At least until the issue arises again. Over to Alex Mercouris:
… I do not agree that the two big revolutionary parties in tsarist Russia, the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Social Democrats were under Jewish ideological influence. I do not know what “Jewish ideology” is. Anyway the Socialist Revolutionaries had their origins in the far left Russian terrorist groups and movements of the 1860s and 1870s such as the People’s Will which were emphatically Russian and not Jewish (a disproportionate number of their members were the children of Orthodox priests). As for the Social Democrats the influence here was German not Jewish and the first important Russian Marxist and the founder of the Russian Social Democrats, Georgy Plekhanov, was emphatically a Russian not a Jew.
There was a disproportionately large number of Jews amongst the senior leaders of the Russian Social Democrats (less so amongst the Socialist Revolutionaries), a fact by the way that strongly refutes the view of widespread anti semitism amongst the Russian lower classes, but the Social Democrats were never a Jewish dominated party and as is well know the Jewish socialist party in tsarist Russia known as the Jewish Bund was refused admission into the Social Democrats when it insisted on maintaining its independent organisation and identity.
As for it being a well known fact that the USSR had institutionalised anti semitism, that is a widely held opinion rather than a fact. Certainly it is an opinion that is difficult to reconcile with the first decades of the Soviet government. Three of Lenin’s closest associates in the Bolshevik party and in the Soviet government, Zinoviev, the head of the Comintern and the party chief in Petrograd, Sverdlov, the first Soviet head of state and Kamenev, Sverdlov’s successor, were Jewish. Lenin’s first Foreign Minister and subsequent Defence Minister, Trotsky, was Jewish. So was Lenin’s Finance Minister during the NEP period Sokolnikov.
As for Stalin one of his closest associates Kaganovich was Jewish, the wife of his other close associate, Molotov, Polina Zhemchugina, was Jewish and a minister in the Soviet government in her own right, as was the second wife of his dreaded secret police chief, Yezhov. Of Stalin’s other officials, his longest serving Foreign Minister, Litvinov, was Jewish as was one of his other secret police chiefs, Yagoda, and one of his wartime Marshals, Chernyakhovsky. As is well know Stalin also employed extensively important Jewish cultural figures to propagandise his policies, first and foremost the film director Sergei Eisenstein and the writer and publicist Ilya Ehrenburg.
As for the Doctors’ Plot, the motivations for it are obscure and it is far clear whether those who were arrested were arrested because some of them were Jews or (which is actually more likely) because all of them were doctors and there happened a disproportionate number of senior doctors at that time in the USSR who were Jews. If it was intended as the start of an anti semitic campaign (for which there is in fact no evidence in anything Stalin himself ever said) then it must be considered a complete failure because it achieved no resonance amongst the wider Soviet public and was immediately abandoned after Stalin’s death when all the persons arrested were released and rehabilitated.
There is no doubt that a shift did take place after the Six Day War in 1967 with Soviet hostility to Israel resulting in a number of deeply unpleasant anti semitic individuals on the fringes of the Soviet political and literary establishment coming out of the woodwork and tensions between the USSR and Israel and the effect of Jewish emigration causing tensions between Jews and the Soviet authorities to an extent that had simply not been the case before. However I personally would not describe even this period as one of “institutionalised anti semitism” as any comparison with the genuinely institutionalised anti semitism of pre Second World War central and eastern Europe shows.
Counter-argument via Leon Leontz:
I would like to offer a brief discourse into the causation link between the anti Semitism in Russia on one hand and the fall of the Czarist Russia and the collapse of the USSR on the other. The pogroms and the Black Hundreds instigated by the Russian Orthodox Church and the Czar fomented revolutionary movement among the Jewish youth who took the ideas of Marx and transformed them into two basic political movements: Socialist Revolutionary Party and RSDRP, both ideologically dominated by the Jews.
The WWI was obviously a catalyst but the Communist Revolution wouldn’t have happened, hadn’t the Czar antagonized and revolutionized the most politically active and somewhat wealthy part of the Jewish population in Russia. Moving 50 years forward to the Israeli victory in the Six Days War of 1967, when anti Semitism has greatly increased in the USSR, dropping the regular 50% Jewish enrollment in the Moscow State University to a meager 5% and then even less, when defending a dissertation, getting a good job, etc., has become very difficult, the Jewish refusnik and dissident movement has generated internal instability and inspired the West to economic and political sanctions. This, together with the resulting Jewish brain drain to the West, was a major factor of the USSR’s collapse. I would estimate the number of Jews in Russia closer to 220k, which is still very small, less than 0.2% and I would agree with Adomanis that Putin is certainly not anti Semitic, so it won’t be a factor in any ffuture problems of Russia. The WWII, was single handedly won by the USSR, the US and UK were a minor nuisance at best, sometimes to Russians, sometimes to Germans. The decisive factor in the second half of the war was the total air superiority USSR had over german Luftwaffe due to MIGs and LAs invented by Gurevich and Lavochkin, respectively, both Jewish.
By an institutionalized anti Semitism I do not mean that all Jews who were hired before 1967, were suddenly fired. What I mean is that enrollment in MGU and Fiztech and other prestigious universities went from 50% to 1% in one year, VAK threw out 90% of dissertations defended by Jews, while before the percentage of rejections was about 1-2%, it was difficult to find a good research job and Jews were music teachers with a talent to be top notch performers. To prove my point, those who emigrated to US became University professors, highly paid musicians, top notch engineers. Many world famous mathematicians never became academicians even though they got Fields medals (equivalent of math Nobel) . When they emigrated, they became the world leading professors at the top Universities. Many average Jews with University degrees couldn’t find a job or couldn’t publish. I had 6 publications in the most prestigious Soviet math journals, solving a long standing problem in math, by the age 19, but my scientiic advisor was told I will never be admitted to a graduate school, a Jew to be admitted to a graduate school had to be a Communist party member, so I left for US, even though I was not really Jewish, just a Jewish last name, of which I am very proud and I never said to anybody that I wasn’t, so they always assumed that I was, good for me, to be considered Jewish is a great honor. My advisor, has recommended that I get a ffirst prize award for my discovery and publications and he was told to never present people with such last names for awards anymore. In US, I found out that I did not have to work very hard to get a Ph.D. and a tenured position as a professor. It was also very easy to publish. Money was never a problem, not for a second. Just had to live in a concrete jungle and drive a car everywhere. Even Gentiles who had a scientiic position at that time, 1967-1985 would tell you the Jews were discriminated against, even though they still had disproportionatey high percentage of intellectual jobs. In the math olympiad in Moscow, 50-60% of all awards were given to Jews, despite the fact that only 2% of moscovites were Jewish, but in Kiev it was almost none. Apparently, anti Semitism was stronger there. A friend of mine told me, his papers were always lost in Kiev olympiad until he moved to Moscow and became the USSR champion in the 10th grade math. Another Jewish friend of mine, solved a famous open problem, but wasn’t confirmed in his dissertation defence, when he emigrated to US, he got a tenure at an Ivy league school very shortly. Israel Gelfand, arguably the greatest 20th century mathematician, did not become an academician until 1990, he was routinely blocked by the anti Semitic establishment in the Academy of Sciences, as well as the score of other Jews who solved Hilbert problems such as Arnold, Gelfond (not Gelfand), etc. I think to deny there was persecution/discrimination of Jews in 1967-1985 is the same as to deny the Holocaust. Everybody who lived through it remembers.