“Stalin`s Willing Executioners”? Girin vs. MacDonald

by Eugene Girin:

Russian Mafia Comes To Upstate New York


"Stalin`s Willing Executioners"?

review of Yuri Slezkine`s 

The Jewish Century
, Dr. Kevin MacDonald
accused the Jews of being responsible for the worst
aspects of Soviet communism:  the Red Terror,
Collectivization, and Stalin`s bloody Purges. 

As an ex-Soviet Jew and past

to VDARE.COM, and as someone who agrees
with most of VDARE.COM`s positions, I was
surprised to see this canard, which usually circulates
among Russian anti-Semitic cranks, be given credence by
an American professor who poses as a serious researcher
of evolutionary psychology.

MacDonald uses anecdotal evidence and out-of-context
citations to assert that the Soviet secret police

and Gulag administration were all
overwhelmingly Jewish and that the Jews “to such a
large extent ran the USSR.”
  This is utterly false.

But according to Slezkine in The Jewish Century,
which MacDonald was reviewing, “the vast majority of
Bolshevik party members (72 percent in 1922) were ethnic
 The most overrepresented ethnic
group was the Latvians.  Only 2.6 percent of Bolshevik party
members in revolutionary St. Petersburg and only 5.2
percent of Communists in the Soviet Union in the year
1922 and were Jewish. 

In 1920, only 9.1
percent of all Cheka operatives were Jews and in 1924,
Jews made up only 8.5 percent of the central apparatus
of the Soviet secret police. 

I do agree that a
tragically large number of Eastern European Jews—in the
purely ethnic sense, of course—actively supported
communism. Two of my great-grandfathers were among the
first communists in Poland and Romania. (One later spent
eight years in Stalin`s Gulag and the other died of
tuberculosis in exile in Central Asia.  So much for the
Red Dream.) But these
figures are hardly characteristic of a Jewish-dominated

Kevin MacDonald also demonstrates his utter ignorance of
Soviet Jewish historical realities when he argues that
ex-Jews like



, and the thousands of Cheka operatives and
Bolshevik party members retained their Jewish identity
and “Eastern European shtetl culture.”

In fact, Jewish Bolsheviks were simply apostates who
turned their back on their faith and people.  Some of
them were simply violent scoundrels without any sense of
ethnic pride and belonging, shunned and despised by
their community.  Others were brutal
revolutionaries—like Trotsky who refused to bury his
father in a Jewish cemetery, refused to meet with Jewish
delegations, and violently persecuted Russian Zionists.
“I am not a Jew and have nothing in common with the
Jewish people,”
he said around 1919.

Jewish Communists viewed Judaism as a shameful relic of
the pre-Soviet past that had to be eradicated. 
Thousands of synagogues were desecrated and closed down
only to be re-opened as athletic societies, social
clubs, and warehouses.  Rabbis were arrested and
imprisoned with Christian clergymen in the horrid

Solovki prison camp
.  There, they were housed in the
same barracks as common criminals.

In 1918, the Ukrainian rabbinical congress, which met in
Odessa, issued a

—a declaration of excommunication—against
Trotsky and other prominent Jewish Bolsheviks.  The
famous Jewish sage

Chofetz Chaim
characterized communism as the
“destruction of the soul”
and in 1927,

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson
, the leader of the

Chabad Lubavitch movement
, was arrested by the Soviet
secret police and only pressure from abroad prevented
the Soviet authorities from sending him to a labor

Thousands of Jews were murdered, raped, assaulted, and
robbed by units of the Red Army in the Ukraine and
Belarus during the Russian Civil War (1918-22) and the
Russo-Polish War (1919-20). In the town of Gluhov, Red
soldiers murdered over a hundred Jews, shot the rabbi,
looted the synagogue, and tore up the Torah scrolls.  In
another Ukrainian town of Novgorod-Seversky, Red Army
soldiers slaughtered eighty-eight Jews and maimed many
others.  The anti-Semitic brutality of the Red Army is
magnificently depicted in Isaac Babel`s haunting novel

Red Cavalry

Large numbers of Russian Jews were arrested, tortured,
exiled, and executed by the Bolsheviks for either
belonging to “enemy parties” like the Mensheviks,
the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and the Kadets,  to
“enemy classes”
like the merchants and the
intellectuals.  At least 200,000 Russian Jews fled
Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution and the Red

Russian Jews were active contributors to the
anti-Bolshevik struggle.  A Jewish Socialist

Fanya Kaplan
attempted to assassinate Lenin and was
executed by the Bolsheviks.  Dozens of Jews served in
the White (anti-Bolshevik) armies and one of them, David
Pasmanik, organized the Jewish Anti-Communist Committee
in Paris.  The army of the anti-Bolshevik

Western Ukrainian People`s Republic
in Galicia and
Bukovina had a Jewish detachment of 1,200 soldiers under
the command of Solomon Leinberg and dozens of Jews
served in the guerrilla forces of the Ukrainian
anti-Bolshevik anarchist

Nestor Makhno
.  The legendary Ukrainian Jew, Lev (“Lyovka”)
Zadov was Makno`s counter-intelligence chief.

Contrary to Kevin MacDonald`s brazen assertions,
Communist rule was a tragedy for Russian Jews.  We were
deprived of our traditions, culture, language, and
communal cohesiveness.  The Russian Jewish community has
been ravaged by assimilation, intermarriage, and
indifference because of Soviet rule.  Many Russian Jews
lost all sense of ethno-religious identity and became
perpetual outsiders, unaccepted by neither Jews nor

Kevin MacDonald`s
claims about the disproportional role of Jews in the
worst excesses of Russian communism betray a dark
obsession with the Jews, an obsession that harms and
discredits real American conservatism and the
immigration-reform movement.

