Author Topic: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?  (Read 17495 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline NicolasG

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2016, 04:46:14 PM »
It's funny you are accusing me of using outdated bibliography, when you are not using any bibliography at all to back your claims. Well, you have posted a link to an article written by Mr. Krajewski, I suppose you have found it using Google, because he isn't much known as an scholar in the field of Russian history.

TSARIST (LACK OF) INVOLVEMENT IN POGROMS

1. One of the books I quoted from was first published in 2006: The War of the World, by Niall Ferguson.
"Altogether 3,675 persons were arrested for participation in pogroms in 1881, of whom 2,359 were tried, giving the lie to the notion that the pogroms were officially instigated."
"[Pogroms of 1904-05] The evidence of orchestation by the Minister for the Interior himself has been exposed as bogus. Indeed, Pleve seems to have taken steps to mitigate the situation of the Jews in the Pale in the wake of the Kishinev pogrom...."

2. The article from Slavic Review was published in 1994, that is, almost 3 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. There isn't any "smoking gun" in the Russian archives showing involvement of the tsarist authorities in the pogroms. And the reason is very simple. After the Bolshevik coup, Russia became hell on earth: Civil War, Cheka-Red Terror, famine with 7 million deaths, anti-religious campaign, concentration camps, bands of orphans roaming the country...
The Bolshevik wanted their regime to be recognized by foreign governments, specially the US. They needed positive propaganda, to overcome the repulsion that the rest of the world felt towards them. And one of their "success stories" was the "emancipation of the Jews". If there was any documental proof of tsarist authorities promoting the murder of Jews, they would have published it, translated it into all the languages of the world and spread it with the help of sympathizers in the form of articles in newspapers, books, pamphlets.... As they did, for example, with the secret negotiations between Russia and the Allies with "war aims" that included control for Russia of the Turkish Straits. If they didn't the same with the "secret tsarist plot to murder Jews" is simply because there wasn't such plot.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 05:03:18 PM by NicolasG »

Offline NicolasG

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2016, 04:48:27 PM »
TSARIST (LACK OF) INVOLVEMENT IN POGROMS II

3. There are contemporary sources, like the Memoirs of Sergey Dmitrievich Urusov, "translated by the Russian and edited by Herman Rosenthal, New York, 1908". Urusov, a man of liberal leanings, was named governor of Bessarabia by Plehve, the Minister of Interior, after the Kishinev pogrom of Easter 1903.

The book was written when Urusov was completely hostile to the tsarist regime: he had become a member of the liberal opposition, the Constitutional Democrats (the Kadets) and was briefly jailed for calling with other Duma members for a general boycott of the government. It is presented by its editor Rosenthal as an exposé of the tsarist authorities: "[Urusov is] an administrator with the rare patriotism and courage to disclose the terrible secrets of the system of which he was part" "As Governor of Bessarabia after the terrible massacre, Prince Urusov inexorably traced the resposability for that crime to the very government he served"... That's the introduction by Mr. Rosenthal. That isn't was Urusov writes in his book.

Plehve, after dismising the previous governor, send Urusov with complete freedom to make any change to avoid a repetition of the violence and to investigate the events. Dismising the governor and replacing him with a new man with liberal views does not seem the obvious thing to do, if the authorities were trying to cover up their involvement in the pogrom.

Offline NicolasG

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2016, 04:50:36 PM »
TSARIST (LACK OF) INVOLVEMENT IN POGROMS III

"Apart from the facts that Plehve insisted before the Emperor on the peremptory dismissal of Raaben [the previous governor], and that the latter remained for a long time in ignorance of his ultimate fate, it seems incredible that the Minister should have recklessly intrusted himself in this matter to a man whose gentleness and uprightness would have precluded the possibility of his carrying into effect so cruel a plan. I do not mean to say by this that I regard the Minister capable of being the initiator of a pogrom. On the contrary, I think that whith all his hatred towards the Jews, Plehve was too shrewd and experienced to adopt such an expedient in his fight against them. Yet if Plehve could consider the Kishinev pogrom injurious to the government in its consequences, Raaben, because of his habits and temperament, could not have assumed the role of the executor and organizer of this slaughter. This is not merely my personal opinion. I am confirmed in my belief in the innocence of my predecessor by the opinion of all his associates and subordinates, and also the opinion of many representatives of the local Jewish community, whose views in this matter are deseving careful consideration."
Urusov, Memoirs of a Russian Governor, p.15

