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540 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 2002
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who first exposed the horrors of the Stalinist gulag, is now attempting to tackle one of the most sensitive topics of his writing career - the role of the Jews in the Bolshevik revolution and Soviet purges.Why this book was banned is historically understandable, but still unsettling, given the era we are living in in which freedom of speech is now more than ever controlled by the thought police. Sad for our times, I would think.
In his latest book Solzhenitsyn, 84, deals with one of the last taboos of the communist revolution: that Jews were as much perpetrators of the repression as its victims. Two Hundred Years Together - a reference to the 1772 partial annexation of Poland and Russia which greatly increased the Russian Jewish population - contains three chapters discussing the Jewish role in the revolutionary genocide and secret police purges of Soviet Russia.
"...Yet this sentence should be divided into two: is it the case that to “call a spade a spade” and to speak frankly mean being an enemy?
Well, there is a Russian proverb: do not love the agreeable; love the disputers.
I invite all, including Jews, to abandon this fear of bluntness, to stop perceiving honesty as hostility. We must abandon it historically! Abandon it forever!
In this book, I “call a spade a spade”. And at no time do I feel that in doing so it is being hostile to the Jews. I have written more sympathetically than many Jews write about Russians.
The purpose of this book, reflected even in its title, is this: we should understand each other, we should recognize each other’s standpoint and feelings. With this book, I want to extend a handshake of understanding – for all our future.
But we must do so mutually!
This interweaving of Jewish and Russian destinies since the 18th century which has so explosively manifested itself in the 20th century, has a profound historical meaning, and we should not lose it in the future. Here, perhaps, lies the Divine Intent which we must strive to unravel – to discern its mystery and to do what must be done.
And it seems obvious that to know the truth about our shared past is a moral imperative for Jews and Russians alike."
"...Yes, it was perfectly unreasonable, on the part of the Jews, to join the revolutionary movement, which had ruined the course of normal life in Russia and, consequently, that of the Jews of Russia.
Yet, in the destruction of the monarchy and in the destruction of the bourgeois order—as, some time before, in the reinforcement of it—the Jews found themselves in the vanguard. Such is the innate mobility of the Jewish character, its extreme sensitivity to social trends and the advancement of the future.
It will not be the first time in the history of mankind that the most natural impulses of men will suddenly lead to monstrosities most contrary to their nature..."
"...Through many years of detailed studies I have spent much time trying to comprehend the essence of the February Revolution and the Jewish role in it. I came to this conclusion and can now repeat: no, the February Revolution was not something the Jews did to the Russians, but rather it was done by the Russians themselves, which I believe I amply demonstrated in The Red Wheel. We committed this downfall ourselves: our anointed Tsar, the court circles, the hapless high-ranking generals, obtuse administrators, and their enemies — the elite intelligentsia, the Octobrist Party, the Zemstvo,the Kadets, the Revolutionary Democrats, socialists and revolutionaries, and along with them, a bandit element of army reservists, distressingly confined to the Petersburg’s barracks. And this is precisely why we perished. True, there were already many Jews among the intelligentsia by that time, yet that is in no way abasis to call it a Jewish revolution. One may classify revolutions by their main animating forces,and then the February Revolution must be seen as a Russian National Revolution, or more precisely, a Russian ethnic Revolution. Though if one would judge it using the methodology of materialistic sociologists — asking who benefited the most, or benefited most quickly, or the most solidly and in the long term from the Revolution, — then it could be called otherwise, Jewish,for example. But then again why not German? After all, Kaiser Wilhelm initially benefited from it. But the remaining Russian Population got nothing but harm and destruction; however, that doesn’t make the Revolution “non-Russian.” The Jewish society got everything it fought for from the Revolution, and the October Revolution was altogether unnecessary for them, except for a small slice of young cutthroat Jews, who with their Russian Internationalist brothers accumulated an explosive charge of hate for the Russian governing class and burst forth to “deepen” the Revolution..."
"...But there are also many Jewish writers who, up to this day, either deny the Jews’ contribution to Bolshevism, or even reject the idea rashly, or—this is the most frequent—consider it only reluctantly.
However the fact is proven: Jewish renegades have long been leaders in the Bolshevik Party, heading the Red Army (Trotsky), the VTsIK (Sverdlov), the two capitals (Zinoviev and Kamenev), the Comintern (Zinoviev), the Profintern (Dridzo-Lozovski) and the Komsomol (Oscar Ryvkin, and later Lazar Shatskin, who also headed the International Communist Youth).
“It is true that in the first Sovnarkom there was only one Jew, but that one was Trotsky, the number two, behind Lenin, whose authority surpassed that of all the others...”
"...It is obvious that was present in the Russian national consciousness, as early as 1920, the idea of a national revenge on the part of Bolshevik Jews, since it even appeared in the papers of the Soviet government (it served as an argument to Kalinin).
Of course, Pasmanik’s refutation was right: “For the wicked and narrow-minded, everything could not be explained more simply— the Jewish Kahal has decided to seize Russia; or: it is the revengeful Judaism that settles its accounts with Russia for the humiliations undergone in the past.” Of course, we cannot explain the victory and the maintenance of the Bolsheviks.—But: if the pogrom of 1905 burns in the memory of your family, and if, in 1915, were driven out of the western territories, with the strikes of a whip, your brothers by blood, you can very well, three or four years later, want to avenge yourself in your turn with a whip or a revolver bullet. We are not going to ask whether Communist Jews consciously wanted to take revenge on Russia by destroying, by breaking the Russian heritage, but totally denying this spirit of vengeance would be denying any relationship between the inequality in rights under the tsar and the participation of Jews in Bolshevism, a relationship that is constantly evoked.
And this is how I. M. Biekerman, confronted with “the fact of the disproportionate participation of the Jews in the work of barbaric destruction”, to those who recognise the right of the Jews to avenge past persecutions, refutes this right: “the destructive zeal of our co-religionists is blamed on the State, who, by its vexations and persecutions, would have pushed the Jews into the revolution”; well no, he says, for “it is to the manner in which an individual reacts to the evil suffered that he is distinguished from another, and the same is true of a community of men."
"You must understand. The leading Bolsheviks who took over Russia were not Russians. They hated Russians. They hated Christians. Driven by ethnic hatred they tortured and slaughtered millions of Russians without a shred of human remorse. The October Revolution was not what you call in America the ‘Russian Revolution.’ It was an invasion and conquest over the Russian people. More of my countrymen suffered horrific crimes at their bloodstained hands than any people or nation ever suffered in the entirety of human history. It cannot be understated. Bolshevism was the greatest human slaughter of all time. The fact that most of the world is ignorant of this reality is proof that the global media itself is in the hands of the perpetrators.”