Jews in Russia - Supplement I

Supplement I

V. N. Tatishchev "History of Russia" Vol. II

Edited by the USSR Academy of Sciences

Moscow-Leningrad 1963

(Years 6621 = 1113)


Vsevolod II, the son of Vsevolod I".

(Chapter 13, p. 129)

"…The Kievites, not wanting Sviatoslaviches, became indignant and ransacked the houses of those who supported the Sviatoslaviches. The house of the military chief (Tysiatsky), Putiaty, was ransacked first. Then many Jews were beaten; their houses were ransacked because these people did a lot of harm to Christians in the matters of trade. A great number of them gathered in the synagogue and erected a barrier; they defended themselves as best they could, asking respite until Vladimir's arrival. The dignitaries of Kiev, seeing such great disarray and fearing worse to come, were hardly able to persuade the people to calm down. They sent for Vladimir a second time with a request to him to come immediately to appease the rebellious people, warning him that 'if you hasten not your advent, your daughter-in-law, the Great Duchess, boyars, churches and monasteries will be ransacked. And if that happens then you and you alone must answer before God'. Hearing this, Vladimir was greatly horrified, and soon sent 'to announce' to inform Sviatoslaviches about everything; he himself left for Kiev. And when, on Sunday, April 20, Vladimir approached Kiev, he was met by a great number of people outside the city. Then he was met by the boyars at the gates of the citadel. The Metropolitan Nikofor, with bishops and clergy of the parish, met him with honors and great joy and led him to the Duke's house.

Thus Vladimir accepted the throne, to the pleasure of all the people and the mutiny ceased. However, he was asked publicly to bring the Jews to justice because they took away all the Christian trade. Under Sviatopolk, the Jews had great freedom and power, because of which many merchants and artisans were ruined; they enticed many to their law and took up residence in houses among Christians, a thing that had not been done before. This is why the people wanted to beat them and to ransack their houses. But Vladimir replied: 'Many of them (the Jews) came and settled everywhere in different principalities because they were admitted by the previous Dukes. It is not now proper for me, without a council of Dukes, to stand contrary to lawfulness and to allow killing and ransacking where many innocent could perish. For this reason I will call the Dukes to a council meeting at once'.

And soon Vladimir called them all to Kiev. When the 6 Dukes gathered for the council meeting in Vydobytch they established the following law after a long discussion: 'From this day on, from all the lands of Russia, all Jews with their possessions shall be deported, and hence they shall not be readmitted; if they secretly re-enter, it is permissible to ransack and to kill them'. And the orders were sent to all cities, according to which they were deported. Yet many in the cities and on the way out were beaten and ransacked. From that time on, there are no Jews in Russia, and whenever some of them come, the people ransack and kill them…"

(Source: "Chronicle of Nestor".)