Written by Vladimir Moss




    One of the main accusations of Western historiography against Tsarist Russia is that the tsars discriminated against, and persecuted, the Jews on its territory. That the tsars discriminated against the Jews – more precisely, those Jews who accepted the anti-Christian teaching of the Talmud - is true. But it is important to study and understand why these discriminatory laws were put in place – something, unfortunately, that very few western historians have done. That the tsars persecuted the Jews, aiding and abetting peasant pogroms against the Jews, is not true. Moreover, it is not true that the Russian state and people did not suffer an existential threat from anti-Christian, mainly Jewish-led pogroms, leading finally to the largest anti-Christian and anti-Russian pogrom in history, the pogrom that we now call the Russian revolution…

     Any writer who approaches this subject with any sympathy for the tsars is liable to be accused of anti-semitism. It is therefore incumbent upon the present writer, who is an Orthodox Christian of English ethnicity, to be very clear on this point at the outset… It cannot be denied that those Russians who took part in the anti-Jewish pogroms of the last decades of the Russian Empire acted cruelly and in an anti-Christian manner – as very many of their pastors and arch-pastors told them. Hatred of enemies is forbidden by the Gospel of Christ, as, specifically, is anti-semitism (Romans 11.18-36). So there is no way in which acts motivated by hatred against Jews, whether or not they were provoked by hatred on the Jews’ side, can be condoned.

     However, the justified horror at Christian antisemitism which has become so de rigeur in the modern world, must always be balanced by a similar horror at the antigentilism and antichristianity of those Jews – and there were many of them in the late Russian Empire – who espoused the Talmud, the most hateful of all “sacred” books. Similarly, those revolutionary and atheist Jews who murdered Tsars and Tsarist officials and simple Orthodox Christians in their thousands in the years leading up to their final triumph in 1917 must be condemned in no uncertain terms. Fortunately, in recent times a balanced account of Jewish-Russian relations has at last appeared – Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Two Hundred Years Together (Moscow, 2001). This essay is based largely on his research – which is derived to a great extent from Jewish sources. For it is only on the basis of such balanced and truthful historiography that real peace can be established between the nations.

1. The Jews under Tsar Alexander II

     The first of Alexander's great reforms, but the one having perhaps the most profound long-term consequences for the empire as a whole and for the tsar in particular, related to the Jews. In 1856, in the coronation manifesto, the Jews were placed on the same basis as the rest of the population in relation to military service. In the same manifesto, all their (very large) debts incurred in non-payment of taxes over the previous years were forgiven.

     "More expansively than this," writes Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "Alexander II expressed his intention to resolve the Jewish question - and in the most general sense favourably. For the whole way in which the question was posed was radically changed. If under Nicholas I the government had set itself the task, first, of reforming the inner way of life of the Jews, gradually clearing it up through productive labour and education, in this way leading to the removal of administrative restrictions; then under Alexander II, by contrast, the government began by removing external restrictions and impediments, without searching deeply into possible inner causes of Jewish isolation and sickliness, and hoping that then all remaining problems would be solved of themselves; it began 'with the intention of merging this people with the native inhabitants of the country', as the sovereign command of 1856 put it."[1]

     During the rest of the reign almost all the restrictions on the Jews were dismantled. Jews were now to be found in all parts of the empire, and the share of trade and industry owned by them rapidly increased - as did their overall numbers, to almost 4 million by 1880. The Jews also benefited from other reforms, such as the abolition of the poll-tax on urban dwellers in 1863.

     However, the emancipation of the serfs hit the Jews hard in three ways. First, the social gap between the free Jews and peasant serfs was abolished - the peasants were now as free as the Jews. Secondly, the liberated peasants were now freed from the strict prohibition of buying and selling goods through an appointed middle-man - who in the western provinces was almost always a Jew. Thirdly, the government's establishment of agricultural credit at very reasonable rates, together with the development of consumer and credit associations, squeezed out the Jew's role as provider of credit (at extortionate rates).[2]

     Alexander I's plan to draw the Jews into agriculture was abandoned by Alexander II. In 1866 he rescinded the special decrees on transforming the Jews into farmers in the South-Western region of "New Russia". Since they had proved incapable of working the land independently, the Jews were given the opportunity to become craftsmen and merchants. They were allowed to buy out the land plots they had been given, and then to resell them at great profit. However, this measure created some further problems. For the Russian peasants who were neighbours of the Jewish colonists were angry that, while they did not have enough land, the Jews had been given more than enough - and were then able to lease the land out to the Russians at a high price. It was this fact that led in part to the sacking of several Jewish settlements during the disturbances of 1881-1882.[3]

     Alexander's reforms with regard to Jewish military recruitment also did not reap the results hoped for. The Jews very often did not respond to the call-up. Thus in the period 1876-1883 31.6% of Jews called up did not respond - the figure throughout the Empire was 0.19% 

     When the government offered privileges in military service to those with education, the Jews suddenly converted to the idea of accepting Russian education. By 1887 13.5% of all university students in the country were Jews, and the figures were much higher in cities such as Kharkov and Odessa.[4] According to the theory, this should have been a good thing - it was the government's aim to assimilate the Jews into Russian culture through education. However, Russian education in this period was rapidly becoming radicalized. And so the institutions that, as it was hoped, would make the Jews into model Russian citizens and patriots in fact turned them into - revolutionaries... Thus Solzhenitsyn writes: "It is precisely under Alexander II, when the restrictions on Jewish life in Russia were so weakened, that Jewish names begin to be encountered amidst the revolutionaries... In the student disturbances of 1861 we encounter Mikhoels, Utin and Gen."[5]

     Again, David Vital writes: "A breakdown based on official records of the calling, social status, and origin of 1,054 revolutionaries arrested, tried, condemned, and sent into punitive exile or placed under police surveillance in the course of the round-up of dissidents in 1873-7 showed that 68 - 6.5 per cent - were Jews. Of 79 condemned to exile 12 were Jews: 15.2 per cent. These were not immensely large figures, but they do illustrate the fact that the Jewish contingent was already strikingly in excess of the Jewish proportion of the total population of the empire."[6]

     In fact, the exposure of the younger generation of Jews to goy literature was the cause of a profound change within Jewry itself. Many young fanatics who had immersed themselves in the study of the Talmud now abandoned Talmudism, and even the external appearance of Talmudic Jewry, and immersed themselves instead in Turgenev, Belinsky, Dobroliubov, Chernyshevsky, Pisarev and Nekrasov. They became socialists and joined the populist movement [narodnichestvo], distancing themselves more and more from their own people. Meanwhile, most Jews remained fenced off by Talmudic edicts from Russian culture and even the Russian language. Even among the russified Jewish intelligentsia voices were heard warning against complete assimilation. Thus in 1868 Perets Smolenskin warned that, in adapting to the general culture, the Jews should preserve their national spiritual character. And the Petersburg newspapers Rassvet [Dawn] and Russkij Evrej [Russian Jew] "strengthened the attraction of Jewish youth towards the study of the Jewish past and present life. At the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s there arose a watershed between the cosmopolitan and nationalist tendencies in Russian Jewry. 'In essence the leaders of Rassvet no longer believed in the truth of assimilation... Rassvet, without realising it, went along the path of ... the excitation of national self-consciousness... it had a vividly expressed national bias... the illusions of russification... were dispelled...'"[7]

     In 1869 the baptized Jew Jacob Brafmann published Kniga Kagala (The Book of the Kahal), in which, on the basis of a detailed translation of the acts of the Minsk kahal at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, he exposed and interpreted the kahal system, demonstrating the complete rightlessness of the majority of the members of the Jewish community. In 1976 the New Jewish Encyclopaedia confirmed that the material used by Brafmann "is genuine and the translation of it quite accurate". And in 1994 the Russian Jewish Encyclopaedia declared that "the documents published by Brafmann are a valuable source for the study of the history of the Jews in Russia at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century".

     "Brafmann asserted that 'State laws cannot annihilate that harmful power hidden in Jewish self-government... According to his words, this organization is not limited to local kahals... but encompasses, he says, the Jewish people throughout the world... and in consequence of this the Christian peoples cannot be delivered from Jewish exploitation until everything that aids the isolation of the Jews is destroyed'. Brafmann supported 'the view of the Talmud as not so much a codex of a religio-national character, but rather "a civil-political codex", which went "against the flow of the political and moral development of Christian countries"', creating 'a Talmudic republic'. He insisted that 'the Jews constitute a State within the State', that the Jews 'consider themselves not bound by State laws', the Jewish community has 'as one of its basic aims "the darkening of the mind of Christians" to turn them only into fictional owners of the property that belongs to them'. More broadly, he 'accused the Society for the Spreading of Enlightenment among the Jews and the Universal Jewish Union (the Alliance Israélite) of being a part of "a world-wide Jewish conspiracy"'...

     "The State Council, 'softening the blunt phraseology of the Book of the Kahal', declared that while the external distinguishing of the Jews from the rest of the population could be achieved by administrative measures, this 'will in no way guarantee the annihilation of the self-enclosed and almost anti-Christian feelings of the Jewish communities', but 'the isolation of the Jews which is so harmful for the State' can be 'annihilated, on the one hand, by a weakening, as far as possible, of the social links of the Jews among themselves and of the Jewish elders' abuse of their power, and on the other hand, which is still more important, by the spread of enlightenment among the Jews'."[8]

     The phrase “the annihilation of the self-enclosed and almost anti-Christian feelings of the Jewish communities” cut to the root of the matter. The anti-Christian feelings of the Jews, fed by the Talmud, were intense. Moreover, as even the famous English Jew Sir Isaiah Berlin admits, they regarded the Russian peasants as “a species of lower beings”.[9]

     "I.S. Aksakov, a constant opponent of complete emancipation for the Jews, already at the end of the 50s had tried to restrain the government 'from too bold steps' along this path. When a law was passed giving state service to Jews with degrees, he objected (1862), saying that the Jews were 'a handful of people who completely reject the Christian teaching, the Christian ideal and moral code (and consequently all the bases of the social existence of the country), and confess a teaching that is contrary and hostile to it'. He was not in favour of equality for the Jews in political rights, although he was completely in favour of their having equality in purely civil rights, so that the Jewish people "should be provided with complete freedom of existence, self-government, development, education and trade... even... that they should be allowed to live throughout Russia'. In 1867 he wrote that economically 'one should not talk about the emancipation of the Jews, but about the emancipation of the Russians from the Jews'. He noted the deaf indifference of the liberal press to the peasants' condition and needs. And now Aksakov explained the way of pogroms in 1881 as the display of popular anger against 'the oppression of the Russian local population by Jewry', which is why during the pogroms there was 'no burglary', only the destruction of property and 'some kind of simple-minded conviction of the rightness of their actions'; and he repeated that the question should be put 'not about the equality in rights of the Jews with the Christians, but about the equality of the Christians with the Jews, and about the removal of the rightlessness of the Russian population before the Jews'...

     "The writer D. Mordovtsev, who was sympathetic to the Jews, in his 'Letter of a Christian on the Jewish question', which was published in the Jewish newspaper Rassvet [Dawn], pessimistically called on the Jews 'to emigrate to Palestine and America, seeing this as the only solution of the Jewish question in Russia."[10 

     In 1879 Constantine Pobedonostev wrote to Dostoyevsky: "They are at the root of the revolutionary socialist movement and of regicide, they own the periodical press, they have in their hands the financial markets; the people as a whole fall into financial slavery to them; they even control the principles of contemporary science and strive to place it outside of Christianity."[11]

     And Dostoyevsky himself wrote: "Jewry is thriving precisely there where the people are still ignorant, or not free, or economically backward. It is there that Jewry has a champ libre! And instead of raising, by its influence, the level of education, instead of increasing knowledge, generating economic fitness in the native population, - instead of this, the Jew, wherever he has settled, has still more humiliated and debauched the people; there humaneness was still more debased and the educational level fell still lower; there inescapable, inhuman misery, and with it despair, spread still more disgustingly. Ask the native populations in our border regions: What is propelling the Jew - has been propelling him for centuries? You will receive a unanimous answer: mercilessness. 'He has been prompted so many centuries only by pitilessness for us, only the thirst for our sweat and blood.'

     "And, in truth, the whole activity of the Jews in these border regions of ours consisted of rendering the native population as much as possible inescapably dependent on them, taking advantage of the local laws. They always managed to be on friendly terms with those upon whom the people were dependent, and, certainly, it is not for them to complain, at least in this respect, about their restricted rights compared with the native population. They have received from us enough of these rights over the native population. What, in the course of decades and centuries, has become of the Russian people where the Jews settled is attested by the history of our border regions. What, then? - Point to any other tribe from among Russian aliens which could rival the Jew by his dreadful influence in this connection! You will find no such tribe. In this respect the Jew preserves all his originality as compared with other Russian aliens, and, of course, the reason therefore is that status in statu of his, the spirit of which specifically breathes with pitilessness for everything that is not Jew, with disrespect for any people and tribe, for every human creature that is not a Jew. And what kind of justification is it that in Western Europe the nations did not permit themselves to be overwhelmed, and that thus the Russian people themselves are at fault? Because the Russian people in the border regions of Russia proved weaker than the European nations (and exclusively as a result of their cruel political circumstances), for this sole reason should they be completely crushed by exploitation, instead of being helped?

     "And if reference is made to Europe, to France, for example, - there too, hardly has their status in statu been harmless. Of course, there, Christianity and its idea have been lowered and are sinking not because of the Jew's fault, but through their own fault; nevertheless, it is impossible not to note also in Europe the great triumph of Jewry which has replaced many former ideas with its own.

     "Oh, it goes without saying that man always, at all times, has been worshipping materialism and has been inclined to perceive and understand liberty only in the sense of making his life secure through money hoarded by the exertion of every effort and accumulated by all possible means. However, at no time in the past have these tendencies been raised so cynically and so obviously to the level of a sublime principle as in our Nineteenth Century. 'Everybody for himself and only for himself, and every intercourse with man solely for one's self' - such is the ethical tenet of the majority of present-day people, even not bad people, but, on the contrary, laboring people who neither murder nor steal. And mercilessness for the lower classes, the decline of brotherhood, exploitation of the poor by the rich, - oh, of course, all this existed also before and always; however, it had not been raised to the level of supreme truth and of science - it had been condemned by Christianity, whereas at present, on the contrary, it is being regarded as virtue.

      "Thus, it is not for nothing that over there the Jews are reigning everywhere over stock-exchanges; it is not for nothing that they control capital, that they are the masters of credit, and it is not for nothing - I repeat - that they are also the masters of international politics, and what is going to happen in the future is known to the Jews themselves: their reign, their complete reign, is approaching! We are approaching the complete triumph of ideas before which sentiments of humanity, thirst for truth, Christian and national feelings, and even those of national dignity, must bow. On the contrary, we are approaching materialism, a blind, carnivorous craving for personal material welfare, a craving for personal accumulation of money by any means - that is all that has been proclaimed as the supreme aim, as the reasonable thing, as liberty, in lieu of the Christian idea of salvation only through the closest moral and brotherly fellowship of men.

