The Jewish Republic is a republic in the Far East. Recognized by the United Nations as an observer state in 1992, the Jewish Republic controls the land formerly known as the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, bordering Russia and China. Due to its strange political history, Russia does not recognize the Jewish Republic as independent, but it does not claim it as its own territory. The Jewish Republic is only recognized by the Republic of China. It has some unofficial relations with Armenia, Burma, Panama, and the United States. It maintains trade relations with many other countries.
After the destruction of Israel, the De-Stalinization campaign was dwindling in the Soviet Union. Eager to revive the Jewish Autonomous Oblast by way of increased immigration and potential diplomatic points, Brezhnev employed the Star of Birobidzhan newspaper to begin promoting the Oblast as a new homeland for the Jewish population. Through increased autonomy legislation, Brezhnev managed to attract the attention of the World Zionist Organization, which had recently retreated back to New York City. After WZO leader Ehud Avriel met with Chief Rabbi Fishman in Birobidzhan in 1972, interest in a new Jewish homeland in Russia spiked to a level not seen since the 1930's.
Collapse of the Soviet Union
Many years had passed since the historic WZO visit. The ethnically Jewish population of the Oblast outnumbered the ethnically Russian population by a neglible margin. Although the WZO was not headquarted there, activity within had spiked significantly. As 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union rolled around, many SSRs declared independence. The local legislature, which had been controlled in a majority by former members of the Maki Party since 1984, voted in favor of seceding from the Soviet Union to form the Jewish Republic. Although the Jewish Autonomous Oblast had in essence functioned like an ASSR, it was not an ASSR in name. As there had been no long-standing conflict between the Jews and the Russia since Stalin's Purges ended, the Jewish Republic's independence was treated as many other SSR's independence was. On December 16, 1991, the Jewish Republic became independent.
Relations with the Yeltsin Administration
The Russian Federation, during the administration of Boris Yeltsin, recognized the independence of the Jewish Republic along with the former SSRs. An embassy was maintained in the Jewish Republic, but the JR did not have one in Russia itself. In 1997, following the First Chechen War, JR President Volkov pushed for greater ties with the Russian Federation to avoid further ethnic conflict in the future. Plans were erected for a new embassy in Russia, but never took effect.
Following Yeltsin's resignation, Putin took control of Russia. After Putin was finally elected to the full Presidency, a slow rollback of diplomatic relations between the two countries began to unfold. By 2001, the State Duma had rejected new plans for the Jewish Republic embassy. By 2002, the new national budget ordered the closing of the Russian embassy in the JR for "economic reasons". Following the embassy's closing, diplomatic ties were completely cut between the two countries. Although President Volkov called out the cutting of ties, Putin did not issue a response.
Following this severing of relations, a mass rollback of other national relations unfolded. Although many countries maintained their informal relations (similar to the relations the USA has with Palestine in the OTL), Russian-aligned countries who held embassies in the JR stopped nominating ambassadors and eventually closed their embassies altogether. As of now, the only country that fully recognizes the JR is Taiwan.
The Jewish Republic models its governmental system after the former State of Israel save for a few points. The Knesset has been renamed the Republican Legislature, the abilities of the President have been expanded, and the position of Prime Minister has been abolished. There was originally a Vice President, but the Republican Legislature abolished it in 1999.