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For more than five hundred years Russian Jews were forced to live with terrible crimes such as robbery rape and murder The Russian government only thought of them as the Jewish Problem Mass murders of Jews were planned and carried out by the Russians Jews were not allowed to enter Russia because the Czars considered themselves Protectors of the Christian Faith Kniesmeyer 29 The Jewish population in Russia has until very recently been victim to religious persecution and discrimination ranging from the boycotts of its stores to mass murders Jews have not been accepted in Russia since the Middle Ages They were considered a problem for Russian society The government said Jews made it impossible to form a nation of a single people based on common religion and language It also did not like Jews living in villages where they were an important part of the economy This was a problem because free people were not supposed to live on noble land Kniesmeyer 29 Jews did not want to enter into mainstream society where they would be forced to desert Judaism In 1804 Alexander I was the first Czar to force expulsion of the Jews from villages by creating the Statute Concerning the Organization of the Jews Kniesmeyer 29 The goal of this statute was to have the Jews enter into normal society They were allowed to enter public schools but they were forced to leave their villages Early in the nineteenth century Jews were forced out of their villages and into areas known as the Pale of Settlement During the rule of Czar Nicholas I the status of Jews weakened Starting in 1827 Jews were forced to join the army for at least twenty-five years Kniesmeyer 30 This was done to try to pull Jews away from their religion Each Jewish community had to supply a certain number of recruits Cantonists between the ages of twelve and twenty-five Jews were also kidnapped to
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