The style (or Mr Rosenthal's translation) is convoluted, but several ideas can be deciphered from that mess of a paragraph:

1.Urusov, a liberal, hated the man who had named him governor of Bessarabia, Plehve, who was a conservative. [Plehve had been murdered in 1904]
2. In spite of hating him, Urusov does not think that Plehve was involved in the pogrom, because in Usurov's opinion, Plehve thought that that kind of violence was against the interest of the Russian government.
3. Urusov does not think that his predecessor, the governor Raaben, was involved in any way in the pogrom.
4. The innocence of the governor is confirmed by the opinion of many representatives of the Jewish community in Kishinev.

So, in one paragraph, Urusov is acquiting both the governor of Bessarabia, where the pogrom took place, and the Minister of Interior.

Offline NicolasG

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2016, 04:52:15 PM »
TSARIST (LACK OF) INVOLVEMENT IN POGROMS IV

Then Urusov gets a telegram from Plehve asking him to take any measure to avoid a pogrom:

"One night I received a long cipher telegram from Plehve, who, as I recollect, for the first time determined to interfere with my activity. In the wording of the telegram his intolerable manner of demand and threats was apparent. He informed me of symptoms indicating preparation for a new pogrom (of which I knew more than he did), demanded that strict measures be taken, and warned me that the least manifestation of anti-Jewish disorders in the province would be considered a want of foresight on my part, and a proof of the unpractical nature of my arrangements." p.55

"I must, therefore, speak of the impressions made upon me by the factors antecedent to the disorders of Easter, 1903, which deprived the Kishinev Jews of forty-two lives, and inflicted on them a loss of at least a million rubles....
First, I must say that in examining, before going to Bessarabia, the secret papers of the Kishinev case in the Central Police Bureau at St Petersburg, I found not a thing to justify the assumption that the Ministry of Interior thought it expedient to permit a Jewish masacre or even an anti-Jewish demonstration in Kishinev." p.77

Offline NicolasG

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2016, 04:55:03 PM »
TSARIST (LACK OF) INVOLVEMENT IN POGROMS V

"Thus in my opinion the central government cannot shake off its moral responsibility for the slaughter and plunder that went on in Kishinev. I consider our government guilty of encouraging the narrow, nationalistic tendencies. It inagurated a short-sighted policy, coarse in its methods, with regard to the frontier country and the non-Slavic populations - a policy fostering distrust and hatred. Finally, the authorities connived at the militant jingoism. Thus are indirectly encouraged those barbarous instincts that vanish the moment the government openly announces that a pogrom founded on race hatred is a crime... Thus I regard the charge of connivance lodged against the government", p.81

Follows wild speculation about possible involvement by the local branch of the Secret Police, using expresions as "It is possible", "to whom rumor attributed", "might well". The idea is that the director of the Secret Police in Kishinev might have thought that, by organizing a pogrom, he was following Plehve's wishes, although he had not received such an order. As Usurov himself says: "I do not care to pass my suppositions for facts", p.82

So, what is the verdict pronunced by an observer that felt extreme hostility towards the tsarist authorities?

Not guilty of direct involvement in the pogrom in Kishinev.

The book "The Memoirs of a Russian Governor", by "Prince Serge Dmitriyevich Urussov" is available at archive.org
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 05:01:06 PM by NicolasG »

Offline Ortino

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1033
  • Ortino
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2016, 12:19:54 PM »
5 posts, eh? Tsk tsk.

