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Ukrainian Evangelicals and Russian Jews in Russian Revolutionary Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  Sergei Zhuk (Ball State University) The Ukrainian Stundists and Russian Jews: A Collaboration of Evangelical Peasants with Jewish Intellectuals in Late Imperial Russia 1 The spread of the radical evangelical movement in southern Russia and Ukraine by the 1880s coincided with the activities of revolutionary intellectuals, who tried to exploit the anti- state feelings of persecuted evangelicals. Some of these revolutionaries were Jews. Because of anti–Semitic pogroms after the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 in the southern Russian provinces many Jews tried to emigrate, while others tried to survive by converting to Christianity. The last development, which was called the movement of “New Testament Jews” by Russians, converged with the evangelical movement in the Ukrainian provinces of Kiev, Kherson and Tavrida and influenced peasant religious dissenters as well. The Russian police discovered these connections first, but the Orthodox clergy and Russian conservative press used this information about the collaboration of Jews and Christian dissenters, who were called Stundists, for their ideological campaign against the evangelical peasants. The Jewish theme contributed to the construction of the anti-Russian image of the first Russian Stundists, who were Ukrainian peasants by origin and whose theology and religious practices were reminiscent of the West European Reformation. 1 The American Council of Learned Societies, IREX, Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies and Mellon Foundation supported financially this research, which is a part of larger research project. See the detailed analysis of relations between the Stundists and Jews in a chapter 7 of my book: Sergei I. Zhuk, Russia's Lost Reformation: Peasants, Millennialism, and Radical Sects in Southern Russia and Ukraine, 1830-1917, (Baltimore, 2004), 321-395. 1

Authors: Zhuk, Sergei.
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Sergei Zhuk (Ball State University)
The Ukrainian Stundists and Russian Jews:
A Collaboration of Evangelical Peasants with Jewish Intellectuals in Late Imperial Russia
The spread of the radical evangelical movement in southern Russia and Ukraine by the
1880s coincided with the activities of revolutionary intellectuals, who tried to exploit the anti-
state feelings of persecuted evangelicals. Some of these revolutionaries were Jews. Because of
anti–Semitic pogroms after the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 in the southern Russian
provinces many Jews tried to emigrate, while others tried to survive by converting to
Christianity. The last development, which was called the movement of “New Testament Jews”
by Russians, converged with the evangelical movement in the Ukrainian provinces of Kiev,
Kherson and Tavrida and influenced peasant religious dissenters as well. The Russian police
discovered these connections first, but the Orthodox clergy and Russian conservative press used
this information about the collaboration of Jews and Christian dissenters, who were called
Stundists, for their ideological campaign against the evangelical peasants. The Jewish theme
contributed to the construction of the anti-Russian image of the first Russian Stundists, who were
Ukrainian peasants by origin and whose theology and religious practices were reminiscent of the
West European Reformation.
1
The American Council of Learned Societies, IREX, Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies and Mellon
Foundation supported financially this research, which is a part of larger research project. See the detailed analysis of
relations between the Stundists and Jews in a chapter 7 of my book: Sergei I. Zhuk, Russia's Lost Reformation:
Peasants, Millennialism, and Radical Sects in Southern Russia and Ukraine, 1830-1917, (Baltimore, 2004), 321-395.
1


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