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Delicate, but "ever fresh" subject

 

Some time ago paper's staff has suggested to me to write the article about the Jew's anti-Russism* that is so called opposite to anti-Semitism.  I was shocked. First, I personally have never met it. Second,  I never have studied the problem between nationalities. Third, right now I have finished the book where one page was devoted the Russian Jews abroad given them  theirs due that very Jews in more extent than so called ethnic Russians = Russes  have been taken care of Russian culture and language. Finally, it is so delicate subject that whatever and however you write you will be guilty (as my grandfather said,  you are fool in hat or without one).

Shortly,  I was going to reject the proposal but it was happened to arise sensation around Zhirinovski who was "unmasked": it turns out he is not simple Zhirinovski but the real "precious stone" of Russia that is "Eidelshtein" on father-lawyer side named Wolf Isaakovich. The West (archives were discovered by the Western journalists) seems to be more exited than the Russians their self that is rather understandable as far as Vladimir Wolfovich threatened to annihilate this whole shrimpish West if he will continue to poke his nose into the Russian matters.  I understood afterwards that this theme -- Jews-Russes -- will be "ever fresh" and always actual at least in the context of the Russian deeds. That is why I decided to say some considerations running risk to be accused in "something." Just in case I warn not to claim to any truth.

This theme seems to have as minimum three slices: state level, level of everyday-communications and inside-personal level. Any sort of national-chauvinism, be it anti-Semitism or Zionism, represent the ideology being mighty means of politics. Though the  contradictions between nationalities have been stirred up not national relationships are solved but utilitarian political problems. From this point of view it absolutely doesn't matter of what nationality is this or those political leaders using Zionism or anti-Semitism. So, I am not surprised that Schicklgruber-Hitler used anti-Semitism that primarily served to him as a tool to robber the German Uncles-Solomon's for strong financing supporting of his party. It is attested by first "notes" of Rudolf Hess, then Himmler.  A nationwide politician can't robber without "theory," without "philosophy" in this case anti-Semitism which by the way existed far long before Hitler. It was simply "written" in contexts of theory of "high  German race," and then it began to live by own life.

Maybe a parallel is poor but Mr. Zhirinovski-Eidelstein -- it doesn't matter his real nationality in policy -- has the same task, and he acts in the similar social situation. It has happened that in time of Perestroika the Jews and Semi-Jews were getting rich because of their more adaptable capabilities to the market chaos in current Russia. It is not accidentally that the list of most rich persons in Russia is headed by my old acquaintance Konstantin Borovoi having made money at Russian commodity-raw materials stock.  As known, the Russes in majority don't like the rich in general, the rich Jews in particular. As reaction on "their" richness  different units of anti-Semitic profile like 'Pamyat' have emerged. About that one thing is curiously: though the Russes don't like the rich and as said Jews 'Pamyat' didn't become mass organization. That means the Russes  on the whole didn't respond to the primitive anti-Semitism. The Russes, however,  responded to Mr. Zhirinovski.  In spite of his antics this lad didn't lean on the anti-Semitism only, he enlarged the circle of "nation" enemies included virtually all non-ethnic-Russians. He has gotten success at that point. The reason is very simple. Though in the West there are no talk about that but in reality the most oppressed nation and republic in the former  USSR were the Russes and the Russian Federation. Compared with any nationalities. (If somebody doesn't understand this obviousness I explain it next time.) The Russes in first line appeared to be victims of Perestroika as well as in the former republics and within Russia itself. They are forced to accept the democracy and market, I should stress, of the Western standard that in the essence contradict to the soul of the Russ  peoples. Mr. Zhirinovski has been played using the Russ nationalism against all non-Russ nationalities including Jews. In his nationalism the Russes see the very way to safe own identity as Russes human. It is inevitable condition of present political gamble in Russia in which will soon play other leaders not only Zhirinovski. Whether we want it or not.

