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I have discussed this at some length because it is the passage most usually given as evidence of Solzhenitsyn's anti-semitism. And it had a considerable effect on Solzhenitsyn's reputation. The accusation of antisemitism moved out of the narrow sphere of Russian emigrant politics into the general culture.

The account of Bogrov appears in the expanded version of August 1914, published in Russian in July 1983, followed in December 1983 by the French translation. Owing largely to the slowness of Harry Willetts, the only translator Solzhenitsyn trusted, the English translation did not appear until 1989. In Sketches of Exile (15) Solzhenitsyn tells what happened in the US after the Russian version had been published but before anyone had a chance to see the book in English.

(15)  Alexandre Soljénitsyne: Esquisses d'exil - Le grain tombé entre les meules, t.2, Fayard, 2005.

In 1984, the poet Lev Losev, who had left the Soviet Union in 1976 as part of the Jewish emigration, wrote a review of August 1914, which included an account of the assassination. In the course of it he said:

'One can see clearly the emergence of this mythologem, the antagonism of Good and Evil, Darkness and Light, the Cross and the Dragon ... In the image of the serpent whose bite kills the Slav knight, an antisemite would without difficulty find a parallel with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion ... If we descend right to the depths it is in fact no longer a question of Bogrov and Stolypin, or revolutionaries and reformers, of Russians and Jews, but of an essential conflict taking place in the very heart of human nature ... On one side "pure reason", enraged, rises up in opposition to the "organic principle" ...' (vol 2, p.412)

Solzhenitsyn regards this as a matter of Losev being carried away by his own eloquence rather than any malice on his part: 

'Perhaps this article would have encountered a certain echo in the emigration press but it would never have constituted a development in the course of events if Losev, on holiday in Europe, hadn't shortened his article (not yet published) for a broadcast on the radio and if he hadn't read, in his own voice, over the waves of Radio Liberty, everything you've just read - Protocols included - to be heard by the subjects of the Soviet Union.

'The result? Well, Radio Liberty (which operates thanks to money from the American tax payer) had, so it was claimed, manifested, in its broadcasts directed to the USSR "a certain sympathy for the Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Lev Roitman, of the Russian service of Radio Liberty, wrote to the President of the joint Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe to complain that "independently of Solzhenitsyn's book, the picture of the terrorist and his victim painted in this broadcast goes beyond the framework of 'intellectual' antisemitism and constitutes a variant of biological anti-Jewish racism ... It is an insult to the listeners and to those who work for this station.'

But that was just the beginning. Losev's broadcast was part of a series of programmes devoted to August 1914  (which was as it happens being read at the same time on the Voice of America). The series was immediately stopped and replaced with one on the Jewish writer Valerie Grossman - 'at least no one could find fault with that, that could only bring them compliments.'

In January 1985, the New Republic published an article complaining that 'The speaker described Bogrov as a "cosmopolitan ... having nothing Russian about him either by blood or character" ... it presented a conflict between the satanic "dragon" and Stolypin, the "Slav knight" - it was said that Bogrov's act was "a shot fired at the Russian nation itself" - implying: the Jews are responsible for bolshevism. Even the official Soviet antisemitic propaganda hasn't yet gone so far as to cite The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But us?' 

In conclusion:

'Radio Liberty has fallen under the control of fanatical Russian emigrés ... The Reagan administration has put in charge of the chain, George Bailey ... and he has hired as presenters a group of Russian emigrés who share the views of Solzhenitsyn' (p.416).

The case was taken up by the New York Daily News, Washington Post (quoting Pipes), Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe. Bailey was sacked. Approaches were made to Solzhenitsyn's American publisher to try to prevent publication of the English translation of August 1914. One  writer (Lev Navrozov in the Jewish journal Midstream) declared: 'August  1914 is the new Protocols of the Elders of Zion.' The climax was a Senate enquiry:

'On the 29th March 1985, then, the hearings took place - not of just any old subcommittee, no - of the Senate Commission on Foreign Affairs. The moving power of these hearings was one of the leading figures among the American democrats, the highly respected Kleyborn [sic in the French translation - should be Claiborne - PB] Pell, a gentleman from the state of Rhode Island. This august assembly was finally to shed light on the mystery: how an American radio station, subject to checks, duly managed, more three times over than just once, had been able to throw itself bridleless into the abyss of antisemitism - and how Solzhenitsyn, in his impudence, had succeeded in using American money for the purposes of an anti-American propaganda (I have in front of me the 140 typed pages of the record of this august meeting - that's what they said just in one single day. If they'd been able to chatter away for a whole week ...!)'

In fact, perhaps a little disappointingly from the point of view of the story, the hearing was wound up after this first day, concluding that, again quoting Solzhenitsyn 'this whole storm was nothing but a panicky gust of wind got up by a bunch of stool pigeons.' (pp.431-3)

It should be said however that the whole controversy was part of a wider struggle for the soul of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The stations, originally established by the CIA, had since 1974 been administered by the supposedly independent but Congress funded Board for International Broadcasting. The Reagan administration had greatly increased the available funding and appointed James L.Buckley (James Baykley in the consistently odd renditions of American and English names in the French translation) as its head. James Buckley was the elder brother of the Conservative theorist William F.Buckley. He had in 1976 been proposed by Jesse Helms (who, we remember, saw himself as a sponsor for Solzhenitsyn) as an alternative leader for the Republican Party to Ronald Reagan, considered too left wing. He was in charge of RFE/RL from 1982 to 1985 and this, together with the increased funding, was seen as a shift towards a more militant anti-communist position in accord with Reagan's characterisation of the Soviet Union, supported by Solzhenitsyn, as an 'Evil Empire'. According to an article in the New York Times (30th August 1984, 'At Munich's US radio stations, what's news?' by James Markham) George Bailey, 'a gregarious American linguist and former C.I.A. officer', was said to have been appointed at Solzhenitsyn's suggestion. 

The article refers to the organisation's '1,674 staff members - a lively and disputatious group of Poles, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Bulgarians and many others [is it an accident that Russians aren't mentioned? or Jews? - PB]. But lately a malaise has seized some veteran employees who fear that an activist, vigorously anti-Communist management may be jeopardising the station's hard won credibility in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.' (16) Andrei Yanov's book The Russian New Right, published seven years earlier, in 1978, gives in an appendix two letters anonymously posted on the walls of the office of Radio Liberty, in 1975 and 1977, signed 'The Russian Nationalists' complaining that the station was being taken over by the largely Jewish '"third wave" of emigration'. Among the Jews who are named are at least two prominently involved in the campaign against August 1914, the 'whore' Vadim Belotserkovskii and 'the provocateur' Lev Roitman. Belotserkovskii was sacked from the station in 1986. (pp.178-9. I have to admit that they read in my eyes like false flag operations - PB)

(16) Article by Lars-Erik Nelson in the Evening Independent, 26th February 1986.

The absurd row over August 1914, then, perhaps covered something a little less absurd, a quarrel among the dissidents going back to the days when they were were still in the Soviet Union and touching on the intellectual ferment out of which Alexander Dugin and his 'National Bolshevism' was to emerge. We shall perhaps have a look at that in a future article in this series. I also hope to look in some detail at the actual content of Two Centuries Together.