Quote
Well, you have posted a link to an article written by Mr. Krajewski, I suppose you have found it using Google, because he isn't much known as an scholar in the field of Russian history.

Actually, all I said was that I agreed with his point on the significance--or lack thereof--of over representation. Boy, you must enjoy misinterpreting everything that I say. I wasn't aware that one had to be well-known to have an opinion--but even so, he's a Polish-Jewish professor at the University of Warsaw, so he seems legitimate enough to me.

Quote
1. One of the books I quoted from was first published in 2006: The War of the World, by Niall Ferguson.
"Altogether 3,675 persons were arrested for participation in pogroms in 1881, of whom 2,359 were tried, giving the lie to the notion that the pogroms were officially instigated."
"[Pogroms of 1904-05] The evidence of orchestation by the Minister for the Interior himself has been exposed as bogus. Indeed, Pleve seems to have taken steps to mitigate the situation of the Jews in the Pale in the wake of the Kishinev pogrom...."

Pogroms in 1881 don't relate to what we're discussing. Different tsar, different reign. And from little of this book that I could preview on Google Books, I can see that your quote about the early-20th century pogroms actually begins with "on the other hand." Care to share the sentences before that?

Quote
"I do not care to pass my suppositions for facts",

The fact that he says this means that you shouldn't view his suppositions as facts. Thank you for proving my point.

Here too I find it interesting what you deliberately left out in order to enhance your position:

"Thus in my opinion the central government cannot shake off its moral responsibility for the slaughter and plunder that went on in Kishinev. I consider our government guilty of encouraging the narrow, nationalistic tendencies. It inaugurated a short-sighted policy, coarse in its methods, with regard to the frontier country and the non-Slavic populations - a policy fostering distrust and hatred. Finally, the authorities connived at the militant jingoism. Thus are indirectly encouraged those barbarous instincts that vanish the moment the government openly announces that a pogrom founded on race hatred is a crime--a crime for which an administration that condones it in any way must be held responsible. Thus I regard the charge of connivance lodged against the government."

And how convenient that you left out the next 2 paragraphs:

"But can one fully exonerate the government of the suspicion that—at least through its secret agents—it did take a direct part in the massacres? And can it be maintained that the immediate cause of the massacres was of a natural, an accidental character, and not the execution of "an order"? During my service at Kishinev, and long after, I did not admit the idea that the pogrom policy had its active adherents and secret inspirers in government circles. The events of 1905-1906; the investigation made by Savich at Homel and by Senator Turau at Kiev; the activity of the " League of True Russians " and the exalted protection given that organization; the response of the Minister of the Interior to the interpellation of the Duma as to the secret printing-office; Makarov's report on the pogrom—activity of Komissarov and Budagovski, officers of the gendarmerie, etc. all these helped to change my original views. Those features of the Kishinev pogrom which, thus far incomprehensible and concealed, had puzzled me, I began to refer to wires pulled by those higher up. It is possible that Lewendal, the head of the Kishinev secret police, to whom rumor attributed the immediate engineering of the April pogrom, played a double part; that, having prepared the pogrom with one hand, with the other he wrote to the Department of State Police the report, which I saw when I looked up the case- at the department, giving warning of possible disorders.

This supposition is all the more admissible because of the fact that Lewendal, as an officer of the gendarmerie on the one hand, was under the orders of the Department of State Police, while on the other he had to report to the commander of the local gendarmerie. This post was then occupied by the well-known General Wahl, formerly Prefect of Police of St. Petersburg. He enjoyed an unenviable reputation, was capable of anything to advance himself in the service, and hated the Jews, who had made him suffer at Wilna when he was governor there."



