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Society for the Attainment of Full Civil Rights for the Jewish People in Russia

SOCIETY FOR THE ATTAINMENT OF FULL CIVIL RIGHTS FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE IN RUSSIA (Rus. "Soyuz dlya dostizheniya polnopraviya yevreyskogo naroda v Rossii"), a non-party organization which existed from 1905 to 1907, whose aim was declared in its name. The society organized the participation of Jews in the elections of the First and Second *Duma, also obtaining legal aid for Jews after the pogroms of October 1905. At the founding convention in Vilna in April 1905, where representatives of the Jewish intelligentsia of all parties took part (with the exception of those on the left), Simon *Dubnow defined the aims of the society. A central committee was elected, whose headquarters were to be in St. Petersburg. Maxim *Vinaver was chosen as chairman of this committee, which he led until the dissolution of the society. The historian Julius *Hessen became its secretary. Three further conventions were held in St. Petersburg, the second in December 1905, following the October *pogroms, when the 1905 Russian revolution had been at its height. It was decided: (1) to appoint a committee in which a delegate of the non-Jewish public would participate to investigate the pogroms and to demand that the guilty officials be dismissed and brought to justice; (2) to claim economic reparation from the government; and (3) to demand the release of Pinḥas *Dashewski who was in prison for attacking the organizer of the *Kishinev pogroms.

The third convention, held in February 1906 on the eve of the elections to the First Duma, was devoted to the elections. Jewish delegates standing for election to the Duma were instructed on how to fight for equal rights for Russian Jewry. The fourth and last conference took place in May 1906, ten days after the opening of the First Duma. Largely by virtue of the society's activities, 12 Jewish delegates had been elected to the Duma. On the question of whether a Jewish national group should be established in the Duma, Vladimir *Jabotinsky (speaking for the Zionists) and Dubnow were in favor of the proposal, but Vinaver and his followers opposed it violently. Political polarization of Jewish life broke up the society; Dubnow and M. *Kreinin founded their party in 1906, and the Russian Zionist conference at *Helsingfors decided that Zionists should contest elections under their own party banner. At a committee meeting in the spring of 1907 it was decided to abolish the society.


YE, 14 (c. 1910), 515–7; S. Dubnow, Kniga zhizni, 2 (1935), 19–29; J.G. Frumkin (ed.), in: Russian Jewry 18601917 (1966), 18–84.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.