This essay is a translated excerpt from the first volume of Solzhenitsyn’s controversial history of Russian-Jewish relations, Dvesti let vmeste: 1795 – 1995, which was first published in Russian in 2001 and 2002. Solzhenitsyn writes from explicitly nationalist positions, ascribing defined identities and “fates” to disparate peoples, and seeks to offer a “two-sided and equitable” account of the “sins” and historical “guilt” of both Russians and Jews. He seeks to establish “mutually accessible and benevolent paths along which Russian-Jewish relations may proceed” on the basis of an honest and full accounting of history. In this excerpt he treats the immediate prerevolutionary period of the early twentieth century, drawing on the writings of a number of prominent commentators of that period, both Jewish and Russian. He argues that a combination of, on the one hand, the investments of the progressive Russian intelligentsia in atonement for anti-Semitic policies and social violence, and, on the other, Jewish assimilation to Russian cultural life led to an identification of Jews with revolutionary and anti-tsarist culture. Among the figures treated here by Solzhenitsyn are Vladimir Jabotinsky, Lev Tolstoi, Nikolai Berdiaev, and Pyotr Struve.
Other|April 01 2019
Two Hundred Years Together
Common Knowledge (2019) 25 (1-3): 501-524.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Jamey Gambrell; Two Hundred Years Together. Common Knowledge 1 April 2019; 25 (1-3): 501–524. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-7579425
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