Le Foll, Claire
L’empire russe et le hassidisme : enjeux politiques et gestion administrative d’un conflit religieux interne (1770-1860)
Slavica Occitania, (29), .
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This paper explores the way in which the Tsarist government dealt with Hasidism from the end of the 18th century to the second half of the 19th century. It shows that both internal and external factors influenced the perception of Hasidism by officials: the general policy of the tsarist authorities towards religious minorities and Jews especially; the internal conflict and political struggle between three components of the Jewish population - Hasidim, their opponents (misnagdim) and the enlightened Jews (maskilim). The history of the relationships between Hasidism and Tsarist Russia can be divided in three stages. At the turn of the 18th century, Hasidism was perceived by government as a harmless Jewish sect which should be granted the same rights than the other religious Jews. The Statute of 1804 gave them an official recognition which allowed Hasidism to spread and establish itself all over the Pale of Settlement. However in the 1840s and 1850s, Hasidism was percieved as a fanatical sect, potentially harmfull for the Empire. The hasidim were subjected to a strenghtened police controle. Finally the eve of Alexander II's liberal reign prompted hasidim to ally with the misnagdim and to organise themselves as a political force associated to the governmental activity, in order to resist to reforms and defend the interests of traditional Jewry.
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