Girin [
him] immigrated (legally!) from the Republic of Moldova
in 1994 at the age of 10.
He is
a student at CUNY Baruch College and has been published
by VDARE.COM, Front Page Magazine, and other websites.

Kevin MacDonald responds:

[Recently by Kevin
And The Unmentionable Question Of Ethnic Interests

Fundamentally, Eugene
Girin does not like Yuri Slezkine`s findings. In
response, seeking to make these conclusions easier to
dismiss, he adopts the stratagem of trying to convince
his readers that I have misrepresented Slezkine. But I
did not.

No one is saying that
all Jews supported the USSR or denying that
Jews suffered from the regime, even at the
height of Jewish power. But Slezkine provides
overwhelming evidence that Jews constituted an elite in
the USSR and that the great majority of Soviet Jews
supported Bolshevism and benefited from it—evidence that
fits well with previously existing data that I have
summarized in

my writing
on this topic.

Girin provides some
Slezkine figures on Jewish representation in early
Bolshevism to suggest that Jews did not play a
particularly outstanding role. However, he fails to note
how Slezkine contextualizes these findings. After all,
the title of Slezkine`s book is The Jewish
 It would be odd to find that Slezkine`s
real view is that Jews were not much of a factor in
arguably the most significant upheaval of the 20th

For example, Girin
quotes Slezkine that “the vast majority of Bolshevik
party members (72 percent in 1922) were ethnic
But he fails to note Slezkine`s basic
argument that the Jews formed an elite within the
Bolshevik movement: Jews formed 40 percent of the top elected officials in the army, 5 of the 12
members of the Bolshevik Central Committee that voted to
launch an armed insurrection in 1917, and much else (see Slezkine, pp. 175–180).

Jews did not form a
particularly high percentage of the Cheka, says Slezkine,
“but even in the Cheka, Bolsheviks of Jewish origin
combined ideological commitment with literacy in ways
that set them apart and propelled them upward”

Slezkine`s views on
this matter are entirely compatible with

my previously published analysis
of the Jewish role
in Bolshevism: Jews formed an indispensable elite that
was a necessary condition for the success of Bolshevism.
(Even this is an understatement, as argued in the longer
Occidental Quarterly

of my VDARE.COM article.)

Historian Albert
Lindemann makes the same point in his book

Esau`s Tears

“Citing the
absolute numbers of Jews

[within the Bolshevik
movement], or their percentage of the whole, fails to
recognize certain key if intangible factors: the
assertiveness and often dazzling verbal skills of Jewish
Bolsheviks, their energy, and their strength of
conviction” (p. 429).

There is no claim that
all or even most Bolsheviks were Jews.

Jews formed less than
five percent of the Russian population at the time of
the Revolution, and they were underrepresented in the
major urban areas of Moscow and Leningrad prior to the
Revolution because of the Pale of Settlement laws. But
having a very large, even dominant influence despite
forming a small percentage of the population has been

a theme of Jewish history
, most notably in Eastern
and Central Europe prior to the Revolution. The case of
Revolutionary Russia once again underscores the
importance of philosemitism and building alliances for
the Jews. This has been typically necessary in Diaspora
situations in order to advance their perceived

Girin makes the outrageous claim that I argued that
“ex-Jews like



Kamenev, and the thousands of Cheka
operatives and Bolshevik party members retained their
Jewish identity and `Eastern European shtetl
[his emphasis]“”

But in fact I
explicitly granted the possibility that they did not.
And I certainly did not say that Jewish Bolsheviks
retained their Eastern European shtetl culture
in toto
, but that they had retained some aspects of
traditional Jewish identity, specifically the ones I
listed: a strong sense of estrangement from non-Jewish
society, a fear and hatred of peasants, hostility toward
the Czarist upper class, and a very negative attitude
toward Christianity. 

Since this is a major
issue on which I do not agree with Slezkine, I spend
almost eight pages on the issue of the Jewish identity
of Jewish Bolsheviks in the longer Occidental
review (pp. 75–82). I would urge readers
to look at this material as well as Chapter 3 of my

The Culture of Critique

And in the end, as
Slezkine actually says (p. 286), by the time of World
War II most Jews

“knew that they
were, in some sense, Jews. They may never have been to a
synagogue, seen a menorah, heard Yiddish or Hebrew,
tasted gefilte fish or indeed met their grandparents.
But they knew they were Jews in the Soviet sense, which
was also—in essence—the Nazi sense. They were Jews by

As for Girin`s other
comments, they essentially contradict Slezkine`s
argument that in fact the USSR was a Jewish haven and
that Jews formed an elite until the post-World War II
era, when issues related to Zionism and popular and
official anti-Semitism combined to lessen Jewish power.

The fact that Jews were an elite in the USSR shouldn`t
be a surprise. As Slezkine and others have documented,
Jews were an economically and culturally dominant elite
throughout Eastern and Central Europe too, and they soon
became an elite in the U.S. after the massive upsurge in
Jewish immigration beginning in the late 19th

Nor should it be surprising that there is a massive
taboo surrounding Jewish involvement in the most
murderous regime in history. After all, despite the fact
that Jews constitute less than 3 percent of the U.S.
population, the Holocaust has become a cultural icon as

a direct result
of Jewish activism and influence in
the media, Israel has become

a sacred cow
in American politics, and the

role of Jewish organizations
in helping unleash
massive multiethnic immigration into the U.S., as well

the current American involvement in
Iraq, goes unmentioned in public debate.

Kevin MacDonald [email him] is Professor of Psychology at California State
University-Long Beach.