« Last Edit: December 12, 2016, 12:24:34 PM by Ortino »

Offline NicolasG

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2016, 02:32:11 PM »
I will say it again. In the Western legal system, is for the prosecution to prove that the defendant is guilty, not for the defendant to prove his innocence. You have done absolutely nothing to back your claims. The argument you use to prove that the tsarist authorities incited pogroms against the Jewish population in the Russian Empire is "I think so, so it must be true". Maybe for you that's enough, but others might have less faith in your infallibility.

I will take the effort to reply to your previous message.


Quote
1. One of the books I quoted from was first published in 2006: The War of the World, by Niall Ferguson.
"Altogether 3,675 persons were arrested for participation in pogroms in 1881, of whom 2,359 were tried, giving the lie to the notion that the pogroms were officially instigated."
"[Pogroms of 1904-05] The evidence of orchestation by the Minister for the Interior himself has been exposed as bogus. Indeed, Pleve seems to have taken steps to mitigate the situation of the Jews in the Pale in the wake of the Kishinev pogrom...."

Pogroms in 1881 don't relate to what we're discussing. Different tsar, different reign. And from little of this book that I could preview on Google Books, I can see that your quote about the early-20th century pogroms actually begins with "on the other hand." Care to share the sentences before that?

Pogroms in 1881 relate to what we are discussing and, if you actually had read what I posted, you would have seen that the second sentence begins with "Pogroms of 1904-05" between brackets, that is, when Nicholas II was emperor.

"The authorities certainly exaggerated the role played in the Revolution by Jews, who accounted for far less than 90 per cent of Russian socialists. On the other hand, the evidence of orchestration by the Minister for the Interior himself has been exposed as bogus. Indeed, Pleve seems to have taken steps to mitigate the situation of the Jews in the Pale in the wake of Kishinev pogroms, holding meetings with the Zionist leader Theodor Herzl as well as with Lucien Wolf, head of the Joint Foreign Commision for the Aid of the Jews of Eastern Europe."

As regards the percentage of Jews among the revolutionaries, the figure provided by Anna Geifman in her monography Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1904-1917 is "about 50 percent" by 1903 (p. 32).

Offline NicolasG

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2016, 02:35:31 PM »
Quote
Here too I find it interesting what you deliberately left out in order to enhance your position:

"Thus in my opinion the central government cannot shake off its moral responsibility for the slaughter and plunder that went on in Kishinev. I consider our government guilty of encouraging the narrow, nationalistic tendencies. It inaugurated a short-sighted policy, coarse in its methods, with regard to the frontier country and the non-Slavic populations - a policy fostering distrust and hatred. Finally, the authorities connived at the militant jingoism. Thus are indirectly encouraged those barbarous instincts that vanish the moment the government openly announces that a pogrom founded on race hatred is a crime--a crime for which an administration that condones it in any way must be held responsible. Thus I regard the charge of connivance lodged against the government."


Was the tsarist administration condoning the pogroms?

From the very same book by Urusov we know that many were arrested after the pogrom in Kishinev:
"I addressed a large group of prisoners, and told them how famous they had become through their heroic deeds." (p. 44)

And half of them were sentenced
"To the best of my recollection, the number of men acquitted was aproximately equal to the number of those convicted. The penalties meted out were, with rare exceptions, very lenient." (p.82)
That means, that several of the defendants (rare exceptions means more than two) received severe penalties.

That is a much better record than the one that the democratic USA can show regarding lynchings.

From 1888 to 1913:

3,300 lynchings (estimate)
100,000 men took part in lynchings (estimate)
0 men were sentenced for taking part in lynching

That might be called "condoning a crime".

Offline NicolasG

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2016, 02:40:33 PM »
Quote
And how convenient that you left out the next 2 paragraphs:

I did not "leave out" 2 paragraphs, I summarized them while providing the information about where the book I was quoting from could be read. I think that's quite fair.

Let's try to understand a little bit the context in which the book was written.

