Velizh Affair

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Velizh Affair

 

the anti-Semitic incident in which a group of Jews from the town of Velizh in Vitebsk Province (present-day Smolensk Oblast) were accused of the murder of a boy named F. Ivanov in 1823. The court of first instance found the accused persons innocent, but the case was reopened and given an anti-Semitic and “ritual” character (1825). Several dozen men were arrested and held in prison until 1835. In spite of the cruel and illegal methods of investigation and the pressure applied by the reactionary circles, they failed to obtain evidence for a conviction. The accused were acquitted, and the false witnesses were exiled to Siberia. N. S. Mordvinov, the chairman of the Department of Civil and Spiritual Affairs of the State Council, played a decisive role in exposing the slander. The Velizh Affair attracted much public attention. M. lu. Lermontov’s early tragedy The Spaniards was written under the influence of the Velizh Affair.

REFERENCE

Gessen, lu. I. Velizhskaia drama.St. Petersburg, 1904.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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