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Vladimir Tiomkin

TIOMKIN, VLADIMIR (Ze'ev; 1861–1927), Zionist leader in Russia. Born to an assimilated family in Yelizavetgrad, Ukraine, Tiomkin qualified as an engineer at the Technological Institute in St. Petersburg in 1886. He was active at first in the Russian revolutionary movement, but the pogroms in southern Russia in 1881 prompted him to join the Jewish national movement, and he was one of the founders of the Ahavat Zion society in St. Petersburg. He was delegate to the Ḥovevei Zion conferences at Druskieniki (1887) and Vilna (1889). In 1891 he was appointed the representative of the *Odessa Committee of Ḥovevei Zion in Ereẓ Israel, and he became head of the executive committee of the Russian Ḥovevei Zion in Jaffa. He initiated land purchases in Ereẓ Israel, but his plans were soon foiled by land speculations and the financial losses incurred by many investors. Tiomkin returned to Russia, where he became *kazyonny ravvin of Yelizavetgrad in 1893 and did much to develop the institutions of the community. With the appearance of Theodor *Herzl, he joined the Zionist movement and became one of its outstanding supporters and speakers in Russia. He participated in Zionist Congresses, was a member of the Zionist General Council, and was Zionist representative for the Yelizavetgrad region. During the controversy which broke out over the *Uganda Scheme, Tiomkin was a leading member of the oppositionist Ẓiyyonei Zion (1903).

During World War I Tiomkin headed the relief projects in southern Russia on behalf of the Russian Jewish refugees who were expelled from the front region. After the February 1917 Revolution he renewed his activities in the Zionist movement, which had become legalized. During the short period of freedom that followed until the October Revolution, he was one of the foremost speakers at conferences and congresses. He was a member of the presidium of the National Assembly of the Jews of the Ukraine (1918). Due to his great popularity with the Jewish masses, he was not persecuted by the Jewish Communists when in control over the Jews of the Ukraine (1919). In 1920 Tiomkin left Russia and settled in Paris. He became a member of the editorial board of the exiled Russian Zionists' periodical Razsvet and joined Vladimir Jabotinsky's *Revisionist Zionist movement. Tiomkin was the first president of the World Union of Zionist-Revisionists. He was an impressive witness in the *Schwarzbard trial. The settlement Ramat Tiomkin near Netanyah is named after him.


L. Jaffe, Sefer ha-Congress (19502), 324–6; D. Smilansky, Im Benei Dori (1942), 66–70; M.B.H. Hacohen, Olami, 2 (1927), 194–8.

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