Crimea 2008: A lesson about uses and misuses of history

Jonathan Dekel-Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In 2008 a former Russian press minister, Mikhail Poltoranin, made several antisemitic statements regarding Jewish agricultural settlement in Crimea in the interwar period. In a TV interview, and later in an interview with the newspaper "Argumenty i fakty", he claimed that according to recently de-classified documents, it was two Soviet Jewish leaders, Bragin and Koltsov, who misled the government into taking a JDC loan in order to construct a Jewish republic in Crimea based on agricultural colonization. After the war, nervous about their ability to repay this loan, as well as the Lend-Lease debts, the Soviets agreed to resettle Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in Crimea. Thus, the Jews were depicted as the culprits of the expulsion of the Crimean Tatars to Central Asia in 1944 and of the subsequent ceding of Crimea from Russia to Ukraine. Dismisses Poltoranin's fabrications; notes that his statements suggest that Jews in the former USSR may still be vulnerable to higher political struggles and to the effects of old Soviet-style habits of historical manipulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-105
Number of pages5
JournalEast European Jewish Affairs
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Agricultural settlement
  • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
  • Crimea
  • Doctors' Plot
  • Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee
  • Soviet Union
  • Stalin
  • antisemitism

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Antisemitism -- Russia (Federation)
  • Jews -- Soviet Union -- History
  • Jews -- Ukraine -- Crimea


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