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The Soviet counter-propaganda on "Jewish problem" during the antireligious campaign 1958 of 1964.


Heads of the USSR made considerable efforts to achieve creation and maintenance of a positive image of the Country of Councils in the opinion of the rest of the world. Especially relevant this question became after 1956 when exposure of crimes of I.V. Stalin and suppression of an anti-Communist revolt in Hungary averted his many former admirers from the USSR. Antireligious campaign 1958 -

became 1964 one of the first serious tests for the Soviet propaganda device of those years

Practically at once in the West there were numerous organizations which began to start noisy campaigns for protection of the rights believing in the USSR in the press. And Jews fell into a state of that of "white mice" by whom the western politicians and propagandists began to determine freedom degree in the USSR it was Promoted first of all by "business of doctors". Besides, were in the West better informed on position of Jews thanks to, from one party built by the Israeli Embassy in the 1950th to the system of detours his employees of the main Jewish communities, and with another - to preservation of numerous communication channels between the relatives who appeared on different sides of "Iron Curtain".

Since 1958 the numerous foreign representatives constantly asked to the first to the faces of the USSR questions of position of Jews. On June 25, 1959 the main I. Nisim of the rabbi of Israel sent the message to K.E. Voroshilov, the chairman of Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR, with a request, first, to make the official statement for absence in the country of anti-Semitism and, secondly, to stop persecutions on Judaism.

It is natural that neither the top officials, nor the MFA wanted to assume such responsibility. Only F.R Kozlov, N.S. Khrushchev's deputy in Council of ministers of the USSR, declared on June 8, 1959 to the western correspondents officially that any synagogue in the USSR is not closed. However after a while he was actually accused of a lie, based on materials of the Soviet press. After that any Soviet leader or the high-ranking official did not make similar statements.

Extreme in this situation was a Council for affairs of religious cults (SDRK) supervising all religions in the USSR except Orthodoxy. Its chairman A.A. Puzin decided to act in two directions. On July 1, 1959 he appealed to the Central Committee of the CPSU to organize the counterpromotional campaign proving existence of freedom of conscience and lack of anti-Semitism in the country, having prepared special broadcasts for this purpose and having placed article in "The literary newspaper" which was considered in the West as to a floor oppositional to the newspaper. On the other hand, Puzin wrote that "Council considers it necessary to doyudit to data local

bodies the administration facts concerning Judaic religion and to indicate to them the need to watch strictly to giving a reason for such performances". In September, 1960 it with alarm informed again the Central Committee of the CPSU about "big nezdoroyum interest", shown by foreigners to a question of position of Jews in CCCP1.

In ret to a ltata in the USSR the powerful yuntrpropgandistsky campaign for "Jewish problem" was launched.

For counter-propaganda of the USSR used: conversations of foreign tourists with rabbis and members of SDRK, foreign trips of the Soviet delegations and also defiantly tough punishments of responsible - "switchmen" from the amy juicy scandals. Rabbis and members of SDRK assured Eno of the countries - tsevets that the authorities close only those synagogues which believers are not able to contain that matzo and kosher meat freely are on sale everywhere that parents have the right to train children in Judaism, and insignificant visit of synagogues by youth - a consequence of the general falling of interest in religion, and not only in the USSR. The authorities, closing matsepekarn, at the same time tried to convince foreign journalists that there is no ban on baking of matzo, citing as an example the matsepekarn working still in Riga, Moscow and Leningrad. Charges from American press of lack of matzo on sale were treated as misunderstanding by Americans of the European tradition to bake matzo only on prazdniki3.

It was completely denied that believers are discharged from office. The main argument conflicting, however, to arguments about small number of believers was the fact that if all believers were fired, then there would be become nobody to work in many industries. For counter-propaganda open letters which were written by Jews including some rabbis who decided to tear with religion were also often used. Publishing these letters in the press and providing them to the western correspondents, the Soviet propagandists made an impression about falsity of messages of a Western press about prosecutions as, Jews supposedly renounce belief. Also other category of open letters was used: from parishioners of any given synagogue, which in the West about jyavlyal closed, with a denial of "slanderers". At the same time any attempts of Americans, Israelis and td. to send to the Soviet Jews matzo, prayer books or still something similar immediately appeared provocation around which the noisy newspaper campaign began.

The campaign started in 1964 around foreign parcels with matzo when the publications announcing parcels with matzo "ideological diversion" appeared in a number of newspapers, including Izvestia was the most known example of this sort. In principle, except for some "national color", it practically did not differ from those explanations which were offered on I will lead closings of churches, mosques and Lutheran churches.