     "People will laugh and say that this is not all brought about by the Jews. Of course, not only by them, but if the Jews have completely triumphed and thriven in Europe precisely at the time when these new principles have triumphed there to the point of having been raised to the level of a moral principle, it is impossible not to infer that the Jews, too, have contributed their influence to this condition& The summit of the Jews is assuming stronger and firmer power over mankind seeking to convey to it its image and substance. Jews keep vociferating that among them, too, there are good people. Oh, God! Is this the point? - Besides, we are speaking not about good or bad people. And aren't there good people among those? Wasn't the late James Rothschild of Paris a good man? - We are speaking about the whole and its idea; we are speaking about Judaism and the Jewish idea which is clasping the whole world instead of Christianity which 'did not succeed'."[12]

     Of course, the views of Dostoyevsky, Aksakov and other Russian "antisemites" are profoundly unfashionable today. Most critiques of Russian anti-Semitism simply ignore the facts about the Jews in Russia cited above. However, a more intelligent and interesting critique has been presented by Sir Geoffrey Hosking, who takes up the hint given here by Dostoyevsky that the Jewish idea took the place of Christianity, "which 'did not succeed'".

     According to Hosking, "Anti-Semitism was a kind of frustrated Slavophilism, conceived in awareness of the ways in which Russians had failed to fulfil their potential nationhood. In the interests of great-power status, the Russians had spurned their myth of the chosen people and the empire of truth and justice. The Jews, by contrast, continued to believe that they were a chosen people and to hold to their messianic prophecies. Where Slavophiles dreamed of a peasant commune based on Orthodox principles, the Jews seemed still to have successful communities ruled over by their religious leaders. They had succeeded where the Russians had failed: in making a messianic religion the essence of their national identity."[13]

     We may concede a degree of psychological truth in this analysis: the Russians were failing "to fulfil their potential nationhood", if that nationhood was perceived as being the mission of the Third Rome, that is, of being the bearer of "light from the East", the universal truth of Orthodox Christianity, to the benighted nations of Europe and Asia. Far from converting the Europeans to Orthodoxy, the Russians were being converted in large numbers to various westernizing ideologies. Nor, in spite of flourishing missions in Alaska and (a little later) Japan, were they much more successful in Asia, where the very earthly motivations of great-power politics, little different from those of their great rivals, the British, prevailed.

     Now a sense of failure can be treated in two ways: in the Orthodox way, by repentance and the confession of sin, and in the fallen way, by exaggerated self-assertion and the blaming of others. Slavophilism at its best, as we find it in Khomiakov and Kireyevsky, or, somewhat later, in Dostoyevsky and Tiutchev, implicitly contained a message of repentance: that Russia was falling away from her vocation as God's people, and she should return to the traditions of the pre-Petrine, Muscovite period, when she had been more faithful to her heavenly calling. But in some of its later varieties, as we shall see in more detail later, Slavophilism degenerated into mere nationalist self-assertion. Russia, it was maintained, was great not only, or even primarily, because she was the bearer of the one truth to all nations (messianism), but also in a purely secular, material sense, or as embodying the last and greatest in the historical series of world civilizations (Danilevsky).

     The Jews were unique among Russia's national rivals in being no threat to her (yet) in purely political terms, but a direct threat in terms of messianic mission. For the Jews, like the Russians, claimed to be the nation that knows the truth, the bearer of God's saving message to the world. But the Jewish God was definitely not the Russians' God - not Jesus Christ. And Judaism was aimed at protecting the Jews against the influence of this Russian God, Who happened to be a Jew by race, but Whom the Jews had crucified and continued to anathematize. So in religious terms - and Russia's national "myth", to use Hosking's word, was nothing if not religious - there could be no compromise, no living together in amity between these two most religious of peoples. It was a matter of kto kogo?, to use Lenin's phrase: who would rule whom? - and the constant strife between Jews and Russians in the Western Borderlands was therefore both wholly predictable and essentially unavoidable. Moreover, as Hosking rightly points out, the relative success of the Jews in maintaining their religious identity was an implicit rebuke to the Russians, who were losing theirs. In fact, it was hardly a coincidence that the appearance of the Jews in large numbers in the Russian lands towards the end of the eighteenth century had coincided almost exactly with the nadir of Russian religious consciousness in the reign of Catherine II. It was as if God had introduced the Jews into Russia to remind the Russians: "Just as the Jews fell away from Me when they chose national self-assertion instead of Me, so you can fall away if you pursue great-power wealth and status at the expense of faithfulness to My commandments. And just as they fell from being My People to being My fiercest enemies, so it can happen to you."

2. The Pogroms of 1881

     On March 1, 1881 Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by a revolutionary organization called “The People’s Will”, consisting mainly of Jews. “Alexander II’s murder,” writes St. John Maximovich, “unleashed a storm of indignation in Russia, which helped strengthen the moral fibre of the people, as became evident during the reign of Alexander III…”[14]This murder, in the words of Bishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky), “clarified for people who were capable of at any rate some thought that these murders and blasphemies were not at all the expression of the people’s will, but on the contrary, a shameful spitting at that will. Moreover, they proceeded not so much from an honourable predilection for false theories as from the hands of the natural enemies of the fatherland – people of another race and nation, who were being rewarded with a corresponding financial payment.” [15]

     Paradoxically, however, the Jews who joined the revolutionary movement and killed the Tsar were not religious Jews who believed in the Talmud, but atheists – and their atheism had been taught them in Russian schools by Russian teachers who had abandoned their own, Orthodox faith and adopted the faith of the revolutionary thinkers of the West.

     But this distinction was lost on the ordinary people, who suffered in their everyday life from (mainly religious) Jews that exploited and deceived them, and believed that the (atheist) Jews who killed the Tsar must be of the same kind. Moreover, the violence of the act profoundly shocked them; for, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn explains, “that the deaths of the heirs or tsars of the previous century – Alexis Petrovich, Ivan Antonovich, Peter III, Paul – were violent remained unknown to the people. The murder of March 1, 1881 shocked the minds of the whole people. For the masses of the simple people, and especially the peasants, it was as if the foundations of their life were being shaken. But again, as the narodovoltsy had calculated, this could not fail to be reflected in some kind of explosion. And it was. But in an unpredictable way: in pogroms against the Jews in New Russia and Ukraine.”[16]

     On April 15 the first pogrom broke out in Elizavettgrad. It spread to Kiev and Kishinev and Odessa. The government reacted energetically: in Kiev 1400 people were arrested 

     However, there were not enough policemen for the scale of the disturbances, and “the government recognized that it had been insufficiently active. An official declaration proclaimed that in the Kiev pogrom ‘measures to rein in the crowd had not been undertaken quickly and energetically enough’. In June, 1881 the director of the department of police, V.K. Plehve, in his report to the sovereign on the situation in Kiev province named ‘as one of the reasons “for the development of the disturbances and their not very speedy suppression” the fact that the military court “’was very condescending to the accused, and very superficial in approaching the affair’. Alexander III commented on the report: ‘This is unforgiveable’.”[17]

     Many western historians have accused the Tsarist government of complicity in the pogroms. But in fact, as David Vital admits, “Alexander did display genuine dismay and dissatisfaction when reports of the weak and ineffective conduct of the security forces were brought to him; and fury when he learned of cases of military officers and men having actually joined the mob. His instructions were to deal firmly with rioters, to see to it that their leaders were severely flogged; and to make clear to the civil and military authorities alike that their business was to restore and maintain order before all else…. All in all then, while much was murky in official Russia at this time, the grounds for positing a momentarily disoriented, intrinsically inefficacious government not so much stimulating as failing to cope with simmering, popular, generalized discontent seem solid enough.”[18]

     Again, Dominic Lieven writes: “… The pogroms were terrible but they were a long way from the systematic ethnic cleansing, let alone genocide, of whole peoples which were to be the strategies of supposedly more civilized European people towards the Jews. Moreover, all recent research emphasizes that the tsarist central government itself did not organize or instigate pogroms, though local authorities sometimes winked at them and more often were slow to stamp on them. Tsarist ministers did not connive in murder and were in any case deeply uneasy at outbreaks of mass violence and very scared that the ‘dark people’s’ uncontrollable propensity for anarchic settling of scores might easily target the ruling classes themselves. On the other hand, it is the case that knowledge of their superiors’ frequent antipathy to the Jews could encourage junior officials to believe that failure to stop pogroms could go unpunished…”[19]

     “The reasons for the pogroms were earnestly investigated and discussed by contemporaries. Already in 1872, after the Odessa pogrom, the governor-general of the South-Western region had warned in a report that such an event could happen again in his region, for ‘here hatred and enmity towards the Jews is rooted in history and only the material dependence of the peasants on them at the present, together with the administration’s measures, holds back an explosion of discontent in the Russian population against the Jewish race’. The governor-general reduced the essence of the matter to economics: ‘I have counted and estimated the commercial-industrial property belonging to the Jews in the South-Western region, and at the same time have pointed to the fact that the Jews, having taken eagerly to the renting of landowners’ lands, have leased them out again to the peasants on very onerous terms’. And this causal nexus ‘was generally recognised in the pogrom years of 1881’.

     “In the spring of 1881 Loris-Melikov had also reported to the Sovereign: ‘At the root of the present disturbances lies the profound hatred of the local population for the Jews who have enslaved them. But this has undoubtedly been used by evil-minded people.’”[20]

     This was true: the “evil-minded” revolutionaries, both Russian and Jewish, used the hatred to their own end. And yet it is little wonder that conservative opinion, while deploring the pogroms, saw the root cause of the Jews’ problems in the Jews themselves, in their economic exploitation of the peasants. When Loris-Melikov was succeeded in 1881 by Count N.P. Ignatiev, the latter, on the instructions of the emperor, sent him a memorandum on the causes of the pogroms, outlining, as Sir Geoffrey Hosking writes, “his fears about domination by ‘alien forces’. In it he linked the whole Westernizing trend with the Jews and the Poles… ‘In Petersburg there exists a powerful Polish-Jewish group in whose hands are directly concentrated: the stock exchange, the advokatura, a good part of the press and other public affairs. In many legal and illegal ways they enjoy immense influence on officialdom and on the course of affairs in general.’ They used this influence to mould public opinion in the interests of their favourite schemes: ‘the broadest possible rights for Poles and Jews, and representative institutions on the western model. Every honest voice from the Russian land is drowned out by Polish-Jewish clamours that one must only listen to the ‘intelligentsia’ and that Russian demands should be rejected as old-fashioned and unenlightened.’”[21]

     Among the most important causes of the pogroms mentioned by Ignatiev, write M. and Yu. Krivoshein, were “the changed economic condition of the peasants after the reform of 1861: having become personally free, but unskilled in financial operations, the peasants gradually fell into dependence on the local Jewish usurers and, in this way, peasant gardens, lands, cattle, etc. began to pass over to the latter. Explosions of popular anger followed.

     “In his turn the very prominent banker Baron G.O. Ginzburg interceded before the emperor for the usurers who had been beaten up by the peasants, imploring him not to allow repressions against his co-religionists. The banker’s reply was Count N.P. Ignatiev’s speech in the name of Alexander III before a deputation of Jewish society: 

     “… ‘Your situation is not comforting, but it depends to a great extent on you to correct it. Living amidst a population that is foreign to you, you have drawn upon yourselves such hatred that for several months I was forced to apply force merely to protect you. Investigations have by no means confirmed your favourite ploy, that they are attacking you as proprietors. Still less can what has happened in the south be ascribed to religious intolerance. The Russian people, like the state, is very tolerant in matters of faith – it takes a lot to draw it out of its tolerance. In the East there live many people of other races amidst the Russian population who are not Christians. However, it is not necessary to employ armies there in order to defend them.

     “’While being profoundly sorrowful over the disorders that have taken place, and doing everything that depends on me to prevent them in the future, I warn you that I will not act in a one-sided manner. On reviewing the causes of the disorders, and having studied their details, it is impossible not to recognize that in many cases they have been elicited by the Jews themselves; lengthy cohabitation with the Jews has rooted the conviction in the local population that there is no law which the Jew would not be able to bypass.

     “’One can rely on the bayonet, but one cannot sit on it. Remember that you are being protected, but that it is impossible to tolerate a situation in which it is constantly necessary to protect the Jews from the consequences of popular anger. Try to search out for yourselves productive occupations, labouring with your own hands, abandon tavern-keeping and usury… I am willing and ready to assist you in everything that can accelerate your transition to agricultural, craft and factory work, but of course you will find in me a very powerful opponent if you, under the guise of crafts and other productive occupations, develop throughout the provinces of Russia the trades that you usually practise now.

     “’I will end the way I began: as long as you keep your kahal organization, your cohesion and your striving to take everything into your hands, while violating the laws of the country, you will in no way be able to count on privileges and a broadening of your rights or places of settlement, which will create fresh complications …’”[22]

     The importance of the kahal organization was especially emphasized by Archbishop Nicanor of Odessa and Kherson: “Religion is the basis of the powerful Jewish spirit. The more or less secret-open religious organization of the kahal is that mighty, many-cylindered machine which moves the millions of Jews to secretly planned ends. Only a blind man could not see how terrible and threatening is this power! It is striving for nothing less than the enslavement of the world!… In the last century it has had horrific successes by relying on European liberalism, on equality before the law, etc. It is mixing up people of other faiths more and more closely, while it rules its own people like a machine. All the Jews are in essence like one man. We reason in a liberal way whether it is useful or harmful to ban bazaars on feast-days. But the secret Jewish power says to its own people: ‘Don’t you dare! Honour the Sabbath! Honour the law of your fathers! The law gives life and power to Jewry!’ And look: not a single Jew dares to go out on Saturday from Nikolaev to Kherson or Odessa. The railway trains are empty, while the steamer services between these great cities stop completely. It is strange and offensive for the Christian people and such a great Kingdom as ours! But what a foreign power! And how bold and decisive it is. This is a religious power coming from the religious organisation of the kahal.”[23] 

     In May, 1882 the government issued new “temporary rules” which “forbade Jews to resettle or acquire property in rural areas, even within the Pale, while outside it the police were instructed to enforce restrictions on Jewish residence which had previously been widely flouted. In the following years Jews were barred from entering the advokatura and the military-medical professions, while a numerus clausus was imposed on their admission to secondary and higher education in general. They were also denied the vote in zemstvo and municipal elections. In 1891, at Passover, there was a mass expulsion of illegal resident Jews from Moscow, which deprived the city of two-thirds of its Jewish population.”[24]

     The Jewish radicals of the previous reign had seen themselves as joining Russian culture, whose famous writers had been their idols. Unfortunately, however, the pogroms served to radicalize Jewish youth still further and in an opposite direction, so that their radicalism was now nationalist rather than internationalist, and anti-Russian rather than pro-Russian. As Solzhenitsyn writes: “The general turning-point in Jewish consciousness in Russia after 1881-82 could not fail, of course, to be reflected to some extent also in the consciousness of the Jewish revolutionaries in Russia. These youths had first left Jewry, but afterwards many returned, ‘the departure from “Jew street” and return to the people’, ‘our historical destiny is bound up with the Jewish ghetto, and from it comes our national essence’. Until the pogroms of 1881-82 ‘it absolutely never entered the head of any of us revolutionaries to think about the necessity’ of publicly explaining the role of the Jews in the revolutionary movement. But the pogroms elicited ‘amongst… the majority of my compatriots an explosion of discontent’. And so ‘not only the intelligent Jews in general, but also some revolutionary Jews, who previously had felt not the slightest bond with their nationality… suddenly recognised themselves as obliged to devote their strength and abilities to their unjustly persecuted compatriots’. ‘The pogroms brought out previously hidden feelings and made the youth more sensitive to the sufferings of their people, and the people more receptive to revolutionary ideas.”[25]

     And yet there is reason to believe that the great wave of Jewish emigration from Russia to the West in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – about two million Jews emigrated to America alone before 1914[26] - was not elicited primarily by the pogroms. A more important factor, probably, was the introduction of a state monopoly on the sale of alcohol in 1896.

