In the time of 1966, Leonid Brezhnev, premier of the Soviet Union, supports an official propaganda campaign to blame Russian Jews for the country’s economic troubles. The stunning June 1967 Israel-Arab war, the Six-Day war, changed everything, making Jewish emigration the prime focus of Soviet Jews. The Russians had provided the Arabs with military equipment, but no less than $2 billion in Russian arms had been destroyed or captured by Israel. The defeat led the Soviets to engage in a massive propaganda effort that labeled Zionism a “world threat”. Jews were described as sinister power brokers funded in secret by the unlimited wealth of world Jewry.
This propaganda campaign made the Jews desire to emigrate even more. Some had become convinced that the Soviet system was weak and preferred to live in the Jewish homeland. Others saw that the economic opportunities were unavailable in the Soviet Union, for an unofficial quota system for Jews in many professions stood in the way. A small minority seek to recover their religious roots.
The successor- “the collective leadership” dominated by Leonid Brezhnev, naturally enough kept him the attention from policies of radical organizational reform and proved extremely cautious in the removal of powerful officials. As an incapable result, monolithic control was now increasingly denied by centrifugal forces. The separate branches of government, the industrial ministries, the armed forces, the security agencies, the party and Central Committee apparatus, or even subgroups within these enormous bodies of nonelective government officials, became increasingly free to declare their separate and often conflicting interests and opinions. Brezhnev himself is reported to have told Bohumil Simon in November 1968, “Not even I can do what I like; I can only achieve about a third of what I would like to do”.
The author, Bernard Malamud was born in 1914 in New York City, in a neighborhood that... [continues]
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