Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved a program to offer financial incentives encouraging Russian expats to move to the former Jewish autonomous region of Birobidzhan.
The program hopes to bring about 2,000 people back to what once was a Jewish ethnic enclave, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Birobidzhan was established in 1934 by Joseph Stalin in Russia’s Far East on the border with China. Today, fewer than 6,000 people of the region’s population of 76,00o are Jewish. The returnees would receive about $8,000 for relocation expenses, health insurance and other needs, according to eJewishPhilanthropy.
The World Forum of Russian-speaking Jewry on Monday told The Jerusalem Post that the program is unrealistic.
“Jews in Russia and Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries live in big cities and are economically successful for the most part,” Alexander Levin, president of the World Forum of Russian-speaking Jewry, told The Jerusalem Post.
Birobidzhan still has a Jewish character, The New York Times reported in October.