However, there were also cases when the Soviet propagandists had to occupy perimeter defense literally. For the first time it happened,

when in August, 1960 article signed certain by D. Marmu-dov (deputy of one of the local Village Councils) "Allakhana yes was published in the Kommunist newspaper appearing in the Dagestan city of Buynaksk Erkin ate" ("Even without Boga Road it is open" or "Without Boga Road it is also wide"). It, in particular, contained such passage about Jews: "They believed, according to the religion that it would be good to suck Muslim blood of times in a year. Some Jews bought according to from 5 to 10 grams of Muslim blood which they mixed with water in a big barrel and sold as the water which adjoined to blood of the Muslim" 4. Data on emergence of similar article in the state newspaper got on the West, having caused grandiose scandal.

For calm it is general stvenny opinion in Western Europe, the USA and Israel the Department of promotion and propaganda of the Central Committee of the CPSU was forced to develop two combinations.

It agrees one, in the USSR to lzhen not the dependent and respected in the West observer was to deny information on the state anti-Semitism. For this role the member of council of Society The USSR — France A. Blyumel was elected. On October 8, 1960 it met in Moscow the deputy chairman of SDRK A.R Ryazanov and the employee of his European department V. Zadorozhny. Ryazanov and Zadorozhny explained publishing of the article with charges of Jews of the use of human blood to a perekhla of a stama of antireligious promotion and let know that this phenomenon extends not only to Judaism: "Against the Jewish religion it is the share of one article to bend articles napravdenny against Orthodoxy" 5. Ryazanov assured Blum la that SDRK and the Central Committee of the CPSU resolutely fight against manifestations of anti-Semitism in the press, having given as an example "The Buynaksk business" and punishment vinovnykh6. Ryazanov's arguments, as well as the statement of the Minister of Culture of the USSR E.A. Furtseva ("In the USSR about 220 million inhabitants. Among them, naturally, there are several fools"), fully Stew convinced Blya grinding, probably, not suspecting about the role imposed to it, that anti-Semitism in the USSR yav lyatsya by the marginal phenomenon and not only are not supported by the government, but also pursued by them. He told of it in the letter to the president of Association of the former citizens of the Soviet Union in Israel I. Rabinovich who actively participated in a campaign for exposure of the state anti-Semitism in the USSR, at the same time claiming that yu it would be much more difficult for France to punish the author of article similar to article published in "Communist" 7.

Other combination was developed especially for a pacification of the most influential Jewish community in the USA. In the letter of the head of department of propaganda and promotion of the Central Committee of the CPSU L.F. Ilyichev to the secretary of the Central Committee on ideology P.N. Pospelov written in October, 1960 it was offered to send to the NY Gerald Tribune newspaper which is most diligently discussing position of Jews in the USSR through means mo skovsky to bark of the spondent of the pro-communistic newspaper "Morgan Fraykhayt" of S. Rabinovich, the podgogovlenny letter in the Central Committee which the famous Mountain Jews, the disproving western statement about the state anti-Semitism in the USSR had to sign. Pospelov's consent was received quickly, and on December 10, 1960 Rabinovich sent in the USA the letter directed to the editor-in-chief of "NY Gerald Tribune", allegedly transferred to it by group of Mountain Jews during its stay in Dagestan.

This letter signed by the collective farmer and the deputy of VS DAGSSR G Davydovoy, writers of X. Avshalumov and M. Baklev, driver of the Derbent depot X. Gadmolov, the doctor of the Buynaksk city hospital G. Babayevo and preds edagely collective farm Sh. Abramov, mainly was napravdeno against published on November 4, 1960 years in "NY Gerald Tribune" of article of the journalist D. Newman about Mountain Jews in which it was proved, including on the basis of article from "Communist" that Mountain Jews are in the USSR on position of the discriminated minority. Newman's article was characterized as "rough distortion of the valid state of affairs", and he was accused of introduction of readers to delusion. As opposed to its article the life of Mountain Jews was depicted in major tones, as confirmation to what had to serve the list of signers. Article "Allakhana yes ate erkin", according to authors of the letter, was "an exceptional case... the mistake of irresponsible journalists made without any malicious intent". Authors said that "similar never was and, we are sure, will never be", and assured that they guilty of publishing of the article incurred due nakazaniye8.

Letters preferred to ignore the inconvenient facts "authors". For example, they did not mention that article denial with charge of "a bloody slander" and punishment of guilty persons, and actually - "switchmen", followed not on August 10 as they assured, and only on September 6, that is nearly a month later, after angry protests of world community.