     Solzhenitsyn writes: “There is no doubt about it: the introduction of the state wine monopoly turned out to be a very powerful blow at the economy of Russian Jewry. And right up to the World War itself, when it more or less came to an end, the state wine monopoly continued to be a favourite target of public displeasure – although only it introduced strict control over the quality of the spirits sold in the country and their purity. And although the state monopoly also removed the livelihood of Christian publicans.., it was nevertheless made out to be primarily an anti-Jewish measure: ‘The introduction of the state sale of wines in the Pale of Settlement at the end of the 90s deprived more than 100,000 Jews of their livelihood’, ‘the authorities counted on pushing the Jews out of their village localities’, and from that time ‘trade in alcohol did not have its former significance for the Jews’.

     “And it is precisely from the end of the 19th century that the emigration of Jews from Russia intensified. Its statistical link with the introduction of the state sale of wines has not been established, but these 100,000 lost livelihoods point to it. In any case, the Jewish emigration (to America) did not increase substantially until 1886-87, jumped for a short time in 1891-92, and its long and massive rise began in 1897…”[27]

     However, other means of exploiting the Christian peasantry remained. 18% of the Jews before the revolution, about one million people, were occupied in the sale of bread. And sometimes they would hoard the harvest and refuse to sell it so that the prices should fall. “It is not by accident that in the 90s of the nineteenth century agricultural cooperatives (under the leadership of Count Haydn and Bekhteev) arose for the first time in Russia, forestalling Europe, in the southern provinces. [This was envisaged] as a counter-measure to this essentially completely monopolistic hoarding of peasant bread.”[28]

     The Jews were also heavily involved in the lumber, sugar, gold, oil and banking industries. And by 1900 they controlled one-third of all Russian trade. With such a heavy involvement in the country’s economy, it is not surprising to learn that, of those Jews who emigrated between 1899 and 1907, only one per cent were educated.[29] The educated had no reason to leave: there were plenty of opportunities for them in Tsarist Russia. We might also have expected that those who remained would be gradually assimilated. But no: the Jews chose emancipation (education), but not assimilation. They fought for equality of rights, but without the loss of their Jewishness.[30]

     “From the beginning of the century a ‘Bureau for the Defence’ of the Jews in Russia was organized from prominent lawyers and publicists…

     “In these years ‘the Jewish spirit was roused to struggle’, and in many Jews there was ‘a rapid growth in social and national self-consciousness’ – but national self-consciousness no longer in a religious form: with the ‘impoverishment at the local level, the flight of the more prosperous elements… among the youth into the cities… and the tendency to urbanization’, religion was undermined ‘among the broad masses of Jewry’ from the 90s, the authority of the rabbinate fell, and even the yeshbotniks were drawn into secularization. (But in spite of that, in many biographies in the Russian Jewish Encyclopaedia we read about the generation that grew up on the cusp of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: ‘he received a traditional Jewish religious education’.)

     “However, as we have seen, Palestinophilia began to develop in an unexpected form and with a strength that was unexpected for many…”[31]

     “Anti-Jewish manifestations - both abroad and in Russia – were being passionately discussed already in 1884 by Vladimir Soloviev, who was disturbed by them: ‘The Jews have always treated us in a Jewish way; but we Christians, by contrast, have not yet learned to treat Judaism in a Christian way’; ‘with regard to Judaism the Christian world in its majority has so far displayed either zeal not according to reason or a decrepit and powerless indifferentism’. No, ‘Christian Europe does not tolerate the Jews – unbelieving Europe does’.

     “Russian society felt the growing importance of the Jewish question for Russia as much as half a century after the government. Only after the Crimean war did ‘embryonic Russian public opinion begin to become conscious of the presence of the Jewish problem in Russia’. But several decades would have to pass before the primary importance of this question was recognized. ‘Providence implanted the largest and strongest part of Jewry in our fatherland,’ wrote Vladimir Soloviev in 1891.

     “But a year earlier, in 1890, Soloviev, finding incitement and support in a circle of sympathizers, composed the text of a ‘Protest’. [He wrote] that ‘the only reason for the so-called Jewish question’ was ‘forgetfulness of justice and love of man’, ‘a mindless attraction to blind national egoism’. – ‘The incitement of tribal and religious enmity, which is so counter to the spirit of Christianity… radically corrupts society and can lead to moral savagery…’ – ‘It is necessary decisively to condemn the anti-Semitic movement’ – ‘already from the single feeling of national self-preservation’.

     “S.M. Dubnov recounts how Soloviev collected more than a hundred signatures, including those of Lev Tolstoy and Korolenko. But the editors of all the newspapers received a warning: don’t publish this protest. Soloviev ‘addressed Alexander III with an ardent letter’. However, he was warned through the police that if he insisted he would be administratively persecuted. And he abandoned the idea.

     “As in Europe, the many-faceted growth of Jewish strivings could not fail to elicit in Russian society – alarm in some, sharp opposition in others, but sympathy in yet others…

     “And in others – a political calculation. Just as in 1881 the People’s Will revolutionaries had thought of the usefulness of playing on the Jewish question…, so, some time later, the Russian liberal-radical circles, the left wing of society, appropriated for a long time the usefulness of using the Jewish question as a weighty political card in the struggle with the autocracy: they tried in every way to re-iterate the idea that it was impossible to attain equality of rights for the Jews in Russia in any other way than by the complete overthrow of the autocracy. Everyone, from the liberals to the SRs and Bolsheviks, brought in the Jews again and again – some with sincere sympathy, but all as a useful card in the anti-autocratic front. And this card, without a twinge of conscience, was never let out of the hands of the revolutionaries, but was used right up to 1917…”[32]

3. 1903: The Kishinev Pogrom

     Alexander Solzhenitsyn writes: “Jewish pogroms were stirred up at all times and only in the South-West of Russia (as also was the case in 1881).”[33] And on April 6, 1903 – the last day of the Jewish Pascha and the first day of the Orthodox Pascha – a pogrom broke out in Kishinev, capital of the province of Moldavia in South-West Russia. According to the official figures drawn up in the indictment by the procurator of the local court, V.N. Goremykin, it began with “the usual clashes between Jews and Christians which have always taken place in recent years at Pascha” and with “the hostility of the local Christian population towards the Jews”. And then “two weeks before Pascha… rumours began to circulate in Kishinev that there would be a slaughter of Jews in the forthcoming feast”. A particularly inflammatory role was played here by the newspaper Bessarabets, whose editor, Pavolachi Krushevan, also published The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

     The Protocols purported to be the minutes of a meeting of Jewish elders somewhere in the West, but are in fact largely plagiarized from Maurice Joly’s Dialogue aux Enfers entre Montesquieu et Machiavel, published in 1864. When the forgery was demonstrated to Tsar Nicholas II, he said: “Drop the Protocols. One cannot defend a pure cause by dirty methods.”[34]

     Krushevan’s Bessarabets printed “from day to day sharp articles of an anti-Jewish tendency, which did not fail to leave a trace… among the salesmen and petty scribes, etc. of the uneducated people of Bessarabia. The latest provocative articles of Bessarabets contained communications about the murder in Dubossary of a Christian child supposedly carried out by Jews by ritual means…”[35]

     According to the indictment, 42 people were killed, including 38 Jews. About 500 Jewish shop fronts were destroyed. By April 9, 816 people had been arrested, of whom 664 were charged with crimes.

     “The conclusion of the indictment was: the disorders ‘grew to the indicated proportions only thanks to the incompetence of the police, who did not have the required leadership… The preliminary investigation has not unearthed any evidence that would indicate that the above-mentioned disorders were prepared beforehand.’

     “And they were not unearthed by any subsequent investigation.

     “But in spite of this, the Jewish ‘Bureau of Defence’ (with the participation of the very influential M. Vinaver, G. Sliozberg, L. Bramson, M. Kulisher, A. Braudo, S. Pozner and M. Krol), had no sooner heard about the pogrom in Petersburg than they excluded from the beginning any other causes of it than a tsarist plot: ‘Who gave the order for the organization of the pogrom, who directed the dark forces that carried it out?’ – ‘Immediately we learned under what circumstances the Kishinev slaughter took place, it became clear for us that this diabolic undertaking would never have taken place… if it had not been thought up in the Department of Police and carried out in fulfilment of orders from there’. Although, of course, writes the same M. Krol in the 40s of the 20th century, ‘the scoundrels organized the Kishinev pogrom in strict secrecy, we are profoundly convinced that the Kishinev slaughter was organized from above, with the knowledge, and perhaps even on the initiative of Plehve. Only if we had the most indisputable evidence against them could we tear the mask from these highly-placed murderers and place them in a fitting light before the whole world. Therefore we decided to send the well-known lawyer Zarudny to Kishinev.’ ‘He was the most suitable person to carry out the mission that we had laid on him’, he ‘took it upon himself to discover the hidden springs of the Kishinev slaughter’, after which the police ‘to make a diversion arrested some tens of robbers and thieves’. (Let us recall that on the day after the pogrom 816 were arrested.) – Zarudny collected and took away from Kishinev ‘exceptionally important material’, that is to say: ‘that the main culprit and organizer of the pogrom was the chief of the Kishinev garrison Levendal’“.[36]

     This “exceptionally important material” was never published anywhere. Goremykin looked into the accusations against Levendal and found them baseless. But Krushevan, whose inflammatory articles had indeed helped the pogrom on arriving in Petersburg two months later, was attacked and wounded with a knife by Pinkhas Dashevsky… The government sacked the governor of Bessarabia, while Plehve issued a circular to all governors, city bosses and heads of police expressing disturbance at the inactivity of the Kishinev authorities and calling for decisive action to cut of violence.

     Nor was the Orthodox Church silent. The Holy Synod issued a circular ordering the clergy to take measures to root out hatred of the Jews. Fr. John of Kronstadt said: “Instead of a Christian feast they have arranged a disgustingly murderous feast to Satan.” And Bishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky) said: “The terrible punishment of God will attain those evil-doers who shed blood asking for that of the God-man, His Most Pure Mother, the Apostles and Prophets’; ‘that they should know that the Jewish race, which has been rejected up to now, is dear to the Spirit of God, and that every one who would want to offend it will anger the Lord.’”[37]

     The Jews and radicals inside Russia, and the European and American press outside Russia, were loud in their accusations that the Russian government was responsible for the Kishinev pogrom. The newspaper magnate William Hurst even used the fateful word “holocaust”…[38] On May 18 The Times of London published a letter of a “completely secret letter” of Plehve to the Kishinev governor von Raaben in which Plehve supposedly asked the governor not to put down any disturbances against the Jews but only to inform him about them.[39] The letter turned out to be a forgery, as even pro-Semite sources accept.[40] However, this did not prevent the 1996 edition of The Jewish Encyclopaedia from reiterating the accusation as if it were fact...[41]

4. The Jews and the Press

     The Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 is the first instance of a phenomenon that was to be of major importance in 1917: the financing of Russia’s enemies by American Jews. Archpriest Lev Lebedev asserts that “at the end of 1903 the American Jewish banker Jacob Schiff, Morgan and also ‘First National Bank’ and ‘National City Bank’ loaned Japan 30 million dollars so that she should attack Russia[42]… The Japanese information services were actively helped by the Jews. Some of them acted as spies in the Russian army, others tried to demoralize it, which is witnessed by the commander-in-chief of the armies in the Far East, General Kuropatkin. In 1906 the well-known journalist M.O. Menshikov wrote in Novoe Vremia: ‘The [enemy in the] last terrible war… was armed with the most active participation of the Jews. In order to thrust Japan against Russia, it was necessary to arrange for Japan not only external loans, but also the most ardent sympathy [for Japan] in America and England. This sympathy, as has now been established beyond doubt, was artificially stirred up in the American press, which was almost completely in Jewish hands. In the course of a whole series of years an army of Jewish hacks has slandered Russia, poured an unbelievably dirty torrent of abuse on her, and stirred people up to hate and despise everything Russian. As a result public opinion, and not only in America, was confused. The huge reading world was pitifully deceived…’ At the height of the war the Paris newspaper Presse noted: ‘Japan has not been waging war against Russia alone. She has a powerful ally – Jewry.’…”[43]

     After the wiping out of the Russian fleet at Tsushima in May, 1905, Russia sued for peace. In September, at Portsmouth, U.S.A., thanks to the very tough negotiating stance of Tsar Nicholas, skilfully carried out by Witte, favourable terms were won for Russia. She did not have to pay an indemnity, and lost only Port Arthur and the south of Sakhalin. Nevertheless, the loss of prestige was great, and gave renewed encouragement to the revolutionaries.

     During the war, wrote S.S. Oldenburg, “the revolutionary newspaper Liberation, which was published abroad, counted up the forces of the ‘liberation movement’ and gave, with some exaggeration, the following reply to the question: ‘What do we have?’: ‘The whole of the intelligentsia and part of the people; all the zemstva, the whole of the press, a part of the city Dumas, all the corporations (jurists, doctors, etc.)… The socialist parties have promised their support… The whole of Finland is with us… Oppressed Poland and the Jewish population languishing within the Pale of Settlement are for us.’ But the same newspaper did not hide its fears: ‘If the Russian armies defeat the Japanese… then freedom will be quietly strangled under the cries of “Hurrah!” and the tolling of the bells of the triumphant empire.’”[44]

     “Already in the 70s,” writes Solzhenitsyn, “the ‘unbridledness of the Russian press’ had been noted more than once by Dostoyevsky. In relation to the State it displayed itself even at the conference of March 8, 1881 under the just-crowned Alexander III, and more than once after that: the journalists behaved like self-willed representatives of society.

