Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public

The Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public (AZCSP, Russian language: Антисионистский комитет советской общественности, АКСО) was a body formed in 1983 in the Soviet Union as an anti-Zionist propaganda tool. Formation of AZCSP was approved on 29 March 1983 by the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in resolution 101/62ГС: "Support the proposition of the Department of Propaganda of the Central Committee and the KGB USSR about the creation of the Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public..."

Anti-Zionist manifesto

On 1 April 1983, the CPSU official newspaper, Pravda, ran a full front-page article titled From the Soviet Leadership:

"...By its nature, Zionism concentrates ultra-nationalism, chauvinism and racial intolerance, excuse for territorial occupation and annexation, military opportunism, cult of political promiscuousness and irresponsibility, demagogy and ideological diversion, dirty tactics and perfidy... Absurd are attempts of Zionist ideologists to present those who criticize them, or condemn the aggressive politics of Israel's ruling circles, as antisemitic... We call on all Soviet citizens: workers, peasants, representatives of intelligentsia: take active part in exposing Zionism, strongly rebuke its endeavors; social scientists: activate scientific research to criticize the reactionary core of that ideology and aggressive character of its political practice; writers, artists, journalists: to more fully expose the anti-populace and anti-humane diversionary character of the propaganda and politics of Zionism..." (highlights preserved)

The fundamental idea of the anti-Zionist manifesto was that potential Jewish emigrants from the Soviet Union were to be considered enemies of the Soviet Union. The anti-Zionist manifesto was signed by 8 anti-Zionist Jews:

  • David Abramovich Dragunsky, Colonel-General, twice the Hero of the Soviet Union
  • Samuel Zivs, law professor
  • Genrikh Gofman
  • Yuri Kolesnikov
  • Martin Kabachnik, Lenin Prize winner
  • Gregory Bondarevsky, history professor
  • Boris Sheinin, filmmaker
  • Henrikas Zimanos, philosopher[1]

Background and history

From late 1944, Joseph Stalin adopted a pro-Zionist foreign policy, apparently believing that the new country would be socialist and would speed the decline of British influence in the Middle East.[2] Accordingly, in November 1947, the Soviet Union, together with the other Soviet bloc countries voted in favor of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine,[3] which paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel. On May 17, 1948, three days after Israel declared its independence, the Soviet Union officially granted de jure recognition of Israel,[4] becoming only the second country to recognise the Jewish state (preceded only by the United States' de facto recognition) and the first country to grant Israel de jure recognition.

By 1983, the Soviet regime needed a new propaganda weapon in the Cold War, as well as against increasingly active internal dissident movement, to arrest or discredit the mass emigration of Soviet Jews and to alleviate the Arab concerns about its effects on Israel's demographics. By the dramatic stepping-up of "anti-Zionist" activities, the AZSCP was designed to solve these problems.

David Abramovich Dragunsky, Colonel-General, twice Hero of the Soviet Union and World War II hero (he was the commander of the 55th Guards Tank Brigade), well known inside the country and abroad, was designated its chairman.

The writers who specialized in the Soviet-invented and sponsored doctrine of Zionology ("сионология") considered any expressions of Jewishness as Zionist and therefore subject to being stamped out. In November 1975, the leading Soviet historian academic M. Korostovtsev wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Central Committee, Mikhail Suslov, regarding the book The encroaching counterrevolution by prominent Zionologist Vladimir Begun: " perceptibly stirs up anti-Semitism under the flag of anti-Zionism".

In addition to propaganda in the mass media and publishing, the AZCSP's projects included the "International symposium on contemporary problems of anti-Zionism" and preparation for an "International anti-Zionist congress".

By the end of the 1980s, with the new policies of glasnost and perestroika, and with the impending dissolution of the Soviet Union, the old Soviet regime had lost its stability and many of those plans had to be cancelled. Finally it was dismantled in October 1994.

Some materials produced by the AZCSP were used by ultra-nationalist groups such as Pamyat.

List of members

  • David Dragunsky, chairman Colonel-General, Hero of the Soviet Union (twice)
  • S.L. Zivs, v.c. doctor of jurisprudence
  • M. B. Krupkin, v.c. vice-chairman of Agenstvo Pechati Novosti (APN) publishing house, director of department of Literaturnaya Gazeta
  • Elina Bystritskaya, actress
  • I. P. Belyayev doctor of economics
  • Yury A. Kolesnikov writer
  • M. I. Kabachnik, academician, Hero of Socialist Labor
  • Teodor Oizerman philosopher and academician
  • V. N. Kudryavtsev member of the Academy of sciences of the USSR
  • Matvey Blanter composer, Hero of Socialist Labor
  • Angelina Stepanova artist, Hero of Socialist Labor
  • Tatyana Lioznova film director, the State Award nominee
  • B. S. Sheinin cinematographer
  • A. K. Marinich director of a kolkhoz, Hero of Socialist Labor
  • G. B. Gofman writer, Hero of the Soviet Union
  • Caesar Solodar writer
  • A. Vergelis poet
  • G. O. Zimanas professor
  • Yakov Fishman, the chief rabbi of Moscow (died a few months after the creation of the committee).[5]
  • Adolf Shayevich, the chief rabbi of Moscow (declared on 1989-01-01 that he was no longer a member)[6]

and others.

See also


  2. Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987) p.527
  3. UN General Assembly Resolution 181 Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  4. Recognition of Israel JSTOR - The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 4, No. 3, July 1948.
  5. Anthony Barbieri, Jr. (Jun 9, 1983), "Death Frees Moscow's Rabbi", Spokane Chronicle
  6. ARI L. GOLDMAN (January 4, 1989), "Soviet Jews to Join World Congress", The New York Times
  • ISBN 3-7186-5740-6 Russian Antisemitism, Pamyat and the Demonology of Zionism (Studies in Antisemitism) by William Korey
  • Robert O. Freedman, The Politics of Anti-Semitism and Emigration and the Dynamics of Resettlement, Duke University Press, 1989
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