Russian Intellectual Antisemitism in the Post-Communist Era


Russian Intellectual Antisemitism in the Post-Communist Era

Vadim Rossman
Foreword by Sidney Monas

Studies in Antisemitism Series

319 pages


May 2013


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Antisemitism has had a long and complex history in Russian intellectual life and has revived in the post-Communist era. In their concept of the identity of the Jewish people, many academics and other thinkers in Russia continue to cast Jews in a negative or ambivalent role. An inherent rivalry exists between "Russia" and "the Jews" because Russians have often viewed themselves-whether through the lens of atheistic communism or that of the most conservative elements of the Orthodox Church-as a chosen people whose destiny is to lead the way to world salvation.

In this book, Vadim Rossman presents the foundations and present influence of intellectual antisemitism in Russia. He examines the antisemitic roots of some major trends in Russian intellectual thought that emerged in earlier decades of the twentieth century and are still significant in the post-Communist era: neo-Eurasianism, Eurasian historiography, National Bolshevism, neo-Slavophilism, National Orthodoxy, and various forms of racism. Such extreme right-wing ideology continues to appeal to a certain segment of the Russian population and seems unlikely to disappear soon. Rossman confronts and challenges a range of disturbing, sometimes contradictory, but often quite sophisticated antisemitic ideas posed by Russian sociologists, historians, philosophers, theologians, political analysts, anthropologists, and literary critics.

Author Bio

Vadim Rossman is an independent scholar who lives in Austin, Texas. Sidney Monas is a professor emeritus of Slavic languages and history at the University of Texas at Austin.


"Well-researched and well-written book. . . . Rossman has done the scholarly community the real service . . . major reference book for years to come."—Robert Freedman, Slavic Review

"Excellent introduction to the subject . . . . Not only does Rossman provide here the first comprehensive account of the whole spectrum of post-Soviet intellectual anti-Semitism. He, in distinction to some authors in the field, takes the theories and concepts of the Russian publicists he analyzes more or less seriously. [With Rossman’s book] ultra-nationalism . . . is acknowledged as a subject of political science.  One hopes that it finds a wide readership not only among students of anti-Semitism and the history of ideas, but also among experts on international right-wing extremism and contemporary Russian politics and society."—Andreas Umland, European History Quarterly

"Thanks to Vadim Rossman, we now have a book that explains the anti-Jewish ideology that lies at the base of much Russian nationalist thought.  Professor Rossman's service to the study of anti-Semitism in Russia lies not just in his locating, reading, and summarizing Russian anti-Semitic writing between 1887 and 1997 - although this task alone would break weaker scholars - his main service is the organization of his material according to political programs. . . . This is a great book. . . . Rossman provides excellent summaries of literally hundreds of anti-Semitic books and articles, sketches valuable biographies of the pertinent writers and leaders, and discusses their intellectual parentage in early twentieth century Russian thought. . . . I encourage those interested in contemporary Russian politics, philosophy, and social thought to get hold of this extremely useful and timely book."—Brian Horowitz, Russian Review

"[A} welcome contribution to the analysis of a significant phenomenon on the Russian ideological and political scene. . . . Rossman’s book offers a valuable introduction to the variety of anti-Semitic ideological positions in contemporary Russia. The thematic organization of the book makes for good organization and easy reading, with the author's clear prose an additional bonus."—Veljko Vujacic, Canadian Slavonic Papers

"If one wants to understand the deep crisis of Russian national self-identification, or the problems of self-identification inflicted on Russian Jews. . . . Rossman's book is essential and invigorating reading."—Sidney Monas

Table of Contents

Foreword  vii
Preface  x
Introduction  1
1. Neo-Eureasianism: Leviathan, Behemoth, and the Jews  23
2. Antisemitism in Eurasioan Historiography: The Case of Lev Gumilev  72
3. National Bolshevism: The Secret Nature of Capitalism and the Economic Reforms  101
4. Neo-Slavophiles: Trotsky, Rothschild, and the Soul of Russia  143
5. National Orthodoxy: "Two Millennia of Religious War"  195
6. Community of Blood: The Aryan Myth Modernized  256
7. Conclusion: The Invisible Hand and the Secret Hand  281
Bibliography  290
Index  301