     “The expression: ‘Three hostile newspapers are more dangerous than 100,000 hostile soldiers’ has been ascribed to Napoleon. This phrase became very applicable to the Russo-Japanese war. The Russian press was openly defeatist throughout the war, in each of its battles. And, still more important: it did not hide its sympathy for terrorism and revolution…”[45]

     On August 25, 1904 the Tsar made his first significant concession to the views of the newspaper publishers and their readership by appointing Prince P.S. Sviatopolk-Mirsky, a liberal conservative, as Minister of the Interior in place of the murdered Plehve. As Alexander Bokhanov writes, “the minister gave several interviews to the newspapers, met with representatives of liberal circles and popularized his political programme, whose main points were: religious tolerance, the broadening of local self-government, the provision of great rights to the press, a change in policy in relation to the border regions, an allowance of workers’ meetings for the discussion of economic questions. These declarations produced a sensation.

     “Political activists of a liberal persuasion were very sceptical about them. They were convinced that the time of the autocracy was drawing to an end, and did not want to bind themselves with any obligations to the ‘departing authorities’. One of the most well-known activists among the liberals, Paul Nikolayevich Miliukov, wrote in the summer of 1904 on the pages of the illegal newspaper Liberation: ‘We shall be patriots for ourselves and for a future Russia, we shall remain faithful to the old ‘people’s proverb’ – ‘Down with the autocracy!’ This is also patriotic, and at the same time guarantees us freedom from the danger of being in the bad company of reactionaries.’

     “At the very height of the ‘Sviatopolk spring’, at the end of September and beginning of October, 1904, a leading group of Russian liberals grouped around the newspaper Liberation, which had been published since 1902 under the editorship of P.B. Struve, first in Stuttgart, then in Paris, conducted a congress of opposition parties in Paris. Various liberal and radical unions took part in it. Of the most significant only RSDRP [the Russian Social Democrat Party] was absent. This meeting unanimously approved a resolution on the liquidation of the autocracy and replacing it with ‘a free democratic structure on the basis of universal suffrage’ and on the right of ‘national self-determination of the peoples of Russia’.

     “At the congress was present the flower of the Russian liberal intelligentsia, which later formed the core of the most powerful liberal party in Russia – the constitutional-democratic party (‘the cadets’). These gentlemen, fighters for freedom and ‘European rules’ considered it appropriate to define common actions with the extreme tendencies and groups that had stained themselves with bloody murders, for example, the party of the social revolutionaries (‘S-Rs’), which emerged in 1902 and placed terror at the head of the corner of its ‘strategy and tactics’.

     “Already after the revolution, when all the noble-hearted liberal word-mongers had been scattered by the crude reality of Russian life, some of them came to their senses and confessed their criminal lightmindedness. In the emigration at the beginning of the 1930s the well-known cadet V.A. Maklakov wrote about the notorious Paris congress: ‘On the part of liberalism, this agreement was a union with the revolution that threatened it. The salvation of Russia was possible only through the reconciliation of the historical authority with liberalism, that is, the sincere transformation of the autocracy into a constitutional monarchy. By instead concluding this union with the revolution, the liberalism of Liberation lost this exit; it preferred to serve the triumph of the revolution.’

     “Mirsky’s proclaimed ‘epoch of trust’ very soon began to demonstrate its hopelessness. It turned out that it was easy to make promises, but very difficult to fulfil them. In particular, right in the centre of the discussions and debates was the old and painful question of the creation of a pan-Russian representative organ, it competency and the path to its formation. It immediately came up against the problem of the unassailability of the monarch’s prerogatives. Prince N.D. Sviatopolk-Mirsky was convinced that the autocracy and representation were compatible, but many others in the ruling circles did not share this position. They feared that the creation of any unappointed, elected organ would inevitably generate confusion in the administration and would contribute to the paralysis of power, which the enemies of the throne and the dynasty would unfailingly use. At the end of 1904 there were more and more reasons for such fears.

     “Passions fired up especially during and after the congress of zemstvo activists, which took place in Petersburg from November 7 to 9, 1904. The minister of the interior allowed the congress, but asked the participants to occupy themselves with ‘practical questions of zemstvo life’. However, in the atmosphere of social tension and of the sharp politicization of the whole of public life, the practical realization of such a direction was impossible.

     “The zemstvo deputies discussed some of their specific questions briefly, but the centre of their attention was in the stream of general political problems. It was accepted that the convening of a ‘national representation’ was necessary, that a political amnesty should be introduced, that ‘administrative arbitrariness’ should be stopped, that the ‘decrees on intensified guard’ should be rescinded, that personal inviolability should be guaranteed, and that religious tolerance should be affirmed. Although those assembled left for the authorities the initiative in carrying out transformations and rejected the calls of some participants to support the demand for the convening of a Constituent Assembly, nevertheless the event that took place was unprecedented. For the first time subjects of the tsar, gathered together in the capital of the empire, did not petition the monarch on personal matters, but spoke out with demands of a political character.

     “The most blatant was one very important demand-resolution, ‘point ten’, which declared that only a constitutional order, limiting autocratic power, could satisfy public opinion and give Russia ‘peaceful development of state life’.

     “This thesis elicited sharp objections from the moderate participants in the congress led by the well-known liberal zemstvo activist D.N. Shipov, who categorically declared that he did not share the constitutionalist point of view. In his lengthy speech he defended the old Slavophile thesis: ‘The people has its opinions, the tsar makes the decisions’, and did not allow any written agreements and guarantees between the authorities and the people, considering that their relations were built, not on juridical formal principles, but on unassailable moral principles. This reasoning was not influential, and during the voting the majority cast their votes for a constitution.

     “The decisions of the zemstvo congress aroused considerable interest and became the subject of lively discussion in the press and in private gatherings. At first it was supposed that the deputation of zemstvo activists would be received by the Interior minister and the tsar, which would be seen as a turning of the authorities towards constitutionalism. The conservative traditionalists were angry. Great-Prince Sergius Alexandrovich wrote in his diary on November 10: ‘I heard about the details of the zemstvo congress in St. Petersburg: they voted for a constitution!! A deputation of zemstvo activists has been received by Mirsky, and will be received by the Tsar!! (It was not – A.B.) Unhappy man,” and he added: ‘It sometimes seems to me that I’m going out of my mind.’

     “The authorities were shocked: it could not satisfy such extreme demands, since this de facto meant the self-liquidation of the historical power. But they could not leave things as they were before. At the beginning of December 1904 meetings of high officials of the empire took place in Tsarskoe Selo, at which urgent measures to transform the inner structure were discussed.

     “At the centre of the discussions was a programme put forward by the Interior minister. The special attention of the participants was drawn to the point about elected representatives in the State Council (until then all members had been appointed personally by the monarch). The majority of those assembled expressed themselves against this. The over-procurator of the Most Holy Synod, C.P. Pobedonostsev, entreated the tsar in the name of God not to limit the autocracy, and this position was supported by the minister of finances V.N. Kokovtsov, the president of the Committee of ministers, S.Yu. Witte and most of the others. The tsar wavered at the beginning, but soon unambiguously spoke for keeping the authority inviolable.

     “At the end of the Tsarskoe Selo meetings, a decree of the Senate was issued containing resolutions on the broadening local self-government, on reviewing resolutions on the press and confirming the necessity of establishing religious toleration. The point about elected representatives was missing. But the liberals hoped that the elective principle would be specified there. However, the tsar considered that it was not yet time for sharp changes…”[46]

     The press, which had done so much to stir up this constitutionalist mania, continued unchecked in 1905. Solzhenitsyn writes that it “was seen during the Duma period as, in the words of Witte, mainly ‘Jewish’ or ‘half-Jewish’: more precisely, with a predominance of leftist or radical Jews in the key correspondent and editors’ posts. In November, 1905 D.I. Pikhno, the editor of the Russian national newspaper Kievlianin, who had already been in this post for 25 years and studied the Russian press, wrote: ‘Jewry… has placed huge stakes on the card of the Russian revolution… The serious part of Russian society had understood that at such moments the press is a force, but it did not have this power – it was in the hands of its opponents, who spoke in its name throughout Russia and forced themselves to be read, because there were no other publications, and you can’t create them in one day… and [society] was lost in the multitude of lies in which it could not find its way.’

     “L. Tikhomirov saw nothing national in this, but in 1910 he made the following comments on the character of the Russian press: ‘Tearing on the nerves… One-sidedness… They don’t want decency, gentlemanliness… They have no ideal, and have no understanding of it.’ And the public brought up by this press ‘demands glibness and hooliganism, it cannot value knowledge, and does not notice ignorance’.

     “And, from completely the opposite political extreme, a Bolshevik publicist [M. Lemke], expressed himself as follows on the character of this press: ‘In our post-reformation era ideas have become cheap, while information, sensation and unabashed authoritarian ignorance fill the press.’

     “Speaking, more specifically, about culture, Andrew Bely complained in 1909, although he was by no means a rightist or ‘chauvinist’: ‘The leaders of national culture turn out to be people who are foreign to this culture… Look at the lists of those working on the newspapers and journals of Russia: who are the musical and literary critics of these journals? You will see almost exclusively Jewish names: among these critics there are some talented and acute people, there are some among them who understand the tasks of a national culture, perhaps, more profoundly than the Russians: but they are exceptions. The general mass of Jewish critics are completely foreign to Russian art. They write in an Esperanto jargon and terrorize every attempt to deepen and enrich the Russian language. 

     “In those same years the far-sighted Zionists Vl. Zhabotinsky complained about the ‘leading newspapers sustained on Jewish money and filled with Jewish workers’ and warned: ‘When the Jews hurled themselves en masse to create Russian politics, we foretold them that nothing good would come out of it, neither for Russian politics, nor for Jewish.’

     “The Russian press played a decisive role in the pre-revolutionary Cadet-revolutionary storming of the government: its mood was powerfully picked up and expressed by Duma deputy A.I. Shingarev: ‘Let this power sink! We will not cast this power even a bit of rope!’ It is appropriate to mention here that the First Duma stood up in memory of the victims of the Belostok pogrom (not agreeing… that this was an armed battle between anarchists and soldiers); the Second Duma – in honour of the murdered terrorist Iollos. But when Purishkevich suggested standing in honour of those killed at their posts as policemen and soldiers, he was forbidden to speak and excluded from the session: at that time it seemed unthinkable to the enflamed parliamentarians to sympathize with those who kept simple order in the State, which was necessary for all of them, and for a generally quiet life.

     “A member of the Union of [Jewish] Complete Equality, A. Kulisher, drew the truthful conclusion – but late, looking back at the past in the émigré Jewish Tribune in 1923: ‘In Russian-Jewish society before the revolution there really were people and whole groups whose activity can be characterized precisely as… the absence of a feeling of responsibility for the turmoil in the minds of Russian Jewry… the spreading of an indefinite and light-minded ‘revolutionism’… The whole essence of their politics consisted in being more leftist than anyone else. Always remaining in the role of irresponsible critics, never going to the end, they saw their purpose in saying: ‘Not enough!’… These people were ‘democrats’… But there were also democrats who called themselves ‘The Jewish Democratic Group’ who attached this adjective to every unsuitable noun, composing an intolerable Talmud of democratism… They created around themselves an irresponsible mood of groundless maximalism, with no precise limit to their demands. This mood manifested itself with destructive consequences in the revolution.’ The destructiveness proceeding from this press was indeed one of the weakest, most vulnerable points in the Russian State by 1914 and 1917…”[47]

     Indeed, the stream of slander turned out by the Jewish-controlled press against the Tsar (and especially the Tsarina) was one of the major causes of the revolution… In the role of the press, as in many other ways, we see how early-twentieth century Russia was a type, a microcosm, as it were, of the problems of modern civilization, especially that of “fake news”…

5. The Jews in the 1905 Revolution

     In October, 1905, the Tsar issued a Manifesto that bestowed a wide variety of freedoms on the Russian people, making it in fact a more liberal country in many respects than the Western democracies. [48] However, the Manifesto, far from calming political passions, excited them to the utmost. Anarchy increased as young revolutionaries rampaged in the cities, the press, freed from all restraints and almost exclusively owned by Jews, raged against the government, and the police, overstretched and unsure of their rights under the new constitution, hesitated to apply strong measures. However, in Petersburg there was a new phenomenon: demonstrations in favour of the Tsar, the so-called “Black Hundreds”, or monarchist counter-revolution…

     1905 is famous particularly for its pogroms. But the truth was different from the view generally accepted in the West that the “Black Hundreds” simply slaughtered masses of Jews. The general pattern was as follows. First the revolutionaries, usually led by young Jews, would call on the population to strike and free prisoners from the prisons, and would themselves tear down the symbols of tsarist authority, although “undoubtedly both Russians and Jews took part in the destruction of portraits and monograms”.[49] Then, a day or two later, when it was clear that the authorities were unwilling or unable to restore order, the anti-Jewish pogrom would begin.

     Thus in Kiev the pogrom began on October 18. “A crowd of Jews seized the building of the City Duma, tore down national flags and mocked the portraits of the Tsar. One of the Jews cut the head out of a portrait [of the Tsar], put his own [in the hole] and shouted: ‘Now I’m the Tsar!’ Others declared to the stunned Kievans: ‘Soon your St. Sophia cathedral will become our synagogue!’”[50 

     “‘In its initial stage the pogrom undoubtedly had the character of revenge taken for the offence to national feeling. Subjecting the Jews they met on the street to blows, smashing shops and trampling the goods they took out of them into the dirt, the pogromists would say: “There’s your freedom, there’s your constitution and revolution; there are your tsarist portraits and crown”. And then on the following morning, the 19th, a thousand-strong crowd made its way from the Duma to St. Sophia square carrying the empty frames from the broken portraits of the tsar, the tsarist monogram and smashed mirrors. They went to the university, repaired the damaged portraits and served a moleben, while ‘Metropolitan Flavian exhorted the crowd not to behave badly and to disperse to their homes’. ‘But at the same time that the people constituting the centre of the patriotic demonstration… maintained exemplary order in it, people joining it from the street allowed themselves to commit all kinds of violence in relation to the Jews they met and to people wearing the uniforms of academic institutions [students].’ Then the demonstrators were joined by ‘black workers, homeless inhabitants of the flea market and bare-footed people from the river-bank’, ‘groups of pogromists smashed up Jewish flats and stalls and threw out property and goods onto the street. Then they would be partly destroyed and partly stolen.’… The pogromists passed by the stalls of the Karaite Jews without touching them, and also ‘those Jewish flats where they were shown portraits of the emperor’. [On the 19th the wealthiest Jewish shops in the centre were looted.] Proceeding from the fact that ‘almost two thirds of all the trade in the city was in the hands of the Jews’, [Senator] Turau calculates the losses, including the homes of the rich, ‘at several million roubles’. They set out to destroy not only Jewish houses, but also the flats of well-known liberal social activists…

     “In all during the days of the pogrom, according to the approximate estimate of the police (some of those who suffered were taken away by the crowd), 47 people were killed, including 12 Jews, while 205 were wounded, one third of them Jews.