Urusov was a liberal. He was a member of the Constitutional Democrat Party (Kadets). After the first Duma was dissolved the Kadets assembled with other members of the Duma in a town north of Saint Petersburg and called for a national boycott against the government. For this behaviour he was tried, sentenced and sent to prison for several months.

I am not an expert in American law, but I suppose that if the Democrats in the Congress assembled in a blue state, established a parallel Congress and called for a national boycott of the Trump administration (stopping paying taxes and all that), there would be legal consequences.

So, Urusov was no friend of the tsarist regime. He hated it. That is what makes his testimony valuable. He is in no way an apologist. But for the same reason, his testimony has to be handled with care, to separate FACTS from OPINIONS, which will be colored by his hate towards the tsarist authorities.

FACTS:

1. After the Kishinev (Bessarabia) pogrom, the Minister of Interior Plehve fired the local governor and replaced him with a man with liberal views, Urusov.

2.Plehve gave Urusov complete freedom to examine all the information collected by the Secret Police (Okhrana) in Saint Petersburg about the pogrom as well as to speak in Kishinev with members of the Jewish community, staff in the public administration, men arrested after the pogrom... Not what someone would do if he tried to cover up his involvements in the events.

3. Plehve sent Urusov a strongly worded telegram asking him to take strict measures to avoid a new pogrom.

4. Representatives of the Jewish community in Kishinev considered that the previous governor was not involved in any way in the pogrom.

These are FACTS admitted by an enemy of the tsarist authorities.

And the rest, the accusations against the local branch of the Okhrana, is "conspiracy theory" stuff. Like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but with a different bias. Urusov wrote: "I do not care to pass my suppositions for facts." What he call his "suppositions" is all the stuff about the head of the Okhrana in Kishinev organizing the pogrom because he thought that it was the wish of Plehve. These are the "suppositions" of an embittered, hostile man and we cannot give them more value than the author himself did.

Offline JGP

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 42
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2016, 04:08:56 PM »
NicholasG and Ortino, I really enjoy reading your posts (on multiple threads) but why the animus between the two of you?  You are both knowledgeable and your posts reflect that; please just agree to disagree. 

Offline NicolasG

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2016, 08:29:32 AM »
NicholasG and Ortino, I really enjoy reading your posts (on multiple threads) but why the animus between the two of you?  You are both knowledgeable and your posts reflect that; please just agree to disagree.

I admit that I can be a short-tempered man. The end of the Russian Imperial Family was terrible and completely undeserved. When I come across attempts to smear them, for example making them look like pals of Hitler, I just see red.

Were Nicholas and Alexandra saints, as the Russian Orthodox Church has proclaimed? I don't know, I am not a Russian Orthodox. They were human beings, they committed mistakes, as we all do. But they certainly weren't evil. And the more I read about them, the more sympathy I feel for them, specially for Alexandra. She probably is, with Marie Antoinette, the most calumniated woman in history.

After 100 years, I feel that they deserve to be treated at least with some level of fairness.

Offline edubs31

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1012
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2016, 02:17:24 AM »
Inspiring, if overly feisty, discourse here. Nice to see for a change. I'll offer my opinion on some of the broader concepts being tossed around rather than speak to specifics (such as the positions of von Plehve, or Alexandra's relationship with an ailing Jewish solider, etc.)

Ortino, thank you for corrected me on the Jewish demographics of late-Tsarist Russia. You're definitely correct about the greater concentration of Jews living in the Pale of Settlement rather the urban areas. This of course has changed over time with few Jews in westerner societies living far from the cities. In Russia a century ago their social, political and economic makeup probably wasn't that dissimilar to the country as a whole.

To underline my point, that I think we both agree on, a fringe/minority class of people who feel they are oppressed both currently and historically in a society are more likely to turn to radical solutions for greater security & justice.

