In Russia, Anti-Semitism Has Long Been the Opiate of the Intellectuals

Even though the author tries to downplay it, a new book shows how deeply rooted anti-Semitism was in Soviet ideology.


Observation
Aug. 25 2020
About the author

Gary Saul Morson is the Lawrence B. Dumas professor of the arts and humanities at Northwestern University and the author of, among other books, Anna Karenina in Our Time (Yale).


In his 1938 article “Christianity and Anti-Semitism,” the Russian Orthodox philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev observed that “for us Christians, the Jewish question does not consist in knowing whether the Jews are good or bad, but whether we are good or bad.” Berdyaev, a fervent believer in what he called “the Russian idea,” here acknowledged a stain on the Russian conscience. In his view, the Russian psyche harbored a deep-seated hatred of Jews that has had disastrous consequences not only for the Jews but also for the Russian soul.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, History & Ideas, Soviet Jewry, Soviet Union