     “Turau concludes his report with the conclusion that ‘the main cause of the Jewish pogrom in Kiev was the long-existing enmity between the Little Russian and Jewish population, based on the difference in their world-views. The immediate cause was the insult to national feeling by the revolutionary manifestations, in which a prominent role belonged to Jewish youth.’ The simple people saw ‘the Jews alone as being to blame for the insults and imprecations against everything that was holy and dear to it. It could not understand the revolutionary movement after the concessions given it, and explained it by the striving of the Jews to gain “their own Yiddish freedom”.’ ‘The failures of the war, at which Jewish youth always openly expressed its most lively joy, their avoidance of military service, their participation in the revolutionary movement, in a series of violent acts and murders of high-ranking people, and undoubtedly the irritation of the simple people against the Jews – that is why there were incidents in Kiev when many Russians openly gave refuge in their houses to poor Jews hiding from the violence, while sharply refusing to give it to young Jews.’

     “The newspaper Kievlianin also wrote about this. ‘Unfortunate Jews! What were these thousands of families guilty of?… To their own woe and misfortune the Jews have not been able to restrain their madmen… But, you know, there are madmen among us Russians, too, and we have not been able to restrain them. 

     “The revolutionary youth went mad – and it was the elderly and peaceful Jews who had to pay for it…”[51]

     Indeed, the older generation of Jewry did not support the young. “’[Jewish] orthodoxy was in a struggle, not always open, but hidden, against the Jewish intelligentsia. It was clear that orthodoxy, in condemning the liberation movement in Jewry, was striving to win the goodwill of the government.’ But it was already late. By 1905 the autocracy had generally lost control in the country. While traditional Jewry by that year had completely lost a whole, and already not the first, generation, which had departed into Zionism, into secular liberalism, rarely into enlightened conservatism, and – the most significant in its consequences – into the revolutionary movement.”[52]

     “It is not surprising,” continues Solzhenitsyn, “that ‘in many places… an active struggle of prosperous religious elements in Jewry against the revolution was noticed. They helped the police to catch Jewish revolutionaries, and to break up demonstrations, strikes, etc.’ Not that it was nice for them to be on the side of the government. But… they not want to accept the revolutionary law, for they honoured their own. While for many young revolutionaries the religious ‘Union of the Jews’ in Bialystok and other places was ‘Blackhundredist’.”[53 

     It must also be emphasized that the main motivation for this flood of Jews into the revolutionary movement was not the restrictions placed by the government on the civil rights of Jewry (which were in any case being quickly whittled down), but infection with the same liberal and revolutionary ideas as infected so many contemporary Russians. “’The participation of Jews in the general Russian revolutionary movement can only to a very small degree be explained by their inequality…  The Jews only shared the general mood’ of the struggle against the autocracy. Is that to be wondered at? The young members of intelligenty families, both Russian and Jewish, had for years heard at home [such phrases as]: ‘the crimes of the authorities’, ‘a government of murderers’. They then rushed into revolutionary action with all their energy and ardour.”[54]

     In Odessa, the Manifesto was published on the 17th. The next day, “General Kauldbars, the commander of the Odessa military district, in order to ‘give the population the unhindered opportunity to use the freedom given by the Manifesto in all its forms’, ordered all the soldiers not to appear on the streets, ‘so as not to spoil the joyful mood in the population’. However, ‘this mood did not last for long. From all sides individual groups, mainly of Jews and young students, streamed towards the centre of the city’ with red flags of shouts of “Down with the autocracy!” and “Down with the police!” And orators summoned them to the revolution. From a metallic image on the Duma of the words ‘God save the Tsar!’, the first two words were broken off. They rushed into the Duma hall, ‘a huge portrait of his Majesty the Emperor was torn to pieces, while in the Duma the national flag was replaced with the red flag. They removed the hats from a protopriest, deacon and reader who were passing by in a cab to a pannikhida, and then later at the burial they stopped the procession ‘and interrupted the singing of “Holy God” with shouts of “Hurrah!”’. ‘They dragged along a dead cat and a scarecrow without its head and with the inscription “This is the autocracy”, and collected money on the spot “for killing the Tsar” or “for the death of Nicholas”’. ‘The young people, and especially the Jews, with an evident consciousness of their superiority began to point out to the Russians that freedom had not been given voluntarily, but had been snatched away from the government by the Jews… They openly said to the Russians: “Now we will rule you”’, and also: ‘We gave you God, we will also give you a tsar’.”[55] Prophetic words when we remember that it was little more than twelve years to the Jewish Soviet “tsardom”…

     Soon the students were forcing workers to take off their hats in front of the red flag. When the workers refused, they were shot at. But though unarmed, they succeeded in dispersing the crowd. Then, however, another thousand-strong crowd of Jews began to fire at the workers, killing four. Thus “in various places there began fights and armed confrontations between Russians and Jews: Russian workers and people without fixed occupations, the so-called hooligans, began to catch and beat up Jews. They went on to break into and destroy Jewish houses, flats and stalls.”[56]

     The next day the “counter-pogrom” of the Russians against the Jews began in earnest. Crowds of Russians of all classes carrying icons and portraits of the tsar, and singing “Save, O Lord, Thy people” marched into the centre of the town. There the revolutionaries shot at them, a boy carrying an icon was killed, bombs were thrown…

     Open warfare between Jews and Russians now began.

      “On October 31 [21?] a crowd of Jews destroyed state emblems and seized the Duma, proclaiming a ‘Danubian-Black Sea Republic’ headed by the Jew Pergament. It was suggested that the Don and Kuban lands should be ‘cleansed’ of Cossacks and handed over to Jewish settlers. Moreover, Jewish organizations armed from four to five thousand warriors, and not a little blood was shed in conflicts with soldiers. All this was described by the correspondent of the [London] Times, who was a witness of the events, in an article entitled ‘A Regime of Terror’ (Jewish terror was meant). Then in London the chief rabbi of the Spanish communities Gasper came out in print denying everything (‘Not one Jew insulted the Majesty’ of the Tsar) and affirming that that Tsarist troops and police had killed four thousand completely innocent Jews! The Times correspondent from Odessa refuted this fabrication: in general there had not been thousands of Jews killed. During the Odessa disorders only 293 Jews had been buried, of whom many died a natural death.[57] The Englishman also pointed out that the provocation had been arranged by the ‘central Jewish organization in Switzerland which sent its emissaries from Poland to Odessa’. He quoted L.Ya. Rabinovich on how the transfer of arms had taken place. But such witnesses from objective foreign observers were extremely rare! On the other hand, the whole of the world’s press was filled with descriptions of the horrors of the Jewish pogroms, which rolled in an especially powerful wave from October 18 to 21 in the cities of Orel, Kursk, Simferopol, Rostov-on-Don, Ryazan, Velikie Luki, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Kaluga, Kazan, Novgorod, Smolensk, Tula, Ufa, Tomsk, Warsaw, many others and in all the cities of the ‘Pale of Settlement’. Of course, nothing was said about how these pogroms had been provoked by the Jews themselves (especially often by firing at Russians from the windows of well-known Jewish houses). In our days it has become clearer that at that time social-democratic organizations led by Jews deliberately spread leaflets among the people calling on them to [start] Jewish pogroms.[58]

     The wrath of the people was directed not only against the Jews but against leftists generally. Thus in Tver a crowd set fire to the theatre in which the leftists were sitting – 200 perished. Another crowd threatened to do the same thing in Balashov, but thanks to the courageous actions of the governor, Peter Arkadyevich Stolypin, there were no victims.

     And yet, considering the scale of the disturbances, there were far fewer victims than might have been expected – 1000 dead and several thousand wounded, according to one Jewish source. Again, the Jew G. Sliozberg, a contemporary witness who was in possession of all the information, wrote: “Fortunately, all these hundreds of pogroms did not bring in their wake significant violence against the persons of Jews, and in the vast majority of places the pogroms were not accompanied by murders.”[59] For in 1905 faith and morality still held the great majority of the Orthodox people back from taking revenge against their persecutors.

     On October 27 the Tsar wrote to his mother “that the pogromshchiki represented ‘a whole mass of loyal people’, reacting angrily to ‘the impertinence of the Socialists and revolutionaries… and, because nine-tenths of the trouble-makers are Jews, the People’s whole anger turned against them.’ This analysis was accepted by many foreign observers, notably British diplomats like the ambassador at St. Petersburg, Sir Charles Hardinge, his councillor, Cecil Spring Rice, and the Consul-General in Moscow, Alexander Murray.”[60] This analysis was also supported by Senator Kuzminsky, who concluded that “the October disturbances and disorders [in Odessa] were caused by factors of an undeniably revolutionary character and were crowned by a pogrom of Jews exclusively as a result of the fact that it was the representatives of this nationality who took the dominant part in the revolutionary movement”.[61]

     Alexander Solzhenitsyn has shown by extensive quotations from Jewish sources that the Jews were well aware of the true state of affairs. Even the more honest Jews had to admit that 1905 was in essence “a Jewish revolution”. “Thus in November, 1905 a certain Jacob de Haas in an article entitled ‘The Jewish Revolution’ in the London Zionist journal Maccabee wrote directly: ‘The revolution in Russia is a Jewish revolution, for it is the turning point in Jewish history. This situation stems from the fact that Russia is the fatherland of about half of the overall number of Jews inhabiting the world…’[62]

     The restoration of order in Russia was accomplished largely through the efforts of one of the great servants of the tsarist regime, the Interior Minister and later Prime Minister Peter Arkadyevich Stolypin. In the Duma his military field tribunals, which decreed capital punishment for the leading revolutionaries, were fiercely criticized. But he replied to one such critic: “Learn to distinguish the blood on the hands of a doctor from the blood on the hands of an executioner…”

6. The Black Hundreds and the Beilis Trial

      And so the 1905 revolution was crushed. But the revolutionary spirit remained alive, and the country remained divided. The Empire had struck back; but the bell was tolling for the Empire…

     The disturbances, particularly in the countryside, continued well into 1906, and only gradually died down thereafter. Thus in January the Tsar was forced to emphasize to a peasant delegation from Kursk province that the private property of the landlords, no less than that of the peasants themselves, was inviolable.[63] And even after the revolution had been defeated, as Douglas Smith writes, “between January 1908 and May 1910, 19,957 terrorist attacks and revolutionary robberies were recorded; 732 government officials and 3,052 private citizens were killed, and nearly another 4,000 wounded.”[64] The revolutionary parties disappeared temporarily into the underground. But the liberals formed a new political party, the Constitutional Democrats, or Cadets, and in the elections to the first Duma in March, they triumphed convincingly over their more rightist opponents.

     The Duma simply continued the revolution by other means. After the Tsar had opened its first session on April 27, the deputies began fiercely attacking him and his ministers, and voted to give an amnesty to all political prisoners, “punishing them by forgiveness” in the words of F.I. Rodichev.[65] The deputies also made political demands: the formation of a ministry responsible to themselves and not to the Tsar and the abrogation of the State Senate. They voted for the forcible appropriation of the estates of the landowners – a measure that only incited the peasants to further violence. But at the same time they voted to reduce credit for the starving from 50 million rubles to 15 million![66]

     In June, the First Battalion of the elite Preobrazhensky guards mutinied. General Alexander Kireev noted in his diary: “This is it…”[67] For if even the army rebelled, and the regime’s other pillar, the peasantry was also revolting (on the land issue), then the regime itself, it would seem, was doomed…

     However, the Tsar now acted with admirable decisiveness. On July 8 he dissolved the Duma on the grounds of its open call to disobey the authorities. The deputies were caught by surprise, and many of them travelled to Vyborg in Finland, where they issued an openly revolutionary declaration, calling on the people not to pay taxes, to refuse military service and not to recognize loans concluded with the government during the conflict. However, the governor of Vyborg asked them to cut short their session, fearing that it would lead to restrictions on Finland’s autonomy. The deputies returned to Petersburg having achieved nothing; nobody paid any attention to them… So great was the change in mood that a conference of the Cadets in Helsingfors at the end of September even decided to abandon the Vyborg manifesto. The students returned to their studies. The revolutionaries ceased to be lionized…

     Although the revolution had been crushed, monarchist thinkers felt that the concessions that the Tsar had given in his October Manifesto should be rescinded. True, in his new version of the Basic Laws published on April 23, 1906, just before the opening of the First Duma, the Tsar appeared to claw back some power: “4. The All-Russian Emperor possesses the supreme autocratic power. Not only fear and conscience, but God himself, commands obedience to his authority... 8. The sovereign emperor possesses the initiative in all legislative matters. The Fundamental Laws may be subject to revision in the State Council and State Duma only on His initiative. The sovereign emperor ratifies the laws. No law can come into force without his approval. . . 9. The Sovereign Emperor approves laws; and without his approval no legislative measure can become law.” However, there were other parts of the law that suggested that the Duma still had considerable power: “7. The sovereign emperor exercises power in conjunction with the State Council and the State Duma...   86. No new law can come into force without the approval of the State Council and State Duma and the ratification of the sovereign emperor.”[68]

     In any case, even if it was conceded that the Tsar had surrendered some of his autocratic powers to the Duma, he was clearly not going to take them back again. So what was to be done? The answer, in the minds of many monarchists, was the creation of a grass-roots monarchist party - “The Union of the Russian People”, or “the Black Hundreds”, as it was called by its opponents, who reviled it as being the mainstay, not only of monarchism, but also of “anti-semitism” in the Russian people. However, the Union was not so much anti-semitic as anti-Judaist and anti-revolutionary.

     Serhii Plokhy writes: “The first rally the Union organized in Moscow attracted close to 20,000 people. In December 1905, Nicholas received a delegation of leaders of the Union and gave his blessing to its activities. Backed by the authorities, the Union played a key role in mobilizing support for the monarchy under the banner of modern nationalism. According to the Union’s statute, ‘the good of the motherland lies in the firm preservation of Orthodoxy, unlimited Russian autocracy, and the national way of life.’ Count Sergei Uvarov’s formula of the 1830s – autocracy, Orthodoxy and nationality – had been revived, now inspiriting not only imperial bureaucrats but also rank-and-file subjects.

     “The Russia represented by the Union was not limited to Great Russians. ‘The Union makes no distinction between Great Russians, White Russians, and Little Russians,’ read the statute. In fact, the western provinces, and Ukraine in particular, became the Union’s main base of operations. Its largest branch, located in the Ukrainian province of Volhynia, was centered on the Pochaiv Monastery. According to a report of 1907, the Union counted more than 1,000  chapters in Volhynia, with a membership of more than 100,000.If one trusts the report, compiled by the governor of Volhynia, that province alone accounted for one-quarter of the Union’s membership throughout the empire. Not far behind were other Right-Bank Ukrainian provinces, especially the Kyiv gubernia.

