Jewish scholar fleeing ‘Nazi-like atmosphere’ of Putin’s Russia

Ilya Frank (Image: svoboda.org)

Ilya Frank (Image: svoboda.org) 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

Ilya Frank, a Jewish linguist whose approach has defined how Russians study foreign languages for more than a decade, has decided he and his family must leave Moscow for Israel because of what he describes as “a Nazi-like atmosphere” there, one he quickly identified because of his familiarity with German writings and films from the 1930s.

In an interview posted online yesterday with Dmitry Volchek of Radio Liberty, Frank, 52, says he decided to leave “in the first instance” for political reasons because he did “not want to life in a country where 90 percent of the population is infected with the virus of self-love and hatred to others.”

“I am leaving because of the Nazi-like atmosphere which has emerged in Russia and in which it is very unpleasant to live,” Frank says. He doesn’t have a television and works at home but when he does go out, he sees “the slogans, hears the conversations, and sees what books are being offered at major bookstores.”

Because he is “by education a German instructor,” he continues, he has “read many German books about the 1930s in Germany, watched documentaries, and listened to Goebbels in the original” and thus can “see parallels and this is very unpleasant,” especially because his six-year-old daughter will be entering school next year and would be exposed to all that.

Frank rejects the argument of Vladislav Inozemtsev that Russia today is more like Mussolini’s Italy than Hitler’s Germany and that of Maksim Frank-Kamenetsky that there is no anti-Semitism in Russia. While Russia now may resemble fascist Italy, he says, it also has “undoubted parallels” with Nazi Germany, including the language of its leaders.

And while there is less state-sponsored anti-Semitism in Putin’s Russia than in Hitler’s Germany, there is ever more exploitation of and even promotion of anti-Semitic themes by those close to the regime such as Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov who invariably stresses the Jewishness of what he sees as Russia’s opponents. That sends a message to those ready to hear it.

Frank says that he did not feel himself “alien” in Russia until the “Crimea is Ours” campaign began and “90 percent of the population supported this fascist policy.” But now he does, and because his desperately ill mother has now died, something that had made his departure impossible, he and his family are now leaving.

According to the linguist, there are three possible courses of action: to struggle with the regime, to leave, or to sit quietly and hope for change. He says he has chosen the second because he does not see “any sense in struggle with a regime when almost the entire population of the country supports it.”

Frank agrees that he cannot bear “the new language” which has appeared in Russia over the last 18 months. He adds that he believes that “people educated in any society sensed this when the Stalin era arrived. For them it was unbearable because they saw this stupidity which was expressed in language, in conversations and in slogans.”

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Oknemfrod

    Why would the dwarf do anything to stop them? Wasn’t he in the first place expounding publicly on the Russian “extra chromosome” and “unique genetic code”, purportedly superior to an other genetic codes? What strikes me odd is that all this Aryan superiority gibberish comes out of a creature who, like some imperialistic dwarfs before him too obvious to mention, is at the bottom of his kin’s gene pool – physically, mentally, and morally.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Not all that odd- Himmler spouted all sorts of superiority gibberish too and he was hardly the spitting image of an Aryan Superman, was he? Psychiatrists might explain the gibberish as being compensation for both Himmler’s and the demented dwarf’s physical defects, though their mental defects were/are far more dangerous.
      Perhaps our friendly St Petersburg trolls can give a convincing explanation. Then again, probably not. Where are they, by the way? Has the dwarf run out of cheap samogon to pay them with?

      • Oknemfrod

        Now that you’ve mentioned Himmler, Putin once called him “a talented man”, describing his propaganda tactics to Jewish clergy (sic). While in the context, the comment meant to sound negative, one can’t help but wonder how it could be on part of the dwarf using exactly the same methods (enhanced by modern technology) many decades later. From which I deduce that, in addition to the inability to hold his tongue, the dwarf definitely feels affinity with his teacher sharing his psycho type.
        For example, both were/are peevish about their diminutive statures. Per se, being small (or having a physical defect) does not in any way make a normal person any less of a human being. The problem arises when it becomes a painful obsession to be compensated by acquiring unjustified power over other human beings coupled with ridiculous attempts (as in the case with the dwarf) to conceal the perceived defect at any cost.
        Our friendly trolls must be having a JAR session absorbing instructions updated to reflect the current state of events, but to hope that it will enable them to give convincing explanations of anything is akin to the hope that pigs will fly.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          According to Roy Medvedev, Stalin had gas chambers at Vorkuta in 1938, predating Adolf’s. As the dwarf is a great admirer of Stalin’s it is not inconceivable that he may revive his hero’s idea and have gas chambers and crematoria built in a remote location, far from prying eyes- a modern Treblinka. Then again, he already has mobile crematoria at work in the Donbass to secretly dispose of dead Kolorads so he only has to have mobile gas chambers built- he can easily copy Adolf’s gas wagons. Mobile execution squads might be cheaper, though; a bullet doesn’t cost much.

  • Murf

    The anti- semitism come out of real Ukrainian posters is NOTHING compared to the Russian Trolls.
    And yet they accuse Ukraine of being Naizs.
    Strange, is it not?

    • puttypants

      I haven’t read any anti-antisemitism coming from Ukrainian posters?

      • Murf

        A couple. Few that I think are genuine Ukrainians. Which I admire.
        Andrew, that I used to post with had some strong opinions but he was not a Nazi that I could tell.
        I definitely hear more antisemitism coming from Europeans than Ukrainians on other news sites.
        That is why I like to say “if the Ukrainians are Nazis they really suk at it.”

  • Vlad Pufagtinenko

    I strongly disagree with “not want to life in a country where 90 percent of the population is infected with the virus of self-love and hatred to others.”….the percentage is probably 99.9 depending on how many significant digits you want to continue with.