I read Lucien Wolf’s enlightening 1921 book: THE MYTH OF THE JEWISH MENACE IN WORLD AFFAIRS or THE TRUTH ABOUT THE FORGED PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION as part of my research into the correlation of eschatology with conspiracy theory and anti-Semitism. This is by far the most authoritative debunking of The Protocols which I have read. You should read it too (it’s free at Google Books and may take you only 30 minutes).
In the controversy which is surrounding the widely condemned recent Russia Insider article (cached version) : “It’s Time to Drop the Jew Taboo”, I feel that calling attention to the very nature of modern anti-Semitism as having been in large part engineered by Russia is important. In this same vein, it is also important to highlight how the article is just another rehashing of the idea that being conscious of anti-Semitism as a real thing is some kind of racism.
For a website like Russia Insider which purports to represent a Russian viewpoint, and for an article on rebutting the fight against anti-Semitism which deeply calls upon a historical perspective, Charles Bausman’s screed comes up woefully short on both dimensions for insightfulness. Allow me to enlighten you.
Wolf calls The Protocols an intentionally politicized “pogrom-weapon”, derived specifically from Russian autocratic philosophy and originally written by the Russian Orthodox government agent Serge Nilus for the Tsarist secret police (Okhrana). Wolf argues convincingly:
“Now, whence comes the autocratic philosophy he puts into the mouths of his Jewish Elders? It is exclusively a Russian doctrine. Nilus knows this very well, and he does not waste time in the hopeless task of finding counterblasts to democracy in Jewish political literature. He goes straight to the fountain-head of Russian obscurantism in the person of the late Procurator of the Holy Synod, Konstantine Petrovich Pobyedonoszeff! This expedient has the appearance almost of a practical joke, for Pobyedonoszeff was not only a pure Muscovite and a fanatical Greek Christian, but so conspicuous an anti-Semite and oppressor of Jews, Stundists, and other Russian allogenes that he earned for himself the sobriquet of “the modern Torquemada.” Nilus’s Jewish Antichrist is, in short, nothing more than the austere super-Christian Procurator masquerading, like Edward Alleyn’s Barabas, in a false nose and a prodigious property beard.” (p.31/32)
Wolf also makes a compelling case for significant anti-Semitic mythmaking (and Trotsky-demonizing) around the role of Jewish leadership of the Bolsheviks, focusing on statistics:
“The anti-Semitic impression that Bolshevism is largely Jewish is, however, not altogether a bad dream, but rather an optical delusion which has been maliciously exaggerated.” (50) “The strength of Bolshevism was always in an inverse ratio to the strength of the local Jewish population” (48).
In regards to the wide belief that Jewish Bolsheviks had disproportionately held leadership positions, “What are the facts? The only officials in Soviet Russia who are authorised to hold the rank of People’s Commissars are the members of the Cabinet. These number 17, and of them 16 are indisputably Gentiles, while only one—Trotsky—is of Jewish birth.” (50)
Given that Bausman has made a point of graphically emphasizing the role of Jewish Bolsheviks shutting down Easter services in the opening sequences of his article, we can see how it this article does in fact conform to a twisted anti-Semitic and perhaps modern pro-Russian Orthodox view.
Now, it is perhaps easy for you to see why well before Lucien Wolf wrote this book that he had become one of the main enemies of the Tsarists in England. But it is also clear he had no illusions about the return to long-standing traditions of anti-Semitism in Russia in the years following the October Revolution.
Today, as we consider that Russia Insider may be funded by Kremlin-friendly elements with close ties to the Orthodox Church, all of this is very important perspective. The Orthodox Church, persecuted during Communism, was historically the state-controlled tool of the Russian monarch.
Armed with this perspective, you can see why figures like the late Metropolitan Ioann of St. Petersburg who has been associated with modern pro-Tsarist, antiglobalist, and anti-Semitic movements might have been eager to resurrect the political perspective of an analogical forebear, the staunch monarchist Konstantine Petrovich Pobyedonoszeff.
The Protocols achieved pseudo-religious status and could even be purchased in the 1990’s and 2000’s in Russian churches. Can any other explanation for why they have pseudo-religious significance in Russia make sense, except that such an intentional promotion of anti-Semitism serves autocratic totalitarian interests yet again?
All of this is relatively easy to connect to the perspective of Aleksandr Dugin as well, who was close to the Pamyat movement and ran the Elementy journal which Ioann published in arguing for theocratic autocracy whilst censored by more mainstream outlets in the 1990’s. (Both of these figures are modern representatives of the Tsarist “Black Hundreds” movement which also influenced The Protocols (see Lutoskansky and Butmi as similar figures to Nilus and Pobyedonoszeff).)
To be clear the Russian state officially disavows anti-Semitism and Ioann apparently antagonized the 1990’s Church hierarchy (including the former Patriarch, Alexei II — who was a one-time KGB agent).
However, as Russia turns again officially autocratic and nationalistic under current Patriarch (and former KGB agent) Kirill I, the influence of figures like Ioann and Dugin cannot be ruled out as a significant driving force of the modern Kremlin. Nor can the potential significance of The Protocols as a ‘greatest hits’ of the Russian secret services. (There is a clear connection as well between the anti-globalist positions of Russia, the Orthodox Church, and classical anti-Semitism.)
Russia Insider, yeah right. Now you have the inside scoop scratching the surface on Russian Orthodox anti-Semitism. Should Russia Insider be the one to tell us to stop caring?
(You can download the Lucien Wolf book directly from Google Play via the e-book link here – I also posted it to the site where you can download as a pdf, assuming I don’t get a takedown notice: The_Myth_of_the_Jewish_Menace_in_World_A)