In this sense I think it is fair for NicholasG to site the examples and comparisons he has between late-Tsarist Jews and other oppressed people from other societies and time periods. To dismiss with these historical parallels would be to suggest that Jews in Russia during this time period were curiously unique in their behavior, which in turn lends credence to the idea that they may have been a twisted lot of radicals who should be held responsible for the rise of Bolshevism. Something I sure you disagree with.

Otherwise I see them as any other group - past or present - who has suffered injustice. At the very least the attitudes of their oppressors is couched in the same mindset. Be it slaveholders of the American south in the 19th century, the Cavalry with their aims to eliminate Native Americans, or the Nazi death camps decades later and a world away. Xenophobia, racism, nativism, tribalism, religion, classicism, and pure economics and the wicked tools of the oppressor, and this remains unchanged.

Quote
Jews were not politically, socially or economically opressed in the United States.

Certainly not to the extent they were in other areas of the world but I'm not entirely certain, given their small numbers, this should be taken as fact. Hostilities towards blacks in the US were naturally greater in southern states than northern and western states. Jews are prevalent in large and diverse urban areas; New York, LA, Miami, Philly, Boston, etc. - but are barely traceable in many urban areas in the south & west, or rural areas in general. It would have been interesting to see how rural & southern America would have greeted a mass influx of Jews, with their unique customs in tow, into their towns & neighborhoods. So we might not have an adequate sample size to make assumptions on the possible marginalization/oppressive Jews may have faced...I wouldn't know what would happen to me if I walked alone in a rough neighborhood at night but I'm not jumping at the chance to find out, if you catch my drift...

Quote
And therein lies the anti-Semitism--there are no "good Jews" and "bad Jews." There are good people and bad people. The religion has nothing to do with it. If you cannot make out the difference, then that tells me all I need to know.

Ortino I feel like you might be oversimplifying things here a bit or creating a bit of a false dichotomy. Distinctions can sometimes be helpful, or at least acceptable. I agree that the religion itself is not the cause but we still classify each other. Since the population Alexandra ruled over (one she was not even native to I might add) overwhelmingly viewed Jews either with hatred or indifference it would be important to drive home the fact that while there were some bad eggs that the overwhelmingly majority was good. Using broad terms like good & bad "people" probably wouldn't resonate as much since the victims themselves (Jews in this case) are being ignored or lumped in with the masses.

If a wave of antisemitism swept through America would your protest sign read "JewishLivesMatter" or "AllLivesMatter"? Some would suggest the latter is more appropriate...and I think you know where I'm getting this from...but it doesn't really speak to the issue.

Quote
Was Nicholas II taken in by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion hoax? Probably. Does it mean that he was a rabid antisemite, a Jew hater? No, it doesn't.

I agree, and I think we also might find a bit of compromise in this argument - as it relates to the Imperial Family - by suggesting Nicholas & Alexandra weren't the most enlightened or intellectually gifted of world leaders and required a bit of a greater learning curve.

By use the strictest of definitions it's easy to consider anyone who "looks away" an anti-semite. Yet what were their reasons for doing so in the first place? Did she simply not care about the plight of the Jews or - given her limited experience and enlightenment - was she merely ignorant? And what if she did fully understand? Would taking what many would believe to be radical measures to change the fabric of Russian society been wise?

I know you seem to bristle at historical parallels but was Lincoln as racist because he waited to emancipate the slaves or push for the 13th amendment only once it became necessary and politically expedient to do so? Is every politician who doesn't recognize the validity of same-sex marriage (which was pretty much all of them until quite recently) a homophobe?
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline edubs31

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1012
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2016, 02:17:35 AM »
Quote
What exactly are you trying to prove with this information? One has nothing to do with the other. That's like using information about the Holocaust to discuss the Rwandan genocide simply because they're both genocides.

All depends on the point you're trying to make. If one suggests that what happened in Rwanda is anyway linked to the Holocaust in Europe 50-years earlier that would be silly.  But as a psychological study of the how & why genocides occur in the first place? Sure! People are people, some good some bad, right Ortino? Therefore the reasoning involved in a brutal extermination of a rival tribe in a virtual third-world country shouldn't be much different than the reasoning involved in a ethnic/religious cleansing by a highly sophisticated political movement.

