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White Ruthenia and a Jewish Revolution

Andrew Sloin, The Jewish Revolution in Belorussia: Economy, Race, and Bolshevik Power (Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 2017) has given us an insightful monograph about the experiences of Jewish revolutionary activists who not only found themselves under Soviet power during the revolution and civil war but also who remained in the Soviet Union in the interwar period. The neo-Marxist author concentrates specifically on pro-Bolshevik and even Bolshevik Jews. (p. 13). He argues that “fundamental contradictions implicit in the double-sided concept of labor employed by the Bolsheviks delimited the fate of the Jewish Revolution in Belorussia (and, implicitly, the entire Bolshevik revolutionary project)” (p. 5). He means that the Jewish revolutionary projects, especially the construction of Jewish autonomism under Bolshevik rule, repeatedly crashed against the rocks of the Soviet economy’s structural crises, which – in no small degree – remained allegedly capitalist.