Staunton, January 5 – Following Vladimir Putin, who suggested Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown by a clutch of “nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes, and anti-Semites,” commentators in Russia and sometimes in the West suggested that anti-Semitism was widespread in Ukraine. Indeed, they have made it a major theme in their presentations.
But Boris Vishnevsky, a Yabloko deputy in St. Petersburg’s legislative assembly, says that they have not been able to come up with “a single convincing example” to support their charges. If they are really concerned about anti-Semitism, Russian leaders should look closer to home, where it is very much on public view.
During a recent visit to the Dom Knigi, the most prominent bookstore in the northern capital, Vishnevsky says, he found next to publications glorifying Stalin and “’unmasking the myth about Stalinist repressions,’” a book by self-described historian and philosopher Roman Klochnik in what should be called lectures in “a popular anti-Semitic university.”
Over the course of almost 600 pages, Klochnik talks about the “destructive role” of Jews in Russian history, including the deaths of thousands of Russians “at the hand of Jewish terrorists in the period from 1878 to 1917 and the destruction of hundreds of thousands of Russian peasants” by Jewish commissars during de-kulakization.
Among those Klochnik describes as Jews who hid or hide under Russian pseudonyms in order to wreak havoc on Russia are Andropov, Lenin, Trotsky, Kiriyenko, Khodorkovsky, Fradkov, Yeltsin, and even Dmitry Medvedev. And he writes “with sympathy” about Stalin’s destruction of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee because it protected Russia against “’anti-Soviet” American espionage.
Thanks to Stalin, Klochnik says, the USSR and the Socialist countries were able to “escape from the sphere of influence of an all-powerful Jewish conspiracy, “but after 1991,” that conspiracy returned and has put Russia at risk of falling under its total control once again.
According to Klochnik, “Jews and half-Jews” in Germany after World War I “stupefied the German people with their beloved Old Testament racist idea about superiority and involved it in aggressive wars for world rule,” just as they had done in Russia in 1917 and led “the illiterate Russian people into a horrific meat-grinder.”
“Any non-Jewish government not subordinated to Jews is viewed as an enemy with which it is necessary to struggle” in order to ensure “the complete racial dominance” of the Jews “over all peoples on the planet,” Klochnik writes.
Among Klochnik’s observations about post–1991 Russia, Vishnevsky points to three in particular. First, Klochnik complains that “the Jewish ‘genius’ Chubais and his numerous American advisors did not name a Lithuanian, a Kyrgyz, a Bashkir, a Ukrainian, a Kazakh, a Belarusian, or a Russian as an oligarch … but in their overwhelming majority, only Jews?”
Second, Klochnik says that Medvedev “completed the plans of the West since 1905 for the destruction of the Russian Empire,” plans which “Blank-Lenin and Bronshtein-Trotsky” were about to carry out in 1923 but which were blocked by Stalin, “who seized power and created the powerful state of the USSR.”
And third, Kochnik says that an even “’greater evil’” for the Russian people may lie ahead if “one of the Jewish oligarchs” takes power. What they would do in the future, he continues, is shown by what happened to Russians “between 1917 and 1924 and even up until 1938.”
Such anti-Semitic, Black Hundreds-style evil nonsense is “freely being sold in the main bookstore of Petersburg,” Vishnevsky writes, “alongside other ‘works’ of the same author which have a similar content: where the Jewish pogroms of 1905 are called ‘anti-terrorist’ operations, and the reader is told” that there really was a ritual killing in the Beilis case.
That such books exist is disturbing enough, but Vishnevsky offers some reasons for thinking that their appearance is even more frightening than many might think. One sales clerk told a friend of his who asked about this book that it was the case that Dmitry Medvedev’s real family name was Mendel, and another said that there was no reason not to sell it since it isn’t on the list of forbidden books.
And “in reality,” Vishnevsky says, “why not?”
Russia is “a legal state where what is not prohibited is permitted,” where “it is permitted to call Hitler ‘a politician of the highest class,” where “it is permitted to declare on state television that ‘the Jews caused the Holocaust themselves,” and where “it is permitted to go out on Nevsky Avenue on May Day 2014 with symbols indistinguishable from those of the Nazis.”
“But if all this is permitted,” Vishnevsky concludes, then Kremlin bureaucrats and propagandists should “stop searching for ‘fascism’ in Ukraine. Take notice first of the log in your own eyes.”