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Nazism inflicted history’s most horrendous crimes against Jews. But Germany has by no means been history’s top purveyor of global antisemitism.

That distinction goes to Russia, which spread antisemitism more widely and durably.

Heinze, Eric. “Russia is the global leader in Jew-hate.” The JC. February 24, 2017.

Emphasis added to the above quotation from Eric Heinze’s analysis in The JC.

“Rise of the Rus” — and the End of the Khazar Kingdom: Excerpt with Reference

Rise of Rus

Originally the Khazars were probably allied with various Norse factions who controlled the region around Novgorod. The Rus’ Khaganate, an early Rus polity in northwestern Russia, was probably heavily influenced by the Khazars. The Rus’ regularly travelled through Khazar-held territory to attack territories around the Black and Caspian Seas; in one such raid, the Khagan is said to have given his assent on the condition that the Rus’ give him half of the booty. In addition, the Khazars allowed the Rus to use the trade route along the Volga River. This alliance was apparently fostered by the hostility between the Khazars and Arabs. At a certain point, however, the Khazar connivance to the sacking of the Muslim lands by the Varangians led to a backlash against the Norsemen from the Muslim population of the Khaganate. The Khazar rulers closed the passage down the Volga for the Rus’, sparking a war. In the early 960s, Khazar ruler Joseph wrote to Hasdai ibn Shaprut about the deterioration of Khazar relations with the Rus: “I have to wage war with them, for if I would give them any chance at all they would lay waste the whole land of the Muslims as far as Baghdad.”

The Rus warlords Oleg of Novgorod and Sviatoslav I of Kiev launched several wars against the Khazar khaganate, often with Byzantine connivance. The Schechter Letter relates the story of a campaign against Khazaria by HLGW (Oleg) around 941 (in which Oleg was defeated by the Khazar general Pesakh; this calls into question the timeline of the Primary Chronicle and other related works on the history of the Eastern Slavs.

Sviatoslav finally succeeded in destroying Khazar imperial power in the 960s. The Khazar fortresses of Sarkel and Tamatarkha fell to the Rus in 965, with the capital city of Atil following circa 967 or 969. A visitor to Atil wrote soon after the sacking of the city: “The Rus attacked, and no grape or raisin remained, not a leaf on a branch.”

“Khazars”. Wikispeedia. McGill University.

The Roman Empire had never been Europe’s only organizing power.

The Germanic tribes, the Norse, the Mongols, and many others had been crossing that landscape for political community, trade, and war for centuries. However, it appears to have been the Varangians — descendants of the Vikings — who corrupted the Turkic Jewish Khazar, and when the protective kingdom thought better of looting some of its own villages (Muslim) in concert with the Varangians (and sharing the loot), the Varangians made war on the Khazar and destroyed the kingdom. Legends about that warfare — and the Jews — MAY have floated across northern, central, and eastern Europe for generations. Combined with Christian supersessionary ambitions for subscription and the elimination of Judaism as a contemporary religion, the seeds for Russian (and Greek Orthodox) anti-Semitism may have flourished.

Posted to YouTube by Kings and Generals, November 28, 2019. Note of Arab Muslim incursion into Europe: “. . . if the Khazars had lost, the whole history of Europe might have been very different” (4:39).

Related Reading

Encyclopedia Britannica. “Khazar People”.

Kellogg, Michael. The Russian Roots of Nazism: White Emigres and the Making of National Socialism, 1917-1945. Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Nicholls, William. Christian Antisemitism: A History of Hate. Northvale, New Jersey, London: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1995.

When asked about admitting Jews into the Empire, Peter the Great stated “I prefer to see in our midst nations professing Mohammedanism and paganism rather than Jews. They are rogues and cheats. It is my endeavor to eradicate evil, not to multiply it.”

Wikipedia. “Antisemitism in the Russian Empire”.

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