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Quotas and Soviet Jewry

- Abstract

ALTHOUGH quotas linked to the proportion of a given ethnic group in the population have governed admission to the universities in the Soviet Union for more than two decades, and although this system has always operated (in the words of one student of Soviet affairs) “to the particularly severe disadvantage of the Jewish population,” in the past few years it has begun to take a greater and greater toll. Prior to 1968 the percentage of Jews in the student population had been drastically declining (from 13 in 1935 to 3.2 in 1961), but the absolute number of Jews admitted into universities, mainly those in Siberia, consistently increased; now, for the first time in Soviet history, the absolute number of Jews in higher education has begun to decline. Official data reveal that the number of Jewish students dropped from 111,900 in 1968-69 to 105,800 in 1970-71 (while within the same two-year period the number of students of all other Soviet nationalities increased) and to 88,500 by 1972-73-an absolute decline over four years of more than 20,000. The percentage of Jewish students among all students in higher education now stands at 1.9. (The percentage of Jews in the general population is .9.)

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