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Kat POlakow: A Political Biography of Lazar Kaganovich (Anthem Series on Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies) byE. A. Rees;Lazar Kaganovich: The Chief of Stalin’s Willing Executioners. Implications for HOLODOMOR, The Great Terror, and Katyn Massacre

jan peczkis|Friday, May 4, 2018

This work presents a great deal of information not only on leading Communist personages, but also on the functioning of the Soviet Union. I focus on a few main themes:




THE JEWISHNESS OF LAZAR KAGANOVICH

Author Rees repeatedly refers to Kaganovich as a deracinated Jewish revolutionary (e. g, p. 215, 268, 275). However, a better term might be the NON-JEWISH JEW, in accordance with the Jewish Communist Isaac Deutscher. [See my review.] In any case, the young Lazar Kaganovich had attended a Jewish school (KHEDER)(p. 3). Well into adulthood, Lazar openly identified with his Jewishness. Thus, in 1916, at the age of 23, he worked in a factory under the name of Boris Kosherovich (Yiddish-kosher), indicative of pride in his Jewish background, according to Rees. (p. 8). In later years, Kaganovich strongly opposed Zionism and other forms of Jewish separatism, but, then again, so did various other assimilationist Jews.

One common exculpation for Jews in Communism is their professed idealism, their professed identification with the disinherited, and their professed desire for a more just world. In the case of Kaganovich, at least, the motives were almost the exact opposite. Rees quips, “Kaganovich already in 1919 advanced a Machiavellian conception of how Bolshevik state power should be organized. He displayed a disregard for democracy.” (p. 275).

Let us put Kaganovich in broader context. Leading Jewish Communists showed different degrees of extremism in their Communist radicalism. For instance, during the 1918-1921 civil war, Zinoviev called for the extermination of the bourgeoisie as a class. (p. 23). In addition, during this time, Kaganovich endorsed Trotsky’s controversial policy of shooting military commanders and commissars for breaches of discipline. (p. 27).

Author Rees has some strong words about Kaganovich, portraying him a selfish opportunist, “Other examples of Kaganovich’s cowardice—his failure to defend his brother Mikhail, Mikoyan’s claim of his loss of nerve in 1941, his failure to resist the anti-Semitic course of Stalin in the later years—fit the stereotyped image of the ambitious but cowardly, self-serving Jew.” (p. 258).

NO ERRAND-BOY TO STALIN: THE POWER AND SIGNIFICANCE OF LAZAR KAGANOVICH

We sometimes hear the exculpation that Jewish Communists were not all that important in the scheme of things. [Much the same was claimed by Adolf Eichmann in his “cog in the machine” and “banality of evil” dissimulations.] Nothing could be further from the truth.

Rees identifies Lazar Kaganovich as the most prominent Jew in Soviet public life (p. 246), and as a person who was indispensable to Stalin in the 1930’s. (p. 247). Rees also says that Kaganovich, “contributed more than any other individual to shaping the [Stalin] regime in its formative years.” (p. 271). Between 1930 and 1935, Kaganovich was---according to Rees—“a figure of enormous power” who, moreover, appeared to be a possible successor to Stalin. (p. 273).

------The following [except for the titles in CAPS, and explanatory comments in brackets] are direct quotes------

KAGANOVICH RESPONSIBLE FOR THE UKRAINIAN FAMINE-GENOCIDE (HOLODOMOR)

Kaganovich, as general secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party, was a forthright exponent of forcible grain seizure. He now defended a policy of exploiting the peasants, a policy which, when advocated by [fellow Jews] Zinoviev and Trotsky, had had denounced only in November 1926. (p. 83).

He [Kaganovich] was the principal author of the Urals-Siberian method of grain procurement of 1929-30 that acted as a prelude to forcible collectivization. He facilitated the mass deportation of the kulaks and played a key role in expulsion of Kuban peasants in 1932. In the years of famine he was the most vocal supporter of Stalin’s draconian law of 7 August 1932… (p. 272).

[Note that Kaganovich was at the height of his power as Stalin’s deputy, in 1930-1935. (p. 123). This covered the years of the HOLODOMOR].

KAGANOVICH AND THE COMMUNIST WAR AGAINST THE KULAKS

It was in the context of collectivization and dekulakization that Stalin (the Man of Steel) applied to him the appellation ‘Iron Lazar’. (p. 209).

Kaganovich, in a lengthy report to the plenum [January 1933], castigated the kulaks, offering them as scapegoats for the catastrophic failure of official policy…Only by breaking kulak resistance had it been possible to consolidate the KOLKHOZY, he claimed, thus confounding the direst warnings of Rykov, Tomsky and Bukharin, who had wished to see a slackening of the class struggle. [pp. 111-112; See also p. 96, about Lenin, already by 1916 dissenting from Bukharin, and arguing against any soon-to-be withering-away of the state.]

At the XVII Party Congress, in January-February 1934, Kaganovich described the “revolution from above” as “the greatest revolution which human history has known, a revolution which smashed the old economic structure and created a new KOLKHOZ system on the base of the socialist industrialization of the country." (p. 115).

