Putin: “80% of First Soviet Government was Jewish”
Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that Jews made up “80 to 85 percent of the first government of the Soviet Union” following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
Putin’s speech, made on June 13 2013, was reported by the official Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an article six days later dealing with Putin’s visit to the Moscow “Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center.”
According to the JTA report, Putin said with reference to a library belonging to Rabbi Joseph I. Schneerson, the late leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, that he “thought about something just now: The decision to nationalize this library was made by the first Soviet government, whose composition was 80-85 percent Jewish.”
According to the official transcription of Putin’s speech at the museum, he went on to say that the politicians on the predominantly Jewish Soviet government “were guided by false ideological considerations” and supported the arrest and repression of all faiths.”
On this latter point, Putin is of course incorrect, and he was probably avoiding the truth so as not to stir up a hornet’s nest against himself.
In reality, the Jewish Bolshevik government ruthlessly persecuted Christians in particular, and protected Jews. Anti-Semitism was made illegal and punishable by death, and the only time Lenin’s voice was ever recorded was to make a widely distributed record denouncing anti-Semitism as “counter-revolutionary.”
In addition, the early Soviet government actually gave special privileges to Jews, which included the creation of a separate homeland meant for Jews only, called the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, situated in the Russian Far East.
The Bolsheviks established the autonomous oblast in 1934 to provide the Jewish population of the Soviet Union with a large territory in which to pursue Jewish culture. According to the 1939 population census, 17,695 Jews lived in the region (16% of the total population). The Jewish population peaked in 1948 at around 30,000, about one-quarter of the region’s population.
By then however, the closely-allied Zionist movement had decided firmly in favor of establishing a Jewish homeland by stealing Palestine from the Palestinian people, and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast saw a slow and steady decline in Jewish inhabitants.