It was possible to evade this restrictions upon secondary education by combining private tuition with examination as an “outside student”.
Certainly this played a major role in setting Soviet Jews against the regime.
This is the well-known version which stresses Russian anti-Semitism.
(2) The other explanation is that by 1989 when more than half of Jews had higher education the percentage of Jews who could access it even based on pure meritocracy had been maxed out. This means that 16% of Russians and 50% of Jews will have an IQ of 115 or above.
Let’s crudely assume a mean IQ of 100 for Russians and 115 for Jews with an S. Let’s say that this is the part of the population that had access to a higher education in the Soviet era (this makes sense: The system was, for the most part, meritocratic, and standards for entry where far higher than today when higher education is far more accessible).
While writing this post on Da Russophile about why Russians do not (for the most part) hate Jews – a post that will also be of interest to AKarlin readers – I came across very interesting historical data on literacy and educational accomplishment by ethnic groups in the USSR.
This table shows the literacy rate among different groups from the 1926 First All-Union Census.Coming less than a decade after the Revolution this table is of course a reflection of the Tsarist education system, not of the Soviet one.Apart from puncturing one Communist myth, that the Tsarist regime didn’t do anything for people’s literacy and that it was all a Soviet achievement, it also demonstrates that Jews had the highest literacy rate of all the peoples in the Empire.Notice however that Germans are bottom of the barrel, below even Chechens and Tajiks in tertiary attainment.Now that is clearly a group that is being discriminated against as German IQ is typically a couple of points above that of ethnic Russians, so their rate of tertiary attainment should be at least equal if not higher. So all things equal they will perform much better than ethnic Russians.So how to resolve these paradoxes – that Jews were “held back” from Russian schools and universities, but at the same time somehow maintained educational qualifications well in excess of the Soviet and Russian averages? Ashkenazi Jews (such as lived in the USSR) are typically recorded to have a mean IQ about one S. What the imperial Russian government did in fact do was a form of pro-indigenous majority affirmative action.