SOVIET COMMUNISM GROWS EVER MORE ONEROUS—THANKS TO STALIN AND KAGANOVICH

Under the pressure of the radicalization of policies after 1928-30, the Bolshevik party-state evolved through a series of cycles of repression, culminating in the Terror of 1937-8. But Stalin managed the terror and was prescient enough to check these processes when they jeopardized the regime’s survival. Kaganovich was Stalin’s willing accomplice. He played a key role in promoting the Stalin cult and in developing the Stalinist political system. (p. 227).

KAGANOVICH AND THE GENOCIDE OF SOVIET POLES (1937-1938)

[Lazar Kaganovich evidently had a long-term enmity towards Poles. Already by the mid-1920’s, he had thought that his rule over Ukraine could serve as a model for an eventual Polish Soviet Socialist Republic. (p. 72)].

[During the Great Terror, NKVD Order No. 00447 led to the genocidal murder of over 100,000 Soviet Poles. Kaganovich, and other Politburo members, signed 38 decisions that expanded the number of victims. (p. 195). The “Polish Operation” was well-named. In addition to all this, Kaganovich was involved in moves to restrict the cultural rights of various non-Russian peoples. (p. 195).]

In one of his final interviews, Kaganovich asserted that the arrests and executions of 1937-38 had been done according to Soviet law. He thus ignored his own role as a leading advocate of Soviet state lawlessness. (p. 267).

KAGANOVICH AND HIS COMPLICITY IN PRECIPITATING THE KATYN MASSACRE (1940)

Kaganovich’s role in the Great Terror and his role in authorizing the murder of the Polish officers are among the most heinous of his crimes. (p. 274).

-------End of direct quotes---------

STALIN AND THE JEWS (ZYDOKOMUNA): WHY STALIN DID NOT TRUST THEM

When it comes to rivals for Lenin’s position, Kaganovich appears to always have been on Stalin’s side. Otherwise, Rees generalizes that, “Most of Stalin’s opponents in the 1920s were Jews, but for many years thereafter, he had promoted Jewish into important positions.” (p. 268). In fact, Stalin’s chief rivals for the succession of Lenin were Trotsky [Jew], Zinoviev [Jew], and Kamenev [half-Jew]. (p. 59).

At later times, Jews worked in collusion (Jewish ethnic solidarity?) against Stalin. In 1925, with Trotsky eliminated, Zinoviev and Kamenev challenged Stalin’s concentration of power. (p. 53). At the Central Committee plenum in July 1926, Kamenev, Zinoviev, and Trotsky spoke out against Stalin. (p. 56).

Not surprisingly, Stalin feared people who could potentially become his enemies. For instance, in the mid-1930s, with the Jew Genrich Yagoda as head, the NKVD was a powerful agency not entirely under Stalin’s control. (p. 165). No wonder that Stalin felt more comfortable replacing him with Yezhov, a non-Jew. In 1935, Stalin even demoted Kaganovich out of the conviction that no deputy should get too powerful. (p. 224). 2 people found this helpful Helpful Not Helpful |3 comments|Report abuse| Permalink   Comment Jan Peczkis1 year agoIn reply toan earlier post Report abuse Absolutely. To see my review of a detailed work which details the 1937-1938 genocide of over 100,000 Soviet Poles, and the Jewish complicity behind it, please click on [and read my detailed English-language review] of: Operacja AntyPolska NKWD 1937-1938. Leave a reply B. Chapinski1 year agoIn reply toan earlier post Report abuse Another good one by Peczkis. Allow me to add that before Stalin-Kaganowicz and most of all Kaganowicz's brethren (and others) eliminated 100,000 Soviet Polonians, the Poles there had newspapers and numerous cultural accomplishments. What's also amazing is that -due to zyd-ethno networking- Kaganowicz lived into his 90s! Than is truly incredible. Despite the scope of his evil deeds he exceeded 9 decades! Leave a reply Jan Peczkis1 year ago Report abuse MacDonald, Kevin. 2005. Stalin’s Willing Executioners: Jews as a Hostile Elite in the USSR. OCCIDENTAL QUARTERLY 5(3)65-100.

This review of Yuri Slezkine’s THE JEWISH CENTURY, is currently available as .pdf online (March 2017).

The following [except the introduced titles in CAPS] are direct quotes:

LEADING SOVIET JEWISH COMMUNISTS: NEITHER SUBSERVIENT TO, NOR DOMINANT TOWARDS, LEADING SOVIET NON-JEWISH COMMUNISTS

Jewish involvement in the Communist elite of the USSR can be seen as a variation on an ancient theme in Jewish culture rather than a new one sprung from the special circumstances of the Bolshevik Revolution. Rather than being the willing agents of exploitative non-Jewish elites who were clearly separated from both the Jews and the people they ruled, Jews became an entrenched part of an exploitative and oppressive elite in which group boundaries were blurred. (p. 68).

