the official territory for Jewish land colonization. The mostly marshy territory, approximately twice the size of New Jersey, had been annexed by Russia in 1858. Summers are hot and rainy, winters cold and dry. Some 27,000 Russians, Cossacks, Koreans, and Ukrainians were already living in the region when Jewish settlement began.

The Kremlin selected this particular territory for the following reasons:

  To redirect the movement of Jews to the land away from Ukraine, Belarus and Crimea where the native populaces resisted Jewish settlement.

  To buffer the Soviet Union from Chinese and Japanese expansionism.

  To tap natural resources, such as fish, timber, iron, tin, graphite and gold.

stalin's forgotten zion