29 Jul Cosmopolitanism
(As related to the campaign against cosmopolitans in the Soviet Union.) Cosmopolitanism is an ideology that sees all human ethnicities as a single community sharing the same values. An adherent of this idea is called a cosmopolitan.
The campaign against cosmopolitanism and “rootless cosmopolitans” (1947-1953) in the Soviet Union was one of the last brutal campaigns perpetrated by Stalin in the thirty years of his rule.
He expressed his concern about the state of Soviet culture, “Recently, a dangerous tendency seems to be seen in some of the literary works emanating under the pernicious influence of the West and brought about by the subversive activities of the foreign intelligence. Frequently in the pages of Soviet literary journals works are found where Soviet people, builders of communism are shown in pathetic and ludicrous forms. In the theater it seems that Soviet plays are pushed aside by plays from foreign bourgeois authors.”
The Soviet culture needed cleansing. And so did science whose supremacy screamed for protection, for vigilance against interactions with foreigners that might use Soviet discoveries for other than humanitarian purposes.
The Soviet propaganda supplied an ego-boosting justification for the campaign. The Soviet Union did not have to catch up with the West. On the contrary, the bourgeois democracies lagged an entire historical epoch behind. The capitalists were struggling to catch up with the first country of true people power.
Some intelligentsia, however, had not yet freed themselves from the ugly vestiges of the Tsarist Russia with its adoration of the West. More work was necessary to develop in them the sacred Soviet patriotism and burning hatred for capitalism, for the bourgeois ideology; and to foster proletarian internationalism.
The cosmopolitanism campaign promoted the policy of isolation in order to bar any possible influence of capitalist ideas on Soviet citizens, including outlawing marriages with foreigners.
The absolute ideological control over most fields of science set the country back decades, particularly in genetics, agriculture, and cybernetics defined as a reactionary science.
The victims of this campaign included people of various ethnicities and nationalities but it centered on Jews, the stateless vagrants of the world united by Zionism, a people with no motherland and, thus, not capable of patriotism and loyalty to a single country, in other words, cosmopolitan by definition.
In 1952, the management of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee and the well-known figures of the Yiddish culture were executed; all the Soviet Yiddish organizations, newspapers, publishers, and theaters were shuttered. Thousands of ordinary Jews lost their jobs.
At the same time, the “Doctor’s plot” began. Rumors circulated that Jewish physicians and nurses poisoned Russian children under the pretense of vaccinating them.
According to many sources, Stalin decided to deport the entire Jewish population to remote areas of Siberia and the Far East. Lists of Jews were being created by personnel departments and building managements. One list for Jews and one for mixed marriages.
The trial of the doctors was to take place on March 5-7. During the execution of the doctors-poisoners on March 11-12, a letter was to be read by a well-known Jew who would beg the Communist Party and the Soviet government to deport Jews to save them from the justified wrath of the Soviet people.
A delay in compiling the lists affected Stalin’s deadlines. After his death on March 5, the new government cancelled the trial, the execution, and the deportation. The doctors were exonerated.