Ethnic responsibility?

SHULGIN, Vasilii

'Chto nam v nikh ne nravitsia...' Ob Antisemitizme v Rossii

['What We Do Not Like About Them...' On the Antisemitism in Russia]

Publication: Russia Minor, Parizh, 1929.

SHULGIN, Vasilii, ‘Chto nam v nikh ne nravitsia…’ Ob Antisemitizme v Rossii

“Political anti-Semitism’, to be distinguished from a racial one: first edition of this scarce work, which also gives an account of the situation of the Jews in Russia.

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Our Notes & References

First edition, “rare” (Savine), of this now controversial work discussing the situation of the Jews in Russia, the Jewish question and, in particular, “destructive influences” of the Jewish community on cultural and political integrity of the Russian Empire.

The work was written in response to the article “Dispute about Antisemitism” by the Jewish journalist S. Litovtsev published in the newspaper “Poslednie novosti” on 29 May 1928, in which he invited the Russian anti-Semites as well the the Jews to express honestly their opinions on the topic.

Even though Vasilii Vitalevich Shulgin (1878-1976), a known political activist, right-wing nationalist and proponent of the White movement, actively opposed any “biological or race anti-Semitism”, in particular such its manifests as pogroms, he advocated “political anti-Semitism”, especially because he considered the Jews responsible for the Russian revolution and its crimes. In his book he directly addressed them with the following words:

“We do not like the fact that you took too prominent a part in the revolution, which turned out to be the greatest lie and fraud. We do not like the fact that you became the backbone and core of the Communist Party. We do not like the fact that, with your discipline and solidarity, your persistence and will, you have consolidated and strengthened for years to come the maddest and bloodiest enterprise that humanity has known since the day of creation. We do not like the fact that this experiment was carried in order to implement the teachings of a Jew, Karl Marx” (our translation).

Shulgin’s book was naturally banned in the USSR; the author himself was arrested in 1944 in his Yugoslavian emigration, and jailed in the USSR for 12 years, where he finally stayed for the rest of his life.

“Probably for the first time in the history of Russian political writing, Shulgin proposed an explicit and comprehensive defence of the principle of ethnic responsibility, ethnic guilt, and ethnic remorse. Anticipating the standard reasoning of the second half of the century, he argued that whereas legally sons should not have to answer for their fathers, morally they should, and do, and always will. Family responsibility is as necessary as it is inescapable, he argued” (Slezkine, p. 181).


Avenir Nizoff (émigré, pianist, who lived in Edmonton, Canada, in the second half of the 20th century, and gathered a large, wide-ranging library of Russian works, especially covering art, history and literature).


Yuri Slezkine, The Jewish Century (Princeton University Press, 2004).

Item number



Physical Description

Small quarto (19.5 x 14.4 cm). 330 pp. including title, [2] pp.


Facsimile of original printed wrappers.


Occasional highlights in text with pen and pencil, typical of Nizoff’s active reading.

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