So Putin decided to do something good and give a unique collection of books and documents called “Schneerson Library” to the Jewish Museum in Moscow. The Library represents a unique collection of Judaica that was nationalized after the 1917 revolution. After decades of state-sponsored anti-Semitism, this was a very positive move in the direction of acceptance of the few Jews who still mysteriously remain in Russia.
Of course, Putin wouldn’t be Putin if he didn’t spoil the moment with something egregiously stupid.
“Let’s remember,” he said in a speech that accompanied the gift, “that the first Soviet government was 85% Jewish anyways. Those Jews persecuted, killed and tortured everybody: the Russian Orthodox people, the Muslims, and fellow Jews.”
This is obviously a lie because out of the 15 members of the Soviet government that nationalized the Schneerson Library only one was a Jew. But the old anti-Semitic trope of the October Revolution being a product of a Jewish conspiracy remains alive. Spain’s fascist dictator Franco loved this myth, so Putin is in a curious company on this issue.