Palestine soviétique: pourquoi Staline a créé un État juif au fin fond de la Sibérie

Dans les années 1920, Joseph Staline a appelé à donner aux Juifs soviétiques leur propre patrie. La région autonome juive s’est cependant avérée un échec, en grande partie parce qu’elle était située dans l’une des zones les plus reculées de l’Extrême-Orient.
Néanmoins, elle existe encore aujourd’hui, même si les Juifs ne représentent qu’environ 1% de sa population.

Le début du XXe siècle a été une période très dure pour les Juifs russes, qui étaient autorisés à vivre uniquement dans la Zone de résidence et furent régulièrement confrontés à des pogroms violents. Par exemple, environ 800 personnes ont été tuées en 1905 lors d’attaques liées à des troubles politiques.

La Zone de résidence a été abolie après la Révolution de février en 1917, mais comme toutes les autres nationalités, les Juifs ont terriblement souffert pendant la guerre civile (1918 – 1921) lorsque des factions militaires de tout bord volaient, terrorisaient et assassinaient impunément.

Global Look Press

Plus de 200 000 Juifs ont été tués pendant la guerre civile, selon les statistiques. Lorsque la paix est revenue et que le pouvoir soviétiques’est consolidé, le gouvernement a commencé à se demander comment traiter la « question juive ».

Les choix de Staline

Après la Révolution d’octobre, le commerce et l’artisanat (les principales professions des Juifs) étaient mal vues pour des raisons de classe. Ainsi, le gouvernement a prévu de transformer les Juifs en paysans.

Staline souhaitait faire vivre une population juive dispersée dans un territoire clairement défini et leur donner une autonomie nationale, ce dont beaucoup d’autres ethnies soviétiques jouissaient également. En plus d’aider à résoudre les problèmes intérieurs, la création d’un « sionisme socialiste » spécial pour les Juifs soviétiques devait également aider Moscou à rivaliser avec le projet sioniste en Palestine, qui montait en puissance à cette période. Mais où placer cette « terre promise soviétique » ?

Californie criméenne

La première option a émergé en 1926, lorsque Moscou a annoncé la volonté de créer d’une région autonome juive en Crimée, où environ 96 000 familles juives auraient été déplacées.

Le projet a obtenu une dimension internationale quand, en 1929, l’URSS a signé un accord avec le Comité de distribution juif américain, une organisation juive d’aide basée à New York. Le Comité fournissait 1,5 million dollars par an pour financer la « Californie de Crimée » et la réinstallation juive dans la région.

L’URSS a commencé à équiper les communes de Crimée pour que les Juifs y vivent. Tout a plutôt bien commencé: plusieurs communes ont été créées et travaillaient à pied d’œuvre afin de planter des graines et de développer l’élevage de bétail. Cependant, les problèmes surgirent rapidement : les groupes locaux, qui étaient jaloux des Juifs bien financés de Crimée, commencèrent à perpétrer des pogroms et causèrent de graves troubles dans la péninsule.

Plan «B»

Birobidjan. Sergueï Metelitsa/TASS

Mécontent, Staline a peu à peu abandonné l’idée d’une « Californie de Crimée », et a conçu un nouveau plan : déplacer les Juifs vers les régions éloignées de Sibérie où il y avait beaucoup de terres, et aucune raison de se battre.

En 1928, les premières familles juives commencèrent à se déplacer vers le bassin du fleuve Amour, à proximité d’un petit village, Tikhonkaïa (littéralement « le calme »). Graduellement, il donna naissance à la ville de Birobidjan (6 000 km à l’est de Moscou), et devint la capitale de la Région autonome juive.

Les magazines officiels juifs de l’URSS publièrent des poèmes et des contes consacrés à cette région, censée devenir une « Palestine soviétique », patrie tant désirée par ce peuple sans terre.

Quelque chose qui cloche

Le voyage à Birobidjan était extrêmement long et ardu, et la réinstallation était mal organisée. Le statut de la région n’était pas non plus très clair : ce n’était pas une république, mais simplement une « région autonome » avec des privilèges incertains dans la région de Khabarovsk. Ensuite, en 1935, Staline a décidé de ne pas accorder de véritable autonomie à la région, laissant les Juifs soviétiques sans État.

En outre, Staline n’était pas disposé à laisser les Juifs de l’étranger s’y déplacer, même dans les années 1930 quand beaucoup tentaient de fuir les pays européens menacés par les nazis. En outre, le dirigeant soviétique a exécuté plusieurs fonctionnaires juifs de la région avant et après la Seconde Guerre Mondiale.

La situation actuelle

Avec la Fondation de l’État d’Israël en 1948, les Juifs ont obtenu un endroit beaucoup plus attrayant qu’une région reculée d’Asie du Nord. Par conséquent, Israël est devenu l’adversaire de l’URSS, et ce jusqu’à ce qu’à la mort de Staline, qui était sceptique quant à l’idée d’aider les Juifs.

« Staline a ruiné lui-même la région autonome juive en tant que foyer national [du peuple juif] », conclut Valeri Gourevitch, un historien régional dans son livre consacré à l’histoire de la région.

La région autonome juive existe toujours, et Birobidjan compte aujourd’hui une population d’environ 75 000 personnes. Selon le recensement 2010, les Juifs ne constituent que 1% de la population. Près de 90 ans après l’éclosion de l’idée, il est clair que les plans visant à créer une « Palestine d’Extrême-Orient » ont échoué.

Oleg Egorov

Photo une: Global Look Press  

source: https://fr.rbth.com/histoire/79299-palestine-sovietique

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