Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Soviet Official Admits a Problem: Glasnost Gives Rise to Anti-semites

December 1, 1989
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An official of the Soviet Academy of Sciences has admitted that along with more liberal attitudes, the new freedom of glasnost has given rise to an increase of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union.

Dr. Tatiana Karasova, head of the academy’s Israel desk and now visiting Israel, also said at a news conference Tuesday that Moscow no longer predicated renewed ties with Israel on Israel’s agreement to an international conference on the Middle East.

“The ties could be resumed either before the start of negotiations between the two sides in the Middle East or concurrently with them,” she said.

Karasova said she would recommend when she returns home that Moscow resume diplomatic relations with Israel. “But I cannot say when that will happen,” she added.

Meanwhile, Karasova thought the two countries should strengthen their mutual cooperation in all fields.

The academician, who has spent 15 years researching Israel’s affairs and policies, was invited to Israel by the Information Department of the World Zionist Organization.

Karasova heads a 15-member team of researchers at the Moscow Institute who undertake projects at the request of the Kremlin or other official bodies.

Karasova, identifying the sources of the anti-Semitism that has accompanied glasnost, explained in a Jerusalem Post article that there are two opposing trends in Soviet life today, and their most serious area of disagreement relates to the “Jewish question.”

The “Zapadniki,” or Westerners, are pressing for the “democratization and humanization” of Soviet society and rapprochement with the West.

The “Pochveniki,” a name derived from the Russian word for soil, call for new government policies in favor of “native populations,” meaning Russians, Ukrainians and Byelorussians.

They are pressing for a return to “folk” traditions in culture and intellectual life as opposed to the “spoiling influence” of “inhuman” Western culture.

Karasova said the “Pochveniki” are in the vanguard of anti-Semitic trends in Soviet life, given the freedom of expression granted by glasnost.

Recommended from JTA