Document Analysis - Roshni Sheth Dr. George Liber HY 265-3B...

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Roshni Sheth Dr. George Liber HY 265-3B 19 April 2010 Vladimir Lenin’s Opposition to Anti-Semitism Vladimir Ilyich Lenin influenced the shaping of the Soviet Union and continues to affect the political state of Russia and the rest of the former Soviet republics. As the leader of the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia, he became one of the most admired and trusted political figures in Soviet history for overthrowing the Russian Provisional Government that was created after the abdication of Tsar Nicolas II in February. Even when Stalin besmirched the names of so many “Old Bolsheviks” during the Great Purges in the late 1930s, Lenin’s name was never degraded or dishonored. The principal reason that Lenin became so influential in early years of the Soviet Union is because he was such a remarkable orator. He used his speeches to communicate with the public masses, many of whom were uneducated and in need of political instruction: a fact which Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik party, could take advantage of. Since such a large portion of the population was illiterate, he used public speeches to spread his thoughts on political issues and the ideologies and messages of Russia’s Bolshevik party. In March of 1919, Lenin had recorded eight speeches to gramophone records, but they remained unpublished during his lifetime. During Khrushchev’s time as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which proved to be much less repressive than the Stalinist period that came before it, seven of the eight recorded speeches were published. The eighth speech, which continued to be repressed by Khrushchev during his time of office, outlined Lenin’s views in opposition to anti-
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Sheth 2 Semitism and anti-Jewish pogroms in the Soviet Union during the years following the Bolshevik Revolution (Clark 456). In the eighth speech, entitled “Anti-Jewish Pogroms,” Lenin sought to explain anti- Semitism in terms of Marxism. According to Lenin, anti-Semitism and the anti-Jewish pogroms that the tsarist regime left behind were “fomenting hatred against the Jews in order to blind the workers, to divert their attention from the real enemy of the working people, capital” (Lenin 1). In other words, Lenin felt that anti-Semitism distracted ignorant workers and peasants from their own oppression by “kulaks, exploiters and capitalists” by convincing them to oppress the Jewish population (Lenin 2). The mistreatment of Jews in Russia and the areas that became the Soviet Union dates back to medieval times. After the Tatar invasion of Russia in the 13 th Century, the Tatars desolated the Kiev Principality, which is located in present-day Ukraine, forcing most Jews living in the area of the Soviet Union fled to Poland (Rukhadze 9). When Tsar Nicolas II came to power in 1894, he forbade those of Jewish descent from using Hebrew or Yiddish in the publication of commercial documents (Israel 59). Then, as a result of the revolutionary movement in the early 20
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This note was uploaded on 06/28/2011 for the course HY 265 taught by Professor Dr.georgeliber during the Spring '10 term at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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Document Analysis - Roshni Sheth Dr. George Liber HY 265-3B...

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