18th Century

It is well known that Jews started massively inhabiting South-Western regions of the Russian Empire in the second half of the 18th century, at the time the bans on living environment for Jews in this area were removed by empress Catherine II also known as Catherine the Great in 1769. This bans had been set in the days of empress Elizabeth.

At the beginning of the First Turkish War of Catherine the Great (1768 - 1774) captive Wallachians, Greeks, Armenians, dissenters and Jews were directed to the Southern Russian Empire. Captives were allowed to settle anywhere in the country on their own accord except for the Jews. The Novorossiya Governorate was the only place that the Jews were let to make their home in. The Novorossiya Governorate with its county center in Kremenchug thus had become the first official Jews’ refuge in the Russian Empire, where they got residence rights. It could be said that the first “Jewish pale” was formed in the boundaries of the Russian Empire and perhaps the first “official” Jews of the Russian Empire appeared in Kremenchug.