Is there any historical research out there that might shed light on why/howTwo things happened: one official, and one economic.
In Ukraine, civilization as St Petersburg understood it
stopped somewhat south and east of Kiev. >from there on, you were in
a lawless area much akin to the Wild West in the U.S. once you left
Jefferson City. In order to settle and stabilize those areas, the
government encouraged agricultural colonies where people could earn
land while settling it. The same was true for areas of Siberia,
normally off limits to Jews because not within the Pale of Settlement.
The economic factor is that there was much migration seeking
better economic conditions. That migration generally took
inhabitants >from small towns to larger cities, and >from north to
south. Odessa, for instance, in 1800, had about 100,000 people,
mostly ethnic Ukrainians. By 1900, Odessa contained about a million
people, roughly 1/3 Ukrainians, 1/3 Russians, and 1/3 Jews.