One more external counterpropaganda operation it was necessary to the authorities of the USSR esta pr after a release in 1963 in Ukraine of the book by T. Kichko "Unvarnished Judaism" who had frankly anti-Semitic character. The author, in particular, claimed that the Judaism "incorporated everything the most reactionary that exists in other religions" 9, and a number of illustrations in this book amazingly reminded that a publiya fall in the newspapers issued in Ukraine under control of Nazis (there were even data that T. Kichko was active at the time in one of such newspapers). The scandal which broke out after a publication of the book in the West led to the fact that the soviet leadership was forced to react to its edition. On March 11, 1964 L.F. Ilyichev holding at this moment a post of the secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU on ideologies and the manager of Ideological department charged to the deputy A.A. Udal-tsovu to prepare the certificate of the book "Unvarnished Judaism". Udaltsov wrote in the reference submitted on March 14: "... The author from the correct positions exposes antiscientific and re the promotional nature of Judaic religion. But in the book the forms which give food for anti-Soviet speculation are had... Also the nature of illustrations in the book is thought insufficiently over..." Udaltsov suggested to give the review of this book in "the Truth of Ukraine" in careful Faure Me: "... Not to give to Zionist critics the grounds for statements about legitimacy of their charges to the book" 10.

The management of the Central Committee of the CPSU solved differently. On March 25, 1964 Sh. Katz's article "About the brochure "Unvarnished Judaism" and its commentators" in "the Bulletin of NPA" was published. According to Katz, Kichko exercised the constitutional right on antireligious promotion, being guided by good intentions to enter the readers into a circle of scientific views on religion, but did not cope with it. Article in "Radyansky culture" of March 27, 1964 signed by B. Lyubovich and K. Yampolsky was more serious: "... The book suffers from essential shortcomings... Hudozhe stvenny illustrations, and her cover give the grounds for serious objections... They are executed at the low art level and only offend believers..." At last, on April 4, 1964 a short note "The message of the ideological commission" which the book by Kichko was recognized as wrong as its separate provisions could be interpreted in the spirit of anti-Semitism was published in the Pravda. At the same time in the Soviet embassies materials about fight against anti-Semitism abroad were directed to the USSR. This resolution is real it was made by Ilyichev and it is vised by Khrushchev on April 2, without any meeting of the Ideological commission which Kichko at all not zanimalas11.

And already on April 5 anonymous article "About One Unexpected Hype" in which sharp repulse by that who by naivety thought that the message in the Pravda means the beginning of fight against anti-Semitism was given was published in Izvestia. The book by Kichko was recognized as wrong, having some actual inaccuracies and unsuccessful illustrations, but no more.

The foreigners setting on inclusion in SDRK vopro sy about "Unvarnished Judaism" were answered that this book was published by very small circulation in Ukraine, and only noise in the press made it widely known.

By-product "put Kichko" there was a ban on vyuz the Jewish pro-communistic newspapers "Morgan Fraykhayt" (USA) and "La a press well-vel" (France) whose journalists wrote truthful materials about the brochure by Kichko and sincerely did not understand the reason of anger of the Soviet companions.

Naturally, the Soviet propagandists tried to pass from defensive actions to offensive. Since 1961 the Novosti Press Agency (NPA) began to try to come into contacts with the Jewish media. In several years of work good luck smiled to it: in 1964 the NPA was succeeded to agree with Jewish cable the agent stvy (LA), the largest of the Jewish media existing and until now, about dissemination of information. In particular, statements of the Soviet Jews, "protesting contra the anti-Soviet conference" held in April, 1964 in Vienna by the western organizations fighting for the rights Soviet evreev12 were sent to LA.

On May 3, 1963 sent the offers on the organization of offensive promotion to the Central Committee of the CPSU of A.A. Puzin. For him this area was not absolutely already unfamiliar: before transition to a position of the chairman of SDRK he worked not less than 20 years in various divisions of the Soviet ideological device). For neutralization of "a powerful Jewish lobby" in the USA he suggested to organize a trip of two-three rabbis to the USA, to an atakzha to celebrate in June, 1963 N. Olevsky's 90 anniversary and the 35 anniversary of work of the Maryinoroshchinsky synagogue with participation of staff of the Israeli Embassy, the western journalists and rabbis from other cities. And in a passage about "a powerful Jewish lobby" myth echoes are clearly heard about omnipotence of the Jews who are allegedly holding control over most the American banks, trade enterprises and media in the hand, taking important positions in Presidential Administration Kennedi13.

Offers were accepted. Anniversary was celebrated extremely grandiosely, and the visit of rabbis to the USA was replaced with a visit to the USA in November, 1963 of the editor-in-chief of "Sovetish Geymland" (the almanac issued in the USSR into Yiddish) of A.A. Vergelis. Vergelis's visit to the USA lasting nearly three weeks (from November 15 to December 4) was extremely successful for the Soviet counter-propaganda. He visited all main centers of residence of Jews in the USA - New York, Washington, San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles. Having arrived in the USA, Vergelis said that he learned about prosecutions of the believing Jews in the USSR from the American newspapers. "I have no exact figures, but can tell that among people is younger 50 there is no almost any believer. That is why we close synagogues", - said on14. But the effect of this statement of Vergelis was a little greased with the fact that as a part of delegation was B. Poleva, "become famous" for the statement made in 1955 that the Jewish writers shot in 1952 in the matter of the Jewish anti-fascist committee are alive and that with one of them he lives in one house (literally in several months after this statement it was officially declared their death and rehabilitation).