Quote
I also never said that discrimination was the impetus for Jewish "rebellion" as you call it--I said that their economic, social, and political circumstances would have allowed them to form an affinity with similarly oppressed groups, such as the Russian peasantry.

We definitely agree here. And to this point there were also a disproportionate number of Jews involved in the support of African-Americans during the Civil Rights struggle of the 50s and 60s (one of them even ran for President this year). The initial aims that many of these Russian Jews subscribed to were not violent in nature. There is plenty of negatives things that can be said about Kerensky's government in particular but few would have argued that Russian transitioning into a functioning representational democracy was a bad thing...either in 1917 or today. That the elimination of Tsarist rule led directly to the overthrow of the Provisional Government which led directly to the Civil War and eventual Bolshevik victory is a case of connected the dots. Easy for us to do retrospect. Harder for the casual supporter of the revolution in March of 1917.

Quote
Nicholas and Alexandra don't get free passes for sharing prejudices "common to the age." Or should we not identify slave-owners, for example, as racist since they were simply products of their time?

Well perhaps not a free pass, but what sort of historical judgement is acceptable? The argument that they should be characterized as villains worthy of punishment is fair only if you consider Nicholas & Alexandra to be the equivalent of a slave holder. And to that end are all slave holders to be measured equally?

George Washington & Thomas Jefferson both owned slaves. Are they the same as Calvin Candy? And is the fact that a John Adams or Alexander Hamilton didn't have slaves a testament to their egalitarian principles or simply a product of their upbringing, in mostly anti-slavery northern states?

Quote
I admit that I can be a short-tempered man. The end of the Russian Imperial Family was terrible and completely undeserved. When I come across attempts to smear them, for example making them look like pals of Hitler, I just see red.

Were Nicholas and Alexandra saints, as the Russian Orthodox Church has proclaimed? I don't know, I am not a Russian Orthodox. They were human beings, they committed mistakes, as we all do. But they certainly weren't evil. And the more I read about them, the more sympathy I feel for them, specially for Alexandra. She probably is, with Marie Antoinette, the most calumniated woman in history.

After 100 years, I feel that they deserve to be treated at least with some level of fairness.

Amen to that! I too learn heavily in this directly as I've made no secrets about in the past.

I would also say that Ortino disclosing his Judaism at the very beginning of his first post, less we discern any sort bias on his behalf, was impressive as well. Not that taking a strong position on antisemitism requires such a disclosure or requires one to be Jewish in the first place...it's just nice to hear the honesty up front.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline NicolasG

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2016, 08:09:07 AM »

To underline my point, that I think we both agree on, a fringe/minority class of people who feel they are oppressed both currently and historically in a society are more likely to turn to radical solutions for greater security & justice.


That isn't always the case. According to orthodox marxism, opressed social classes/ nations/ minorities... will realize their situation and become marxists to overcome the opression. That's, like their inevitable victory with the dawn of a new classless society, is a marxist exercise on wishful thinking.

For example, black Americans. I think that we can agree that, in general, they have had it harder in the USA than Jews from 1776 to 2016. If there were a direct correlation between social and economic discrimination and political radicalism, we should expect them to have been a substantial part of the members of the Communist Party of the USA since it was founded. They weren't. And it wasn't for lack of efforts by the Komintern, the Communist bosses in Moscow: they printed pamphlets on the "negro question", granted scholarships to black Americans to study in Moscow, told their men in USA to promote black Americans to the high ranks of the party... and still black Americans did not become interested in marxism-leninism, neither flocked to the ranks of the Communist Party of the United States. The Communists got Paul Robeson, whom they used as a posterboy, as that was it.

