Jewish Dualism in 20-th Century Russia
29 April 1998
[From Instauration, February 1998]
Writing in the controversial opposition newspaper, Zavtra, Russian political analyst Alexander Dugin attempts to explain -- objectively and analytically -- how and why in 20th century Russia it was possible for Russian and international Jewry to establish the Communist regime and later to destroy and replace it with the current capitalist government.
Dismissing both anti-Semtiism and Zionism as meaningless emotional attitudes that explain nothing. Dugin examines Jewish political activities in modern Russia as the product of the Jewish psyche and intellect, evolved over th millennia and characterized by its complexity and diversity. Both anti-Semites and Zionists, Dugin emphasizes, delude themselves by assuming that jews, whevever and whenever they may reside, somehow share an innate, subconscious unity in outlook and purpose. This false, even dangerous, premise blinds its adherents to the obvious diversity in Jewish thinking, a diversity, Dugin insists, that manifests itself in a recurrent and persistent dualism.
Dugin credits Eurasian writer Yakov Bromberg with being one of the first to define the dualism tat divides jews into two major categories, which he refers to as Eastern (Eurasian) and Western, the two mainstreams of Jewish thought. The Eastern or Eurasian group embraces the Hasidic, traditionalist philosophy characterized by mysticism, religious fanaticism, extreme idealism, sacrifice and messianism, coupled with scorn for materialism, greed and rationalism. Bromberg is joined by Mikhail Agursky in the view that this Oriental streak in the Jewish mentality welcomed the Bolshevik Revolution and communism, sincerely believing a better world order was in the making.
Bromberg describes the second mainstream of the Jewish psyche -- the Western -- as being essentially rationalistic and bourgeois, espousing Maimonides, the Talmudists, assimilation and the Rabbinate, while rejecting the cabalistic, mystical, exclusionist aspects of Eastern Jewry, together with its false Messiahs and misdirected messianism. Foremost in opposition to the Hasidim, Dugin recalls, were the Mitnaggedim of the 18th and 19th century, who advocated an intellectual, legalistic approach to Judaism and strongly opposed the emotional, mystical leanings of the Hasidim. Although not sharing the Eastern Jews frenzied support of the February Revolution, the Western Jews also supported it, seeing it as modern, progressive and rational.
Summing up the Bromberg-Agursky identification of Jewish factions, Dugin writes: "Jewry, while essentially an ethno-religious entity, nonetheless is divided into two camps that in certain situations not only differ one from the other but can be hostile to each other as well." A confluence of the two mainstreams may occur at certain critical times as, for example, during the "Russian" revolution.
Many Jews, Dugin continues, saw in Bolshevism their first opportunity since Biblical times to leave their ghettos and establish their own particular world. Bolshevism was to be Jewish messianism realized. To accomplish this, the Jews were perfectly aware of a similar Russian messianism, also built on religious emotionalism and best expressed by the Russian proverb, "Moscow is the third Rome and there will not be a fourth." Superficially, Jewish Hasidic fundamentalism and Russian spirituality would seem to have nothing in common with atheistic communism. In actuality, however, Russian-Jewish messianism combined with communism to create a secular religion.
One ought not think that the suffusion of Jewish and Russian messianic fervor and religiosity in building a materialistic utopia would have precluded the use, and even the institutionalization, of mass terror. Religious wars, as history demonstrates, are often the bloodiest.
Dugin gives several historical examples where the divergent factions in Jewish thinking clashed. Considering Marx a typical Eastern messianic Jew and Lassalle a typical Western rationalistic Jew, he restates the bitter "anti-Semitic" criticism levied by the former against the latter in his article, "On the Jewish Question." The truth is, some of the most telling criticism of Jews has been made by other Jews.
An equally revealing clash between the two schools of Jewish thought occurred in medieval times when the Zoharian cabalists converted to Christianity en masse to distance themselves from the Talmudists, whom the Zoharians accused of having shed innocent Christian blood. These various historical episodes should provide, Dugin believes, sufficient evidence to show that Jewry's internal clashes, caused by an underlying dualism or dichotomy in Jewish thinking, are nothing new in Russia. Its latest manifestation is the transition from communism to capitalism with Jews prominent in both movements. To quote Dugin:
The spiritual conflict of the medieval contemplative mystics, the gnostics, the myth-makers, the fanatics and the clairvoyants against the religious moralists, the advocates of a pure rite and religious formalism gradually and inconspicuously manifested itself again in modern times in the confrontation between socialists and capitalists, between the Bolsheviks and the liberal democrats.
