Staunton, April 2 – The “well-organized” campaign of Internet posts blaming the Jews for the Kemerovo tragedy suggests, Igor Eidman says, that the Russian authorities are again as at the start of the 20th century seeking to stir up anti-Semitism “in order to shift popular dissatisfaction from the authorities to the Jews.”
In a Kasparov commentary entitled “Blood Libel at Kemerovo,” the Russian commentator for Deutsche Welle argues that in Russia today, the Internet is playing a role analogous to that of the secret police publishing houses at the end of the imperial period when the Black Hundreds were subsidized by the regime (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5AC1BE6A8561F).
Tragically, he points out, “anti-Semitism [has often been] the last card of the dictatorship.” And it can be deployed even when the leader of the state is not personally anti-Semitic. Thus, under Mikhail Gorbachev, the KGB sought to exploit anti-Semitic feelings in the course of the Kremlin’s campaign against Boris Yeltsin and the rise of the Russian republic.
Vladimir Putin is not known to be an anti-Semite, Eidman says; “but the very logic of his quasi-fascist regime is leading to the rebirth in one or another form of state anti-Semitism,” with hatred to the Jews pushed not by tsarist-style broadsides but by Internet trolls and even some writers in “’respectable’” pro-Kremlin publications like Komsomolskaya pravda.
If the Putin regime begins to crack, he continues, “the Jews again can be assigned the role of those guilty for all problems.” That is because “anti-Semitism is the last card of a dictatorship” and what the powers that be are inclined to turn to “when other means no longer prove effective.”
But those who exploit this ancient hatred should remember that anti-Semitism will not save them.