JEWISH COMMUNISTS WERE CERTAINLY STILL JEWS

—ethnic networking by any other name. (p. 77).

The reality is that Jewish identity always becomes more salient when Jews feel threatened or feel that their interests as Jews are at stake, but Jewish identity becomes submerged when Jewish interests coincide with other interests and identities...The relative submergence of Jewish identity within the Jewish milieu in elite circles of the Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s is a poor indicator of whether or not these people identified as Jews or would do so when in later years Jewish and Soviet identities began to diverge, when National Socialism reemphasized Jewish identity, or when Israel emerged as a beacon for Jewish identity and loyalty. (p. 78).

Certainly Jewish radicals often rejected their fathers’ religion and their way of life, but all the evidence points to their identifying in different ways as Jews, not losing their Jewish identity to become de-ethnicized moral crusaders against capitalism. (p. 79).

THE EXPANDING JEWISH ROLE IN SOVIET COMMUNISM

Despite the important role of Jews among the Bolsheviks, most Jews were not Bolsheviks before the revolution. However, Jews were prominent among the Bolsheviks, and once the revolution was under way, the vast majority of Russian Jews became sympathizers and active participants. Jews were particularly visible in the cities and as leaders in the army and in the revolutionary councils and committees. (pp. 83-84).

Slezkine’s argument that Jews were critically involved in destroying traditional Russian institutions, liquidating Russian nationalists, murdering the tsar and his family, dispossessing and murdering the kulaks, and destroying the Orthodox Church has been made by many other writers over the years… (p. 93).

The Gulag was headed by ethnic Jews from its beginning in 1930 until the end of 1938, a period that encompasses the worst excesses of the Great Terror. They were, in Slezkine’s words, “Stalin’s willing executioners” (p. 103).

LIMITED DE-JUDAIZATION OF THE USSR: SOVIET ANTI-SEMITISM EXAGGERATED?

Jews were able to maintain themselves as an elite until the end of the Soviet regime in 1991…On the whole, Jews were underrepresented as victims of the Great Terror. And although the Jewish percentage of the political elite did decline after the purges of the late 1930s and the promotion of former peasants and working class Russians, this did not affect Jewish predominance as a professional, cultural, and managerial elite. (p. 89).

The campaign against the Jews began only after the apogee of mass murder and deportations in the USSR, and was much less lethal than those mounted against a long list of other ethnic groups, whose typical fate was deportation under the most brutal of circumstances (Cossacks, Chechens, Crimean Tatars, Volga Germans, Moldavians, Kalmyks, Karachai, Balkars, Ingush, Greeks, Bulgars, Crimean Armenians, Meskhetian Turks, Kurds, and Khemshins). (p. 89).

SO NOW THE JEWISH COMMUNISTS’ OX IS GORED. THE WHINING BEGINS

A Jewish woman writes that after her husband was arrested, her maid told her, “You are crying now, but you did not mind when my father was being dekulakized, martyred for no reason at all, and my whole family thrown out in the street” (p. 311). (p. 90, this article).

The Russians were taking back their country, and it wasn’t long before Jews became leaders of the dissident movement and began to seek to emigrate in droves to the United States, Western Europe, and Israel. (p. 90).

Jewish dissidents whose parents had run the Gulags, the deportations, and the state-sponsored famines, now led the “urgent call for social justice” (p. 342). (p. 91, this article).

ORIGINS AND IMPLICATIONS OF HOLOCAUST SUPREMACISM

In fact, however, the creation and maintenance of the culture of the Holocaust and the special moral claims of Jews and Israel are the result of Jewish ethnic activism. These claims have a specific historical trajectory, they are fueled by specific key events, and they are sustained by specific forces.21 For example, the Holocaust was not emphasized as a cultural icon until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when images of the Holocaust were deployed on a large scale in popular culture by Jewish activists specifically to rally support for Israel in the context of its wars of 1967 and 1973. (pp. 71-72).

The critical Jewish role in Communism has been sanitized, while Jewish victimization by the Nazis has achieved the status of a moral touchstone and is a prime weapon in the push for massive non-European immigration, multiculturalism, and advancing other Jewish causes. (p. 95).

MIDDLEMAN-MINORITY MODEL INADEQUATE. “JEALOUSY OF JEWISH SUCCESS” INDIRECTLY REFUTED

Both the Jews and the Overseas Chinese are highly intelligent and entrepreneurial, but the Overseas Chinese have not formed a hostile cultural elite in Southeast Asian countries, where they have chiefly settled, and have not been concentrated in media ownership or in the construction of culture. We do not read of Chinese cultural movements disseminated in the major universities and media outlets that subject the traditional culture of Southeast Asians and anti-Chinese sentiment to radical critique, or of Chinese organizations campaigning for the removal of native cultural and religious symbols from public places. (p. 67). Leave a reply Product Details Iron Lazar: A Political Biography of Lazar Kaganovich (Anthem Series on Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies) byE. A. Rees
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