Because most Jews were united in their opposition to the Tsarist government, the convergence of the two sometimes warring factions in supporting, indeed instigating, the February Revolution was logical and proved triumphal. Dugin explains:
The Jewish Bolsheviks invested all their energies, all their talents, all their spiritual force into th ecreation of the might Soviet State, an empire of social justice, the Eurasian heartland of continental geopolitics. And for decades, numerous elements in the Jewish diaspora in Europe, America, and Asia, emigrants from the same Eastern, Eurasian religious and mystical milieu, became the structural support of the Soviets, true agents of influence of Great Eurasia, the apostles of Bolshevik messianism.
The year 1948, Dugin insists, became another critical point in the history of the Jewish Eastern Eurasian faction. In that year, Stalin came to the conclusion that the establishment of the state of Israel, which the Soviet government had at first supported, was a mistake and that Israel in the hands of bourgeois Western capitalists was a threat to Bolshevism. Moreover, Zionist tendencies were spreading in the Soviet Union itself. It didn't take Stalin long to take steps, some actually serious missteps, to curb Jewish, and not just Zionist, influence. Previous to this point in the history of the Soviet Union, Stalin had never shown any hostility to Jews per se. Quite the opposite, for the first three decades of communism Jews, presumably of the more fanatical Eastern messianic type, were prominent in all aspects of Soviet life.
According to Dugin, the elimination of the Jewish Anti-fascist Committee, which was composed exclusively of Eurasian types loyal to Lavrenty Beria, was a fatal mistake and the death-blow in the eyes of convinced Jewish Bolsheviks to the messianic, utopian idea of world communism. Although Beria put an immediate end to the so-called "Jewish Doctors Plot" and Stalin's latter-day anti-Semitism, it was too late.
Some Russian historians, Oleg Platonov, for example, attribute Stalin's late-blooming anti-Semitism to other factors. Platonov maintains that Russian troops during WWII had, among other things, "liberated" German files dealing with the extent and power of Freemasonry and the relationship between masonry, Jews and Zionism. When read by Stalin, they presumably undermined his confidence in the loyalty of Soviet Jews. Eventually he began to suspect them of duplicity and treachery.
Gradually, however, whatever the causes, around 1950 ethnic Russians and Ukrainians began to replace Jews in the higher echelons of Soviet life, culture and government. It was at this time, Dugin believes, that the spark and impetus of the revolution went out of Bolshevism and stagnation began to set in. In the Soviet Jewish community itself, the Eastern Hasidic-type zealots gradually disappeared while the Western Jewish rationalists were in the ascendancy. The stereotypical Jewish Bolshevik was replaced by Jews of the Talmudic, capitalist cast.
Although Eastern Eurasian Jewry, Dugin concludes, is currently being squeezed between anti-Semitic Russian nationalists and Western Talmudic capitalist Jewry, it has not been a stranger to adversity in the past and can be expected to ride out the present situation without too much difficulty.
1. Zavtra, Nov. 25, 1997. Zavtra is the main newspaper opposed to Yeltsin's "reform" program in russia. It's contributors may best be described as national Communists or Socialists, most of whom are Communists of the old school. All believe Russia has been sold out to international banking interests.
2. Alexander Dugin's most recent books are The Principles of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia; The Metaphysics of Good News; The Conservative Revolution; and Eurasian Mysteries. He identifies with the Eastern (Eurasian) Jewish faction.
3. Yakov Abramovich Bromberg is the author of Russia, the West, and Jewry, written in 1931.
4. Mikhail Agursky, a well-known historian of the Soviet period, has written: Contemporary Russian Nationalism (1982); The Third Rome (1987); A Millerarian Pilgrim's Progress through Russia (1989).
5. The author uses the term "dualism" to refer to the different Weltanschauungs of the two factions in Jewry. When the two mainstreams agree or converge on a particular topic, the term dualism is perfectly correct. However, in those cases where the two mainstreams diverge and oppose each other, it might be preferable to refer to a "dichotomy."
6. Platonov, Oleg A., Russia's Crown of Thorns, Moscow, 1995.