     “What accounted for the truly impressive number of Union members in the western provinces was that, as in Volhynia, individual chapters were organized and led by priests, who enlisted their parishioners into the Union…”[69]

     During the successful counter-revolution of 1906-07, the Union had about 11,000 local sections throughout Russia, and their members comprised several hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life. [70]

     The bishops were also enthusiastic. The most prominent exception was the liberal Metropolitan Anthony (Vadkovsky) of St. Petersburg, who was rumoured to be an enemy of St. John of Kronstadt and a Freemason.[71] But Metropolitan Vladimir of Moscow[72], Archbishop Tikhon (Bellavin) of Yaroslavl, Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Volhynia, Bishop Hermogen of Saratov, St. John of Kronstadt, Elder Theodosius of Minvody and many others joined it without doubting.

     St. John of Kronstadt, the famous wonderworker, became member no. 200787, and blessed its standards, saying: “As a body without a soul is dead, so Russia without her all-enlightening Autocratic Power is dead”. In his telegram to the Congress of monarchist-black hundredists, he wrote: “I follow with rapture the speeches and actions of the Congress and with all my heart thank the Lord Who has had mercy on Russia and assembled around the cradle of Russian Christianity His faithful children for the unanimous defence of Faith, Tsar and Fatherland.” Again, St. John said: “O Russia, hold firmly onto your faith and Church and Orthodox Tsar, if you want to be unshaken by the people of unbelief and anarchy and do not want to be deprived of the kingdom and the Orthodox Tsar. But if you do fall away from your faith, as many intelligenty have already fallen away, then you will no longer be Russia or Holy Rus’, but a mix of all kinds of heterodox striving to exterminate each other. And if there will be no repentance in the Russian people, the end of the world is near. God will take away from them their pious Tsar and will send them a whip in the persons of impious, cruel, self-appointed rulers who will drown the whole earth in blood and tears.”

     A great priestly organizer of the Union was the missionary, future hieromartyr and great friend of St. John of Kronstadt, Fr. John Vostorgov. On Great Friday, March 31, 1906 he said the following in the cathedral of Christ the Saviour: "Our homeland has entered upon a new path of life, before and ahead of us is - a new Russia.

     "Forgive us, forgive us, old, thousand-year-old Russia! Before our eyes they have judged you, condemned you and sentenced you to death... Threatening and merciless judges have spat in your face and have found nothing good in you. The judgement was strict, implacable and merciless. Everything has merged into the cry: 'Take her, crucify her!'

     "We also know that nothing human was alien to you; we know that you had many faults. But we also know and see that you made Russia holy, and her people - a God-bearing people, if not in actuality, at any rate in the eternal, undying ideal of the people's soul; you gave birth to and raised a mighty people, preserving it in its bitter fate, in the crucible of its historical trials through a whole series of centuries; you gave birth to and raised an array of saints and righteous ones; you did not perish under the blows, the heavy blows of destiny, but became stronger under them, strong in faith; with this faith, this great power of spirit, you endured all the burdens, and yet you created, and entrusted to us and left behind, a great kingdom. For all this we bow down to the earth in gratitude...”

     “The monarchist Unions,” wrote Fr. John, “… foresaw the terrible dangers that threatened the Russian religious and popular-state structure and way of life. Others arose in their hundreds after the danger had already appeared, so as to protect the religious and state ideals of Russia and defend the integrity and indivisibility of Russia. Their essence consists in the fact that they are a storehouse of the religiosity and patriotism of the Russian people. At a fateful moment of history, when the ship of the Russian State was listing so far to the left that disaster seemed inevitable, the monarchist patriotic Unions leaned with all their strength to the right side of the ship and saved it from capsizing. The distinguished activists of the right-wing Unions came out onto the field of public work at a time when they could expect nothing except bullets and bombs, killings from round the corner, persecutions from the newspapers, mockery and disdain from the disoriented intelligentsia and even the government itself – that of Witte of sorrowful memory and his comrades and helpers…”[73]

     As regards the Jews, in the same year of 1906 Fr. John Vostorgov said that they were “restricted in their rights of residence not as a confessional unit, but as a predatory tribe that is dangerous in the midst of the peaceful population because of its exploitative inclinations, which… have found a religious sanction and support in the Talmud… Can such a confession be tolerated in the State, when it allows its followers to practise hatred and all kinds of deceit and harm towards other confessions, and especially Christians? … The establishment of the Pale of Settlement is the softest of all possible measures in relation to such a confession. Moreover, is it possible in this case not to take account of the mood of the masses? But this mood cannot be changed only by issuing a law on the complete equality of rights of the Jews. On the contrary, this can only strengthen the embitterment of the people…”[74]

     However, Fr. John’s Union was plagued by schisms and poor leadership that gave it a bad name. Thus the “Union of the Archangel Michael”, led by the deputy V.M. Purishkevich, separated from the “Union of the Russian People” led by A. Dubronin. Dubronin’s views were contradictory: pro-tsarist, but anti-hierarchical. And he wanted to rid the empire of “the Germans”, that is, that highly efficient top layer of the administration which proved itself as loyal to the empire as any other section of the population. When interviewed years later by the Cheka, Dubronin declared: “By conviction I am a communist monarchist, that is, [I want] there to be monarchist government under which those forms of government [will flourish] which could bring the people an increase in prosperity. For me all kinds of cooperatives, associations, etc. are sacred.” Fr. John Vostorgov considered Dubronin an enemy of the truth, and stressed that true patriotism can only be founded on true faith and morality: “Where the faith has fallen, and where morality has fallen, there can be no place for patriotism, there is nothing for it to hold on to, for everything that is the most precious in the homeland then ceases to be precious.”[75]

     Another major problem was that the monarchist parties turned out to be “more royal than the king”. In the provinces they often criticized the governors for being liberal, while in the Duma they remained in opposition to the government of Stolypin – who, of course, had the confidence of the Tsar.[76] Moreover, the monarchists were forced to conduct party politics in favour of the idea that the state should not be the product of party politics, being incarnate in the tsar who was above all party and class interests…

     In spite of this, the monarchist parties played an essential role in shoring up support for the Tsar and Tsarism at a critical time. And that is why the best churchmen of the time supported them, entering into open battle with the leftists. For there could be no real unity between those who ascribed ultimate power in the secular sphere to the Tsar and those who ascribed it to the Duma.

     In September, 1911, Prime Minister Stolypin was killed by the revolutionary Bogrov in Kiev opera house. Robert Massie writes: “Because Bogrov was a Jew, the Orthodox population was noisily preparing a retaliatory pogrom. Frantic with fear, the city’s Jewish population spent the night packing their belongings. The first light of the following day found the square before the railway station jammed with carts and people trying to squeeze themselves on to departing trains. Even as they waited, the terrified people heard the clatter of hoofs. An endless stream of Cossacks, their long lances dark against the dawn sky, rode past. On his own, Kokovtsev had ordered three full regiments of Cossacks into the city to prevent violence. Asked on what authority he had issued the command, Kokovtsev replied: ‘As head of the government.’ Later, a local official came up to the Finance Minister to complain, ‘Well, Your Excellency, by calling in the troops you have missed a fine chance to answer Bogrov’s shot with a nice Jewish pogrom.’ Kokovtsov was indignant, but, he added, ‘his sally suggested to me that the measures which I had taken at Kiev were not sufficient… therefore I sent an open telegram to all governors of the region demanding that they use every possible means – force if necessary – to prevent possible pogroms. When I submitted this telegram to the Tsar, he expressed his approval of it and of the measure I had taken in Kiev.’”[77] 

     In the same year 1911, a Christian boy, Andrew Yushchinsky, was killed in Kiev. In connection with this, the trial took place, in 1913, of a Jew named Beilis, which became an international cause célèbre. The verdict of the court was that the boy had been ritually murdered. However, Beilis himself was acquitted (because witnesses and jurors were suborned, according to many).[78]

     Now stories of ritual murder of Christian children by Jews have surfaced in many countries in many ages, leading to many formal trials and convictions. These are completely dismissed by western authors, who speak about the “blood libel” against the Jews. However, in 2007 the Israelite Professor Ariel Toaff, the son of the Chief Rabbi of Rome, published Confirming Judaic Ritual Murder, in which he confirms the practice in medieval Italy.[79] Moreover,the Orthodox Church has canonized at least one victim of such a murder, Child-Martyr Gabriel of Zverki, Belorussia, to whom Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky) wrote a service in 1908.[80]

     Archbishop Anthony’s attitude to the pogroms, to Jewish blood rituals in general, and the Beilis trial in particular, was expressed in an interview he gave to A. Chizhevsky. After reminding his readers of how, at the request of Rabbi Skomorovsky, he had twice, in 1903 and 1905, spoken up against the antisemite pogroms in Zhitomir, he went on: “But in both of the above-mentioned cases of my conversation with the rabbi, I decisively refused to say that I did not recognize the existence of ritual murders carried out by Jews, but on the contrary I expressed to my interlocutor my conviction that these murders exist, perhaps as belonging to one or another sect of the Jewish religion, perhaps as a secret of the highest spiritual government of the Jews, but there undoubtedly have been cases of ritual murders both in recent times and in antiquity.

     “When my Jewish academic acquaintances pointed to the fact that Jewish law forbids the drinking of the blood even of animals, so that the thought of their mixing Christian blood with the paschal matsa was absurd, I replied that what seemed more probable to me was the link between the ritual killings and, not the Jewish feast of Pascha, but the feast that precedes it of ‘Purim’, in which the story of Esther, Haman and Mordecai is remembered, when the Persian king, having executed the enemy of the Jews, Haman, allowed them, who had not long before been condemned to general killing, to kill their enemies themselves. Purim in 1911 [the year of the ritual killing of Andrew Yuschinsky] took place on March 14 and 15, while the Jewish Pascha was from March 15-18…

     “Already in deep antiquity the Jews were causing various disorders against various symbols hostile to them during this feast. Thus in 408 and 412 the Byzantine emperor issued two special decrees forbidding the Jews from celebrating Purim and mocking Christian crosses instead of Haman. I think that Christian children were also killed on this feast…[81]

     The Beilis trial polarized Russian society and, through the Jewish press, had international ramifications. Liberal opinion throughout the world pilloried Russia, which was now the country, supposedly, not only of the cruellest tyranny and retrograde religion, but also of systematic persecution and slander of the Jews. Unfortunately, these criticisms, though unjust, helped to create the very phenomenon they decried. Racial anti-semitism, as opposed to religious anti-Judaism and anti-Talmudism, had been rare in Russia – rarer than in most western countries. But in the decade that followed the Beilis trial, under the stress of war and revolution and the undoubted fact that the revolution was led mainly by Jews, real anti-semitism took root in Russia during the Civil War, with massacres far exceeding anything seen in the times of the tsars…

7. The War and the Revolution

     By 1914 there were about seven million Jews in the Russian empire – the largest non-Slavic ethnic minority. Most of them lived in the Pale of Settlement, a very large area in the west of Russia approximately the size of France and Germany combined. Russian law, very loosely observed, confined them to this area, but on religious, not racial grounds - the sacred book of the Jews, the Talmud, is so hostile to Christ and Christians that those who follow it were deemed to be a threat to the lives and livelihoods of Christians. That these restrictions were indeed religious and not racial is proved by the fact that the Karaite Jews, who did not accept the Talmud, the Mountain Jews of the Caucasus, who were strongly tainted with paganism, and Jews who became Christians of any denomination, were given equal rights with the rest of the population.[82]   

     Moreover, permission to live outside the Pale was given to various categories of Jews: Siberian colonists, domestic servants, artisans, university graduates (one-fifth of the students of Kharkov university were Jews), businessmen, industrialists, bankers and others. This meant that in spite of the discriminatory laws there were considerable colonies of Jews throughout the empire and even in the capital, which enabled them to play a prominent role in the cultural and commercial life of pre-revolutionary Russia. In all, Jews made up about a third of Russia’s total trading community.

     In spite of the considerable opportunities thus presented to Jews in the Russian Empire, the traditionalist, rabbi-dominated Talmudic Jews of the Pale continued to think of Christians and Christian society as unclean and despicable. “The eminent Jewish-Russian lawyer, Genrikh Sliozberg," write Kyril Fitzlyon and Tatiana Browning, "never forgot the 'real grief' of his family and relations when they discovered that his father had sent him to a Russian grammar school. His school uniform they found particularly irritating, sinful even. It was, they thought, 'an apostate's garb', and his mother and grandmother cried bitterly every time they saw him in it.' Again, 'the Russian-Jewish revolutionary, Lev Deutsch, writing in 1923, clearly remembered the time when the Jews 'considered it sinful to learn Russian, and its use was allowed only if absolutely essential and, of course, only for speaking to Christians (the goyim).'"[83]

     It was in this fanatical atmosphere that both Communist and Zionist propaganda made inroads into Jewish youth. Such sentiments were bound to lead to a reaction on the part of the surrounding population. Moreover, Jewish money-lenders exploited Russian peasants who wished to buy their freedom after Alexander II’s emancipation of the serfs in 1861. The government tried to help with generous, low-interest loans, and on several occasions cancelled the debts outright; but the remaining need was filled by less generous Jews, who stepped in with much tougher, high-interest loans. In spite of these facts, a vast campaign was soon being whipped up against “the sick man of Europe”, the so-called “prison of the peoples”. Jewish and Socialist propaganda distorted the significance of these events, obscuring their causes, hiding the extremely provocative behaviour of Jewish gangs, and quite unjustly accusing the Church and the State, and in particular the Tsar, of complicity in these crimes.

     The extraordinary prominence of Jews in the revolution is a fact that must be related, at least in part, to the traditionally anti-Russian and anti-Christian attitude of Jewish culture, which is reflected in both of its major political offspring – Bolshevism and Zionism. The theist Jews who triumphed in Israel in 1917, and especially in 1948 after the foundation of the State of Israel, came from the same region and social background – the Pale of Settlement in Western Russia – as the Jews who triumphed in Moscow in 1917, and sometimes even from the same families. For, as Chaim Weitzmann, the first president of Israel, showed in his Autobiography, the atheist Bolshevik Jews and the theist Zionist Jews came from the same milieu, often the very same families. Thus Weitzmann’s own mother was able to witness her sons’ triumph both in Bolshevik Moscow and Zionist Jerusalem…[84]

     The simultaneous triumph of the Jews in Russia and Palestine was indeed an extraordinary “coincidence”: Divine Providence drew the attention of all those with eyes to see this sign of the times when, in one column of newsprint in the London Times for November 9, 1917, there appeared two articles, the one announcing the outbreak of revolution in Petrograd, and the other – the promise of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine (the Balfour declaration). M. Heifetz also points to the coincidence in time between the October revolution and the Balfour declaration. “A part of the Jewish generation goes along the path of Herzl and Zhabotinsky. The other part, unable to withstand the temptation, fills up the band of Lenin and Trotsky and Stalin.” “The path of Herzl and Bagritsky allowed the Jews to stand tall and immediately become not simply an equal nation with Russia, but a privileged one.”[85] Indeed, the Russian revolution may be regarded as one branch of that general triumph of Jewish power which we observe in the twentieth century in both East and West, in both Russia and America and Israel. The mainly Jewish nature of the world revolution cannot be doubted.