It is very hard for me to talk about everyday anti-Semitism or anti-Russism for as I told above I didn't study it as a scientific problem on the one side and never met it personally on the another side. I was born and grown up in province city Astrakhan where lived 37 nationalities. There never have been national problems by the way at present there is not too. The studying at the Leningrad University also didn't give me this kind of experience. As a student I, for example, was offended at Prof. Yevgeniya Pinus who seemed  to oppress me. At the same time I was always protected by Prof. David Goldberg. At that time I didn't think what nationality they were. In Moscow when I worked at the most prestige Institute of the USSR -- Institute of World Economy and International Relations -- I was defended myself against well-known Prof. of International Relations, Mr. Vladimir Gantman,  on another side I was backed by no less famous Prof. of Japonology Mr. Yakov Pevzner. True, I worked among those strata of intellectuals for which the national question had no significance.  Sure, I don't exclude that on more lower level this question has been existed.

To my mind, from many points of views the most interesting problem is how person itself feels own nationality. My personal experience (my father is Tatar with Azerbaijan roots, mother -- Russ  with White-Russian sources) prompt me that it doesn't depend on nationality but culture that you imbibed with the very first folk-tales. For example, my relatives on the father side had offended at me because I didn't feel myself as a Tatar. But how can I consider myself as a Tatar if I don't know either Tatar literature, folk-tales or theirs heroes. It is strange, though, I know their language that I have gotten remembered without any practice. Anyway I do nothing know about their culture. I, however, know about the Russian folk-tales, about tale the Ivanushka, tale Ivan the Prince, tale about Saltan the Czar and so on. In other words I know all Russian literature and culture. Maybe not very good but I know. To be precisely, these are in my brains and body as in brains and body of any Russians.

I am not positive I am right in my perceptions  I remind two persons who have shared the same position. These two are not common people, they are geniuses -- my favorite poet Henrih Heine and, in my opinion, peerless scientist Karl Marx. Perhaps accidentally but both were Dutch men on mother side and Jews -- on father side. Both had taken Christianity. As known Heine all his grown up life lived in France,  Marx  -- in England. None of them was getting either Frenchman or Englishman. Heine felt himself as German poet, Marx -- as German scientist. It is natural for me because they were grown up having fed the milk of German culture. It is also natural for me that such poets as Boris Pasternak, Eduard Bagritski, Yiosif Mandelshtam, or modern Russian bard Alexander Rosenbaum  represent  the Russian culture.

When somebody on somehow reasons has left own country and got abroad he must particularly strong feel native identity. Maybe I generalize but it seems to me. Take my case. I never thought in Russia what nationality I am. Here, in Canada, needn't to think about that. It turned out I am Russ  to the core. Not because I can't understand or adopt the Canadian culture. Sure, I will treat it greatly. But I will never be real Canadian. I will never be able to take coffee-jug in my hand taking mouthful  in motion. One hundred friends will always be more important for me than one hundred rubles or even one million dollars. A lot of things I will not be able to do because inside me ineradicable have been the Russian folk-tales as a hen the Ryaba, a fly the Tsokotuha and a cockroach the Tarakanishche. Because in my brains are not only well-known poets and writers from Pushkin to Chekhov, but also Tutchev, May. Sasha Chyornyi, Esenin and Moyakovski. Because only I, Russ, can understand Andrei Platonov which novels couldn't be translated in one language in the world. At the same time the Russian Jews can understand. Because they are also originated from Russian culture. That is why we are here all not Russes but Russians.

As to anti-Russism of Jews and Jews in general, Heine said: "The Jews are better than Christians if they are doing well, if bad they are worse." It would be difficult to express this point any better.

Finally. For a long time ago I mastered one idea: any nationalism reflects an inferiority complex. The nation which is repeated over and over again that she is super-nation, and this nation has been harking to that with pleasure, is defective. It means that something is wrong with it.

 *  In the West is used the word Russians that mean all nationalities having lived in the former Soviet Union or Russia. It is about 120 nationalities. But ethnic Russian is called Russkiye. In English it could be translated as Russ (pl. Russes).

 Published in "Russian Vancouver" № 6, 1994.