And Spanish gypsies, who have suffered social discrimination since the Middle Age. During the Civil War, Spain became a repository for every kind of left radicalism. And the gypsies did not feel attracted to it. They tried to stay away from the fight and the few who took side (or were forced to take side) were evenly divided between right-wing "Nationals" and left-wing "Republicans". Gypsies were (are) natural anarchists, who feel a deep dislike towards all manifestations of the State: registries, documents, compulsory schooling, taxes, conscription.... and at the same time they are social conservatives, with strong family binds and a hierarchical structure in which the elders ("patriarcas") play the main role. So neither political Anarchism nor Communism fit in their traditional culture. And therefore, they rejected them.

And I think that's the clue: culture.

Historians usually avoid explanations that include references to culture. First of all, they think that someone might think that "culture" is a euphemism or a disguise for "race" and they might be labelled racist. Secondly, culture is something elusive, not easy to define, and which cannot be subject of statistics, and they think that by talking about culture they are throwing away their "scientific", "academic" credentials.

So, let's try to define culture by saying what culture is not.

1. Culture is not race. People from different races can belong to one culture, people from one race can belong to different cultures. Culture might be inherited, like race, but it requires a conscious assent - a person can embrace or reject the culture in which they grew up.

2. Culture is not religion. When I was younger, some American missionaries I met asked me what my religion was. I told them and they concluded that I was a "cultural Catholic". Religion and culture are different things: most religions aspire to universalism, and therefore they embrace people from very different cultures. But at the same time, religion provides a common worldview, rest of which will remain even when faith grows weak in the form of shared values and cherished traditions.

3. Culture is not politics, but sometimes it is related to them. I might have an idea about how taxes should be distributed among members of society and an opinion about which candidate is more or less trustworthy. This might influence my vote, but it is not a fundamental part of my worldview. At the same time, there are other issues that touch me more deeply like what marriage is or when should human life be protected. These issues also define the culture I belong to.

Offline NicolasG

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Were the Jews Responsible for the Russian Revolution/Bolsehvik Coup?
« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2016, 08:30:11 AM »
I will quote from a book who provides a possible cultural explanation for the overrepresentation of Jews among the Bolsheviks.

Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1894-1917, Anna Geifman, Princeton, 1993

"In their writings on Jewish involvement in the Russian revolutionary movement, several thinkers, foremost among them Nikolai Berdiaev, noted that the Jewish radicals had emerged from an environment dominated by the profound, centuries-old pride and spiritual burden of being the chosen people. These writers sought to trace the roots of Jewish radicalism to a concept that lies at the heart of the Jewish national and religious identity - the messianic ideal. Connected with the dream of a Jewish homeland and the quest to overcome the tremendous catastrophe of the diaspora and the associated misfortunes and injustices that have befallen the Jews throughout history, the messianic tradition emcompasses the belief that salvation and glory will ultimately be attained by the entire Jewish nation on earth, rather than by selected individuals following death. That Judaic thought is consistently directed to the future realization of these goals can be seen as the key to understanding the Jewish mentality and its inner drives, even in individuals who have renounced their religious faith and turned to atheism.

Indeed, having on the surface broken all ties with religion, Jewish radicals merely reshaped and restated the traditional messianic outlook to conform to the new historical situation and intellectual concepts. The old beliefs verbalized in a new and slightly altered form are particularly notable in the teachings of Karl Marx, whom Berdaiev called "a very typical Jew". A materialist who denied any higher principles, Marx transformed the idea of a messiah leading the Israeli people to ultimate paradise on earth into a theory envisioning the eventual redemption of the world from oppresion and injustice by the new chosen people - the proletariat. This adaption of familiar assumptions to the atheist perception of reality (which included Marx's emphasis on class, rather than individuals, as the only active agent in the historical process) proved extremely attractive to many Russian Jews, who began to participate in radical politics in large numbers directly proportionate with the degree of dissemination of Marxism in the empire late in the nineteenth century." pp. 32-33