in USSR under Mikhail Gorbachev administration is generally considered as a response to huge demand of Jews who desperately wanted to leave Soviet Union, and a state policy towards ethnic minority issues. Historically speaking, anti Semitism was rooted for centuries in Russia. Jews had been prosecuting since Czarist Russia, and most recently the prosecution reached peak under Stalin administration. People would think that it was the long existing hostile atmosphere towards Jewish people that primarily led their migration out of USSR. Yet it is a more complicated picture.
When Gorbachev came to power as the secretary of general of the Party in 1985, Soviet immigration policy was, to significant extent, adjusted based on Soviet bleak economic conditions and diplomatic relationships with United States and Israel. The transition was not merely a compromise under the pressure of Western powers but also an attempt to reverse economic deterioration such as high unemployment. In the thesis, I shall discuss the outstanding reasons that behind immigration policy transition under Gorbachev administration as well as the consequences and implications.
PART I: the Reasons
The immigration transition made by Gorbachev administration could be divided into two periods. The first period is from 1985 to 1986, when Gorbachev initiated radical reform known as perestroika, which literally means reconstruction. The stagnating Soviet economy and chilling relationship with the US led him to adopt the concept of glasnost and “New Thinking”, which can be translated as a series of promotions of openness and liberty in public affairs and flexibility in foreign policies. The decree of Council of Ministers...
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...s to migrate to Israel, since costs of accommodation in Israel was much lower than that in America.
Despite all that negative consequences, Soviet Jews still brought bright outlook worldwide. From economic perspective, Soviet Jews migrated from Soviet Union where workers were low productive to countries where worker were more productive. Thus, Jewish migration increased production efficiency and living standards on the global scale, as well as individual level of their own. One example would be Jewish immigrants in Israel and United States, where their contributions to economic and social developments exceeded negative impacts like ethnic conflicts and welfare pressure. More importantly, on humanity base, the transition enabled Jews to pursue prosperity and liberty, as well as to fulfill their desires in culture, religion, and politics in the new promising lands.
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