Following the results of the trip Vergelis made the detailed review of publications in the American press and on December 30, 1963 sent it in the Central Committee of the CPSU, having accompanied with a note. He wrote in it that though, going to the USA and knowing "the circumstances which developed around a Jewish problem", he was not going to show an initiative in holding the "special actions" able directly or indirectly at all to raise this question, but circumstances forced it to make it, and following the results of a trip it had some thoughts concerning the content of the Soviet counter-propaganda on "Jewish problem". Generally reasons Vergelis and concerned secular culture. So, he suggested to increase frequency and volume "Sovetish geymland", having turned it from the literary almanac into the literary and political magazine which would become "a source of accurate information for foreign Jewry", to organize tours of the Jewish singers, to restore the Jewish theater, to publish literature into Yiddish, to include without fail figures of the Jewish culture in the Soviet delegations going to the USA. He did not forget and about Judaism which, actually, and was the cause of its trip to the USA. It pis is scarlet that anti-Soviet promotion is conducted with use "5-6 not basic or at all the trifling, artificially created vopro owls", generally concerning religion, and offered the ways of their permission. So, suggested to resolve a problem of Vergelis matzo in very witty way and with benefit for the state: to trade in it all the year round in confectionery shops as cookies to tea, like notorious spring cake. And the organized Jewish theater was thought of it as the center of communication of the Jewish youth alternative to a synagogue. The statement made "at the high party level" for lack of anti-Semitism and prosecutions of Jews in the USSR Detailed development of this plan had to become apogee of the campaign offered them the special meeting consisting of the staff of NPA, State Committee on cultural ties, Radio committee, "Sovetish Geymland" and two-trskh liberal figures from the USA had to be engaged, according to the author of a note.

L.F. Ilyichev to whom this note was addressed forwarded to D.S. Polikarpov heading Department of its culture of the Central Committee of the CPSU with the resolution "I think that there is a lot of interesting. It is necessary to think!". The result of thoughts of high ranks was generally on lozhitelny for Vergelis and: a number of its offers were included in the special resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU devoted kontrpropagande15. But Khrushchev's falling and curtailment of "antireligious storm of heaven" made many of them irrelevant.

Summing up of

the results, one may say, that during the antireligious campaign 1958 - 1964 to the Soviet propagandists on "the Jewish front" had in about snovny to take a defensive position as the antireligious campaign accompanying with a lot of violent acts for definition could not be propaganda a psdana in the West as something positive. Therefore practically till the last moment the reaction of the top soviet leadership was situational and concerned only those moments which caused scandal in the West ("the Buynaksk business", the book by T. Kichko). The first attempts to begin offensive actions were taken only in the early sixties the Form was rather successful: receiving a possibility of dissemination of the necessary information on channels of the western media, advertizing on ezdka of the people who had a certain authority in eyes of foreign Jews. In spite of the fact that the antireligious campaign was curtailed, propaganda practices of this period (the organization of "open letters" on behalf of "the working Jews", use "blindly" of foreign visitors, the organization of press conferences and visits of "loyal Jews") were successfully used within the next decades, having crowned as a result creation in 1983. Anti-Zionist committee of the Soviet public.

Russian State Archive of the Contemporary History (RSACH). T. 5. Op. 33. 162.

L. 74.

2 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. T. 6991. Op. 3. 1419. L. 129. 1420. L. 59.
3 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. T. 6991. Op. 4. 110. L. 11.
4marmudov D. Allagana yes Erkin//the Communist (Buynaksk) ate. 1960. 9 buses
5 RGANI. T. 5. Op. 34. Of 91 L. 35-36.
6 By this time D. Marmudov was deprived of deputy powers, and the editor of the Kommunist newspaper - is dismissed (RGANI. T. 5. OP. 33. 141. L. 21., interview with the daughter of X. Avshalumova - L. Avshalumova, August, 1996).
7 RGANI. T. 5. Op. 34. 91. L. 37.
8 RGANI. T. 5. Op. 33. 141. L. 23-24.
9kichko T. Iudaizm without prikr. Kiev, 1963.
10 RGANI. T. 5. Op. 55. D. 118. L. 176.
11 RGANI. T. 5. Op. 30. D. 451. L. 1-15.
12 RGANI. T. 5. Op. 55. D. 144. L. 28-29.
13 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. T. 6991. Op. 3. 1420. L. 54-56.
14 RGANI. T. 5. Op. 55. D. 118. L. 5.
15 RGANI. T. 5. Op. 55. D. 118. L. 1-11.
Katherine Collins
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