     Thus Winston Churchill wrote: “It would almost seem as if the Gospel of Christ and the gospel of anti-Christ were designed to originate among the same people; and that this mystic and mysterious race had been chosen for the supreme manifestations, both of the Divine and the diabolical… From the days of ‘Spartacus’ Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany) and Emma Goldman (United States), this worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. It played, as a modern writer, Mrs. Nesta Webster, has so ably shown, a definitely recognizable part in the tragedy of the French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the nineteenth century; and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire. There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews. It is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others.”[86]

     Liberals ascribed the revolutionary character of the Jews to antisemitism, and, in the Russian case, to pogroms and the multitude of restrictions placed on the Jews by the Russian tsars.  However, as we have seen, far fewer Jews died in the pogroms than Russian officials in terrorist attacks (1845 by the year 1909), while the restrictions were placed on the Jews in order to protect the Russian peasant, who was ruthlessly exploited by them.

     “Let us remember,” writes Solzhenitsyn: “the legal restrictions on the Jews in Russia were never racial [as they were in Western Europe]. They were applied neither to the Karaites [who rejected the Talmud], nor to the mountain Jews, nor to the Central Asian Jews.”[87] In other words, restrictions were placed only on those Jews who practised the religion of the Talmud, because of its vicious anti-Christianity and double morality. Moreover, the restrictions were very generously applied. The boundaries of the Pale (a huge area twice the size of France) were extremely porous, allowing large numbers of Jews to acquire higher education and make their fortunes in Great Russia.

     Indeed, so great was the Jewish domination of Russian trade and, most ominously, the Russian press by the time of the revolution that Stolypin wanted to remove the restrictions on the Jews. But in this case the Tsar resisted him, as his father had resisted Count Witte before him.[88] This was not because the Tsar felt no responsibility to protect the Jews - he spoke about “my Jews”, as he talked about “my Poles”, “my Armenians” and “my Finns” – but because he also had to protect “my Russians”.. 

     In the end, the Pale of Settlement was destroyed, not by liberal politicians, but by right-wing generals. In 1915, as the Russian armies retreated before the Germans, some Jews were accused of spying for the enemy and were shot, while the Jewish population in general was considered unreliable. And so a mass evacuation of the Jews from the Pale was ordered by the authorities. But the results were disastrous. Hordes of frightened Jews fleeing eastwards blocked up vital roads along which supplies for the front were destined. Landing up in large cities such as Moscow and Petrograd where there had been no large Jewish population before, these disgruntled new arrivals only fuelled the revolutionary fires. And so was created precisely the situation that the Pale of Settlement had been designed to avert. As the Jews poured from the western regions into the major cities of European Russia, they soon acquired prominent executive positions in all major sectors of government and the economy… 

     As Solzhenitsyn wrote, February 1917 brought only harm and destruction to the Russian population. However, it was different for the Jews: “Jewish society in Russia received in full from the February revolution everything that it had fought for, and the October coup was really not needed by it, except that cutthroat part of the Jewish secular youth that with its Russian brother-internationalists had stacked up a charge of hatred for the Russian state structure and was rearing to ‘deepen’ the revolution.” It was they who through their control of the Executive Committee of the Soviet – over half of its members were Jewish socialists – assumed the real power after February, and propelled it on – contrary to the interests, not only of the Russian, but also of the majority Jewish population, - to the October revolution.[89]

     Nevertheless, at the time of the October revolution only a minority of the Jews were Bolsheviks (in the early 1900s they constituted 19% of the party). “At the elections to the Constituent Assembly ‘more than 80% of the Jewish population of Russia voted’ for Zionist parties. Lenin wrote that 550,000 were for Jewish nationalists. ‘The majority of the Jewish parties formed a single national list, in accordance with which seven deputies were elected – six Zionists’ and Gruzenberg. ‘The success of the Zionists’ was also aided by the [published not long before the elections] Declaration of the English Foreign Minister Balfour [on the creation of a ‘national centre’ of the Jews in Palestine], ‘which was met by the majority of the Russian Jewish population with enthusiasm [in Moscow, Petrograd, Odessa, Kiev and many other cities there were festive manifestations, meetings and religious services]’.”[90]

     The unprecedented catastrophe of the Russian revolution required an explanation… For very many this lay in the coming to power of the Jews, and their hatred for the Russian people. However, Archbishop Andrew of Ufa, the future hieromartyr, wrote: “In defence of the Russian people, they try to say that the people have been confused by the Jews, or deceived by their own leaders... A bad excuse! It's a fine people and a fine Christian religious disposition that can be confused by any rogue that comes along!...”

     Nevertheless, that the revolution brought power to the Jews, who had been plotting against the Russian state for decades, if not centuries, is undeniable. According to Donald Rayfield, in 1922, the Jews “reached their maximum representation in the party (not that they formed a coherent group) when, at 15 per cent, they were second only to ethnic Russians with 65 per cent.”[91]

     But it was in the higher reaches of the Party and Government apparatus that the preponderance of the Jews was so striking. Douglas Reed writes: “The Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party, which wielded the supreme power, contained 3 Russians (including Lenin) and 9 Jews. The next body in importance, the Central Committee of the Executive Commission (or secret police) comprised 42 Jews and 19 Russians, Letts, Georgians and others. The Council of People’s Commissars consisted of 17 Jews and five others. The Moscow Che-ka (secret police) was formed of 23 Jews and 13 others. Among the names of 556 high officials of the Bolshevik state officially published in 1918-1919 were 458 Jews and 108 others. Among the central committees of small, supposedly ‘Socialist’ or other non-Communist parties… were 55 Jews and 6 others.”[92]

     Richard Pipes admits: “Jews undeniably played in the Bolshevik Party and the early Soviet apparatus a role disproportionate to their share of the population. The number of Jews active in Communism in Russia and abroad was striking: in Hungary, for example, they furnished 95 percent of the leading figures in Bela Kun’s dictatorship. They also were disproportionately represented among Communists in Germany and Austria during the revolutionary upheavals there in 1918-23, and in the apparatus of the Communist International.”[93]

     The London Times correspondent in Russia, Robert Wilton, reported: ”Taken according to numbers of population, the Jews represented one in ten; among the commissars that rule Bolshevik Russia they are nine in ten; if anything the proportion of Jews is still greater.”[94]

     On June 9, 1919 Captain Montgomery Shuyler of the American Expeditionary Forces telegrammed from Vladivostok on the makeup of the presiding Soviet government: “… (T)here were 384 ‘commissars’ including 2 negroes, 13 Russians, 15 Chinamen, 22 Armenians, and more than 300 Jews. Of the latter number, 264 had come to Russia from the United States since the downfall of the Imperial Government.”[95]

     The Jews were especially dominant in the most feared and blood-thirsty part of the Bolshevik State apparatus, the Cheka, which, writes Brendon, “consisted of 250,000 officers (including 100,000 border guards), a remarkable adjunct to a State which was supposed to be withering away. In the first 6 years of Bolshevik rule it had executed at least 200,000. Moreover, the Cheka was empowered to act as ‘policeman, gaoler, investigator, prosecutor, judge and executioner’. It also employed barbaric forms of torture.”[96]

     So complete was the Jewish domination of Russia as a result of the revolution that it is a misnomer to speak about the “Russian” revolution; it should more accurately be called the Russian-Jewish revolution.

      That the Russian revolution was actually a Jewish revolution, but at the same time part of an international revolution of Jewry against the Christian and Muslim worlds, is indicated by an article by Jacob de Haas entitled “The Jewish Revolution” and published in the London Zionist journal Maccabee in November, 1905: “The Revolution in Russia is a Jewish revolution, for it is a turning point in Jewish history. This situation flows from the fact that Russia is the fatherland of approximately half of the general number of Jews inhabiting the world… The overthrow of the despotic government must exert a huge influence on the destinies of millions of Jews (both in Russia and abroad). Besides, the revolution in Russia is a Jewish revolution also because the Jews are the most active revolutionaries in the tsarist Empire.”

     But what was it in their upbringing and history that led them to adopt the atheist revolutionary teachings of Russia’s “superfluous young men” more ardently than the Russians themselves? Hatred of Christ was, of course, deeply imbedded in the Talmud. But the angry young men that began killing thousands of the Tsar’s servants even before the revolution of 1905 had rejected the Talmud as well as the Gospel, and even all religion in general.

     Donald Rayfield writes: “The motivation of those Jews who worked for the Cheka was not Zionist or ethnic. The war between the Cheka and the Russian bourgeoisie was not even purely a war of classes or political factions. It can be seen as being between Jewish internationalism and the remnants of a Russian national culture…

     “…What was Jewish except lineage about Bolsheviks like Zinoviev, Trotsky, Kamenev or Sverdlov? Some were second- or even third-generation renegades; few even spoke Yiddish, let alone knew Hebrew. They were by upbringing Russians accustomed to a European way of life and values, Jewish only in the superficial sense that, say, Karl Marx was. Jews in anti-Semitic Tsarist Russia had few ways out of the ghetto except emigration, education or revolution, and the latter two courses meant denying their Judaism by joining often anti-Jewish institutions and groups.”[97]

     This can be seen in the deathbed confession of the Tsar’s murderer, Yurovsky: “Our family suffered less from the constant hunger than from my father’s religious fanaticism… On holidays and regular days the children were forced to pray, and it is not surprising that my first active protest was against religious and nationalistic traditions. I came to hate God and prayer as I hated poverty and the bosses.”[98]

     At the same time, the Bolshevik Jews did appear to sympathize with Talmudism more than with any other religion. Thus in 1905, as we have seen, the Jewish revolutionaries in Kiev boasted that they would turn St. Sophia cathedral into a synagogue. Again, in 1918 they erected a monument to Judas Iscariot in Sviazhsk[99], and in 1919 - in Tambov![100] And when the Whites reconquered Perm in 1918 they found many Jewish religious inscriptions in the former Bolshevik headquarters – as well as on the walls of the basement of the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg where the Tsar and his family were shot.

     Moreover, while rejecting the Talmud and all religion, the revolutionaries did not reject the unconscious emotional energy of Talmudic Judaism, which was concentrated in a fiercely proud nationalism that was more passionately felt by virtue of the Jews having once truly been the chosen people of God. Having fallen away from that chosen status, and been scattered all over the world by the wrath of God, they resented their replacement by the Christian peoples with an especially intense resentment. Roma delenda est – Christian Rome had to be destroyed, and Russia as “The Third Rome”, the Rome that now reigned, had to be destroyed first of all. The atheist revolutionaries of the younger generation took over this resentment and hatred even while rejecting its religio-nationalist-historical basis…

     L.A. Tikhomirov wrote: “For nineteen centuries now we have been hearing from Jewish thinkers that the religious essence of Israel consists not in a concept about God, but in the fulfilment of the Law. Above were cited such witnesses from Judas Galevy. The very authoritative Ilya del Medigo (15th century) in his notable Test of Faith says that ‘Judaism is founded not on religious dogma, but on religious acts’.

     “But religious acts are, in essence, those that are prescribed by the Law. That means: if you want to be moral, carry out the Law. M. Mendelsohn formulates the idea of Jewry in the same way: ‘Judaism is not a revealed religion, but a revealed Law. It does not say ‘you must believe’, but ‘you must act’. In this constitution given by God the State and religion are one. The relationships of man to God and society are merged. It is not lack of faith or heresy that attracts punishment, but the violation of the civil order. Judaism gives no obligatory dogmas and recognizes the freedom of inner conviction.’

     “Christianity says: you must believe in such-and-such a truth and on the basis of that you must do such-and-such. New Judaism says: you can believe as you like, but you have to do such-and-such. But this is a point of view that annihilates man as a moral personality…”[101]

     Thus Talmudism creates a personality that subjects faith and truth to the imperative of action. That is, it is the action that is first proclaimed as necessary – the reasons for doing it can be thought up later. And this corresponds exactly both to the philosophy of Marx, for whom “the truth, i.e. the reality and power, of thought must be demonstrated in action[102], and to the psychological type of the Marxist revolutionary, who first proclaims that Rome (i.e. Russia) must be destroyed, and then looks for an ideology that will justify destruction. Talmudic Law is useful, indeed necessary, not because it proclaims God’s truth, but in order to secure the solidarity of the Jewish people and their subjection to their rabbinic leaders. In the same way, Marxist theory is necessary only in order to unite adherents, expel dissidents and in general justify the violent overthrow of the old system.

     This point has been well developed by Richard Pipes: “Important as ideology was,… its role in the shaping of Communist Russia must not be exaggerated. If any individual or a group profess certain beliefs and refer to them to guide their conduct, they may be said to act under the influence of ideas. When, however, ideas are used not so much to direct one’s personal conduct as to justify one’s domination over others, whether by persuasion of force, the issue becomes confused, because it is not possible to determine whether such persuasion or force serves ideas or, on the contrary, ideas serve to secure or legitimize such domination. In the case of the Bolsheviks, there are strong grounds for maintaining the latter to be the case, because they distorted Marxism in every conceivable way, first to gain political power and then to hold on to it. If Marxism means anything it means two propositions: that as capitalist society matures it is doomed to collapse from inner contradictions, and that this collapse (‘revolution’) is effected by industrial labor (‘the proletariat’). A regime motivated by Marxist theory would at a minimum adhere to these two principles. What do we see in Soviet Russia? A ‘socialist revolution’ carried out in an economically underdeveloped country in which capitalism was still in its infancy, and power taken by a party committed to the view that the working class left to its own devices is unrevolutionary. Subsequently, at every stage of its history, the Communist regime in Russia did whatever it had to do to beat off challengers, without regard to Marxist doctrine, even as it cloaked its actions with Marxist slogans. Lenin succeeded precisely because he was free of the Marxist scruples that inhibited the Mensheviks. In view of these facts, ideology has to be treated as a subsidiary factor: an inspiration and a mode of thinking of the new ruling class, perhaps, but not a set of principles that either determined its actions or explains them to posterity. As a rule, the less one knows about the actual course of the Russian Revolution the more inclined one is to attribute a dominant influence to Marxism…”[103]

     So the Russian revolution was Jewish not so much because of the ethnic composition of its leaders as because the Satanic hatred of Christ and all Christians that is characteristic of the Talmudic religion throughout its history was transferred – as Moses Hess, the teacher of Marx, had planned in his famous book, Rome and Jerusalem (1862) – from the nationalist Talmudic fathers to their internationalist atheist sons.


March 31 / April 13, 2018.

[1] Solzhenitsyn, Dvesti Let Vmeste (Two Hundred Years Together),Moscow, 2001, volume 1, p. 136.

[2] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 146-148.

[3] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 154, 155.

[4] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 165-166.

[5] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 213.

[6] Vital, A People Apart: The Jews in Europe 1789-1939, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 403.

[7] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 177-178.

[8] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 167-168.

[9] Berlin, “The Origins of Israel”, in The Power of Ideas, London: Chatto & Windus, 2000, p. 148.

