Alexander Solzhenitsyn, “200 Years Together”

Solzhenitsyn’s last book, 200 Years Together, about the relationship between Jews and Russians in Russia, is actually an excellent and largely factual book. The Jews, who have no money and power at all (and if you say they do, you’re an antisemite), somehow managed to to huge their vast nonexistent money and power to completely prevent this book from being published in English.

An English translation appeared pretty quickly, but it was almost impossible to get a publisher in the US due to pressure from helpless and immiserated Jews. They finally found one, but then no bookstore would carry it due to pressure from powerless impoverished Jews. I believe you can somehow get it online now though if you look around enough.

While it is true technically that Jews go back in Russia all the way to the 1000 AD, they didn’t arrive in any significant numbers until they built up a community in Odessa. A strong Jewish presence has been noted in Odessa for a very long time. I’m sure a lot of them stayed during the USSR, which was a very Jew-friendly country. After after Ukraine went independent, a lot of Jews stayed, especially in the antisemitic Western Ukraine where many of them traditionally lived.

This area is the home of the former Pale of Settlement which had gone back and forth between Poland and Russia for a long time. I’d always heard what is apparently the typical Jewish “gloom and doom” history of the Pale which was that the Czar threw all the Jews in the Pale to keep them away from everybody else, but with some modern readings, I’ve come to believe that he actually put them there for their own protection.

People have it all wrong. The pogroms were not set up by the Czars in most cases. As in Europe, the Jews typically had a tight relationship with the royal ruling class. The Jews were an elite or elite-adjacent group. Even during the era of expulsions, Jews lived better, healthier and longer lives and had more money and better material resources than most Gentiles who after all were groaning under the   back weight of serfdom thrust upon them.

It was similiar in Russia. Sure there were some antisemitic Czars, but most of them were pro-Jewish. The people leading the pogroms were often poor peasants.

Jews loaned money at exorbitant interest rates (in case I heard it was 4

However right around that time, the Jews who had taverns all over the Pale sold them vodka to get through the cold winter. As you might imagine, the peasants drank up all of the profits from their harvest and now they were in even deeper to the Jews. The Jews walked away with the loot both times.

I’m not defending pogroms, which were horrible, and most Jews were not money-lenders. I’m just providing some cultural context here.

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