If you want to be a serious activist in contemporary Russia’s neo-Nazi movement, you do not drink, you do not smoke, and you do not do drugs. You exercise to build physical strength, and, not least, you read in order to train the mind and develop your intellect.
On 18 January 1918, a hundred years ago today, Russia’s first democratic experiment was strangled at birth by Lenin and the Bolsheviks as they forcibly shut down the democratically elected Constituent Assembly and opened fire on unarmed protesters.
It will surprise no one that attacks on Jews occur in Russia. After all, this is the country that gave us the word pogrom. Yet it might surprise you to hear that the level of antisemitic violence in Russia, by all accounts, is quite low compared to Western Europe. Given the political climate in later years, shouldn’t we expect otherwise? Patriotic rallying, attacks against “foreign agents” and internal “fifth columnists”, rampant and officially sanctioned homophobia, a fortress mentality in which one in four say the country is “surrounded by enemies on all sides” — isn’t this fertile soil for a reinvigorated antisemitism?
Allow me to introduce The Restless Russianist. I plan to use this blog as a platform for sharing reflections, notes, and sources related to my research interests, which mostly revolve around Russian history (Soviet and post-Soviet), right-wing extremism, and antisemitism. For details about what I do, see my personal website.