[10] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 197, 198.

[11] Pobedonostev, in Cohen and Major, op. cit., p. 627.

[12] Dostoyevksy, The Diary of a Writer, March, 1877, II, 3; translated by Boris Brasol, Haslemere: Ianmead, 1984, pp. 648-651.

[13] Hosking, Russia: People & Empire, London: HarperCollins, 1997, pp. 391-392.

[14] Maximovich, in Orthodoxy America, June, 1987, pp. 10-11.

[15] Khrapovitsky, “Dorogie vospominania” (Treasured Reminiscences), Tsarskij Vestnik (Royal Herald), in Archbishop Nikon (Rklitskly), Zhizneopisanie Blazhennejshago Antonia, Mitropolita Kievskago i Galitskago (Biography of his Beatitude Anthony, Metropolitan of Kiev and Galich),New York, 1971, volume 1, p. 26.

[16] Solzhenitsyn, Dvesti let vmeste (Two Hundred Years Together), Moscow, 2001, part 1, p. 185.

[17] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 189.

[18]Vital, A People Apart: The Jews in Europe 1789-1939, Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 288, 289.

[19] Lieven, Empire, London: John Murray, 2000, p. 277.

[20]Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 192.

[21] Hosking, op. cit., p. 390.

[22] Krivosheev Yu. & Krivosheev, V., Istoria Rossijskoj Imperii, 1861-1894 (A History of the Russian Empire, 1861-1894), St. Petersburg, 2000, pp. 99, 106.

[23] Archbishop Nicanor, in Fomin and Fomina, op. cit., vol. I, p. 351. Of course, the kahal, that “state within a state”, was supposed to have been abolished in the reign of Nicholas I. Evidently, the Jews had managed to get round that law…

[24] Hosking, op. cit., pp. 392-393.

[25]Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 192.

[26] Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, London: Phoenix, 1995, p. 370.

[27] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 293-294.

[28] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 299.

[29]Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 311.

[30]Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 313-314.

[31]Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 314.

[32]Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 317-318.

[33] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 321.

[34] Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide, London: Serif, 1996, pp. 126, 285-289.

[35] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 322.

[36] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 327-328.

[37] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 329.

[38] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 332.

[39] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 333.

[40] Vital, op. cit., p. 513.

[41] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 335.

[42] In all Schiff loaned $200 million to Japan during the war, while preventing other firms from lending to Russia (Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 347). (V.M.)

[43] Lebedev, Velikorossia (Great Russia), St. Petersburg, 1999, pp. 417-418.

[44] Oldenburg, Tsarstvovanie Imperatora Nikolaia II (The Reign of Emperor Nicholas II), Belgrade, 1939, p. 261.

[45] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 428.

[46] Bakhanov, Imperator Nikolaj II, Moscow, 1998, pp. 226-230.

[47] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 428-431.

[48] Thus Duma deputy Baron A.D. Meyendorff admitted: “The Russian Empire was the most democratic monarchy in the world” (Lebedev, op. cit., p. 405). This view was echoed by foreign observers, such as Sir Maurice Baring: “There is no country in the world, where the individual enjoys so great a measure of personal liberty, where the ‘liberté de moeurs’ is so great, as in Russia; where the individual man can do as he pleases with so little interference or criticism on the part of his neighbours, where there is so little moral censorship, where liberty of abstract thought or aesthetic production is so great.” (in Eugene Lyons, Our Secret Allies, 1953).

[49] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 375.

[50] Lebedev, op. cit., p. 428.

[51] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 379-380, 383-384.

[52] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 358.

[53] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 367-368.

[54] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 361.

[55] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 390-391.

[56] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 393.

[57] “According to information provided by the police, those killed numbered more than 500, of whom 400 were Jews, while the wounded registered by the police numbered 289… of whom 237 were Jews”(Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 397). (V.M.).

[58] Lebedev, op. cit., pp. 428-429.

[59] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 401.

[60] Niall Ferguson, The War of the World, London: Penguin Books, 2006, p. 68.

[61] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 398-399.

[62] Lebedev, op. cit., p. 421.

[63] S.S. Oldenburg, Tsarstvovanie Imperatora Nikolaia II, Belgrade, 1939, vol. I, p. 337.

[64] Smith, Former People: The Last Days of the Russian Aristocracy, London: Macmillan, 2012, p. 58. Fr. Raphael Johnston writes: “Alexander III came to the throne over the corpse of his father. The revolutionaries, emboldened, as they always are, by liberal pacification, the communist and other far left groups were becoming increasingly violent. From the reign of Alexander II to 1905, the total number of people — both innocent civilians and government officials (including lowly bureaucratic clerks) — murdered by the Herzenian “New Men” came roughly to 12,000. From 1906-1908, it rose by 4,742 additional, with 9,424 attempts to murder. On the other hand, the Russian government’s attitude towards the “New Men” was mixed. Generally, the monarchy was lenient. Exile to Siberia was often not a punishment. Siberia is not entirely a massive, frozen wasteland, but is possessed of great natural beauty, mountains and rivers. It is cold, but it is not the locale of the popular imagination. Local people, not knowing who the deportees were, received them with hospitality; they became part of town life, and the deportees were given much personal freedom. This sort of ‘imprisonment’ was far superior to the American penal system, which can be — at its maximum security level — considered merely a gang war between various minority groups.” (The Third Rome)

[65] Oldenburg, op. cit., p. 349.

[66] Oldenburg, op. cit., p. 355.

[67] Lieven, Towards the Flame, London: Allen Lane, 2015, p. 190.

[68] Svod Zakonov Rossiiskoi Imperii (The Collection of the Laws of the Russian Empire), 3rd series, vol. 1, pt. 1. St Petersburg, 1912, pp. 5-26.

[69] Plokhy, Lost Kingdom, London: Allen Lane, 2017, p. 169.

[70] S. Anikin, “Budushchee prinadlezhit trezvym natsiam” (The Future Belongs to Sober Nations, Vernost’, 142, March, 2010, (V.M.)

[71] See Fomin & Fomina, Rossia pered Vtorym Prishesviem (Russia before the Second Coming), Moscow, 1994, pp. 391-392; M.B. Danilushkin (ed.), Istoria Russkoj Tserkvi ot Vosstanovlenia Patriarshestva do nashikh dnej (A History of the Russian Church from the Restoration of the Patriarchate to our Days), vol. I, St. Petersburg, 1997, pp. 78-80, 771-783; Nadieszda Kizenko, A Prodigal Saint: Father John of Kronstadt and the Russian People, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000, chapter 7.

[72] Monk Anempodist writes: “Metropolitan Vladimir went on to take part in the movement of the right conservative forces of Russia that was being formed. Thus in 1907 he took part in the work of the All-Russian congress of ‘The Union of the Russian People’. In 1909, while taking part in the work of the First Monarchist congress of Russian People, Metropolitan Vladimir was counted worthy of the honour of passing on a greeting to the congress from his Majesty the Emperor Nicholas II in the following telegram: “’To his Eminence Vladimir, Metropolitan of Moscow. I entrust to you, Vladyko, to pass on to all those assembled in the first capital at the congress of Russian people and members of the Moscow Patriotic Union My gratitude for their loyal feelings. I know their readiness faithfully and honourably to serve Me and the homeland, in strict observance of lawfulness and order. St. Petersburg. 30 September. Nicholas.’”Riasophor-Monk Anempodist, “Sviaschennomuchenik mitropolit Vladimir (Bogoiavlenskij) i bor’ba s revoliutsii” (Hieromartyr Metropolitan Vladimir (Bogoiavlensky) and the struggle against the revolution), Pravoslavnaia Zhizn’ (Orthodox Life), 53, N 1 (636), January, 2003, pp. 2-10.

[73] Vostorgov, in Valentina Sologub (ed.), Kto Gospoden’ – ko mne! (He who is of the Lord – to me!), Moscow, 2007, p. 115.

[74] Vostorgov, in Fomin and Fomina, Rossia pered Vtorym Prishestviem (Russia before the Second Coming), Sergiev Posad, 1993, vol. II, p. 624.

[75] Vostorgov, in Fomin & Fomina, op. cit., p. 400. My italics (V.M.)

[76] Oldenburg, op. cit., vol. II, p. 60.

[77] Massie, Nicolas and Alexandra, London: Book Club Associates, 1967, p. 229.

[78] See M.V. Danilushkin, Istoria Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi, 1917-70 (A History of the Russian Orthodox Church, 1917-70, St. Petersburg, 1997, vol. 1, pp. 784-793; Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., pp. 444-451.

[79] Lisa Palmieri-Billig (“Historian gives credence to blood libel”, The Jerusalem Post, February 7 and 8, 2007) writes: “An Israeli historian of Italian origin has revived ‘blood libel’ in an historical study set to hit Italian bookstores on Thursday. Ariel Toaff, son of Rabbi Elio Toaff, claims that there is some historic truth in the accusation that for centuries provided incentives for pogroms against Jews throughout Europe.

     “Toaff’s tome, Bloody Passovers: The Jews of Europe of Ritual Murders, received high praise from another Italian Jewish historian, Sergio Luzzatto, in an article in the Corriere della Serra entitled ‘Those Bloody Passovers’.

     “Luzzatto describes Toaff’s work as a ‘magnificent book of history… Toaff holds that from 1100 to about 1500… several crucifixions of Christian children really happened, bringing about retaliations against entire Jewish communities – punitive massacres of men, women, children. Neither in Trent in 1475 nor in other areas of Europe in the late Middle Ages were Jews always innocent victims.’

     “’A minority of fundamentalist Ashkenazis… carried out human sacrifices,’ Luzzatto continued.

     “Toaff offers as an example the case of Saint Simonino of Trent in March 1475, shortly after a child’s body was found in a canal near the Jewish area of Trent, the city’s Jews were accused of murdering Simonino and using his blood to make mazot.

     “After a medieval trial in which confessions were extracted by torture, 16 members of Trent’s Jewish community were hanged.

     “Toaff reveals that the accusations against the Jews of Trent ‘might have been true’.

     “Toaff refers to kabbalistic descriptions of the therapeutic uses of blood and asserts that ‘a black market flourished on both sides of the Alps, with Jewish merchants selling human blood, complete with rabbinic certification of the product – kosher blood.’”

[80] S.V. Bulgakov, Nastol’naia Kniga dlya Svyashchenno-Tserkovno-Sluzhitelia (Handbook for Church Servers), Kharkov, 1900, p. 143. It is significant that in 1919 the Bolsheviks banned the chanting of hymns to the Child-Martyr Gabriel, whose relics reposed in the church of St. Basil the Blessed on Red Square (Vladimir Rusak, Pir Satany (Satan’s Feast), London, Ontario: Zarya, 1991, p. 13).

     For ritual murders demonstrated in court, see Dal’, V. Rozyskanie o ubiyenii evreev khristianskikh mladentsev i upotreblenii krovi ikh (Investigation into the Killing by Jews of Christian Children and the Use of their Blood), St. Petersburg, 1844; Rozanov, V. Oboniatel’noe i osyazatel’noe otnoshenie evreev k krovi (The Senses of Smell and Touch of the Jews towards Blood), St. Petersburg, 1913. For a detailed “inside” account by a former Rabbi, see O. Platonov, Ternovij venets Rossii (Russia’s Crown of Thorns), Moscow, 1998, pp. 748-754.

[81] Archbishop Anthony, in Zhizn’ Volynii (The Life of Volhynia), 221, 2 September, 1913.

[82] “Let us remember,” writes Solzhenitsyn: “the legal restrictions on the Jews in Russia were never racial [as they were in Western Europe]. They were applied neither to the Karaites [who rejected the Talmud], nor to the mountain Jews, nor to the Central Asian Jews.” (op. cit., p. 292).

[83] Fitzlyon and Browning, Russia Before the Revolution, London: Penguin books, 1977, p. 46.

[84] Weitzmann, Trial and Error: The Autobiography of Chaim Weitzmann, New York: Harper, 1949.

[85] Heifetz, “Nashi Obschie Uroki”, 22, 1980, N 14, p. 162; in Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 112.

[86] Illustrated Sunday Herald, February 8, 1920; quoted in Douglas Reed, The Controversy of Zion, Durban, S.A.: Dolphin Press, 1978, pp. 272-273.

[87] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 292.

[88] As Witte recorded in his Memoirs: “’Are you right to stand up for the Jews?’ asked Alexander III. In reply Witte asked permission to answer the question with a question: ‘Can we drown all the Russian Jews in the Black Sea? If we can, then I accept that resolution of the Jewish question. If not, the resolution of the Jewish question consists in giving them a chance to live. That is in offering them equal rights and equal laws.’” (Edvard Radzinsky, The Last Tsar,London: Arrow, 1993, p. 69). But Witte’s reply misses the point, as if the choice lay between killing all the Jews or giving them complete equality. No State can give complete freedom to a section of the population that does not respect the law and endangers the lives or livelihoods of the majority.

[89] Solzhenitsyn, Dvesti Let Vmeste (Two Hundred Years Together), vol. 2, Moscow, 2002, pp.  41, 43.

[90] Solzhenitsyn, op. cit., p. 73.

[91] Rayfield, Stalin and his Hangmen, London: Viking, 2004, p. 74.

[92] Reed, op. cit., p. 274. The most detailed data on the domination of the Jews over Russia can be found in F. Vinberg, Krestnij Put’ (The Way of the Cross), Munich, 1920, St. Petersburg, 1997, pp. 359-372.

[93] Pipes, Russia under the Bolshevik Regime, 1919-1924, London: Fontana, 1995, pp. 112-13.

[94] Reed, op. cit., p. 276.

[95] Vladimir Kozyreff, “Re: A New One”,, June 11, 2006.

[96] Piers Brendon, The Dark Valley. A Panorama of the 1930s, London: Pimlico, 2001, p. 11.

[97] Rayfield, op. cit., p. 72.

[98] Yurovsky, in Radzinsky, op. cit., p. 177.

[99] The Danish writer Halling Keller was present at the unveiling of the monument to Judas in Sviazhsk. He wrote: “The local Soviet discussed to whom to raise a statue for a long time. It was thought that Lucifer did not completely share the idea of communism. Cain was too much of a legendary personality, so they decided on Judas Iscariot since he was a completely historical personality. They represented him at full height with his fist raised to heaven.” (M. Nazarov, “Presledovania Tserkvi i dukhovnaia sut’ bol’shevizma” (The Persecutions of the Church and the spiritual essence of Bolshevism), in Vozhdiu Tret’ego Rima (To the Leader of the Third Rome), chapter 3)

[100] See Leningradskaia Panorama (Leningrad Panorama), N 10, 1990, p. 35.

[101] Tikhomirov, Religiozno-Filosofskie Osnovy Istorii (The Religio-Historical Foundations of History), Moscow, 1997, pp. 379, 380.

[102] Marx, Eleven Theses on Feuerbach, 1845.

[103] Pipes, op. cit., pp. 501-502.

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