The emergence in Russia of the antisemitic chauvinist movement, Pamyat, has startled Western society even as it has stirred deep fears and anxiety among Jews and democratic forces within Russia. How could a supposedly Communist society, whose founder, V.I. Lenin, had railed against racism and bigotry, give birth to a proto-fascist ideology and organization?
This study seeks to respond to this understandable, if provocative, query. The roots of Pamyat's ideology can be traced to the tsarist Black Hundreds in the early part of the twentieth century, to certain aspects of Stalinism, and especially to the Soviet "anti-Zionist" campaign of 1967-1986. Although the antisemitic campaign was officially halted at the state level by Mikhail Gorbachev, the emerging Pamyat groups took advantage of the freer atmosphere of glasnost to continue to foster anti-Jewish hatred.
These nationalistic forces remain vital elements in contemporary Russian society, inevitably raising a profound sense of concern among Jews and the general community.