Kerensky not a Jew

Naomi Fatouros (nee FELDMAN), who wrote "Kerensky was not a Jew" gives us some background: "Gregor Zvi (Zvi Hirsch) Belkowsky, first cousin of my grandfather, Dr. Isidor Belkowsky, was a noted and ardent Zionist and lawyer. Toward the end of his residence in Russia, according to his memoir (which was roughly translated for me from the Hebrew by a kind Israeli), Gregor Zvi worked as a consultant to the Supreme Economic Council of the Kerensky government. Because he was able to immediately answer a question posed to him by Malyatovich, he was invited to become the manager of the department of codification of the law. He declined because, as he wrote, he did not want to serve in the Kremlin and he harbored a deep, long-seated wish to leave Russia for Palestine, which he managed to fulfill in 1924 when he was threatened with exile to Obdursk for his Zionist activities.

Because I hadn't had any reason to think that during Gregor Zvi's life he had any political interests other than Zionism, I wondered how it was that he was invited to Moscow, from St.Petersburg where he had lived, and how he might have fitted in the Kerensky government, so, although I had read many scholarly books concerning Russian life before and after the Revolution, I hadn't been easily able to locate books about the short-lived Provisional government and its dramatis personae. Even though Andrew and Gordievsky had access to some KGB files, I would still question the veracity of what those files contained about anyone or any event. A KGB notation that Kerensky
was a Jew may have stood only for the someone's recommendation or justification that his reputation be destroyed lest any of his life and beliefs be given credence and value by "the people." I think I have good reason to believe that KGB files contain much information which are either inadvertently untrue because of an agent's carelessness, or deliberately untrue to conform to the wishes of some governmental "higher-up." It has been more than a decade since that KGB book appeared so maybe still more files have been made accessible and the veracity of many KGB notations or files about a particular person will be questioned and eventually disproved.

I tend to agree that the world's history would have been happier had the Kerensky government survived. but, unlike you, I did not know Kerensky. From what I've read he seems to have lacked perception and judgment although, perhaps, even the most intelligent and omniscient person could not have prevented what ensued. Several books have indicated that Kerensky's oratorical style was ridiculous. But then, the same could be said about many other politicians!"

RH: On Kerensky, see Alexander Kerensky : the first love of the revolution by Abraham, Richard, 1941-
Russia 1917, the Kornilov affair : Kerensky and the breakup of the Russian army by Katkov, George.1980
During the Soviet period, I was given a personal tour of Moscow's Museum of the Russian Revolution. The official, a woman, gave me a detailed account of the Russian revolution. No mention of Kerensky, a nonperson. At the end I said "What about Kerensky?" She was silent, as though I had mentioned the devil. Finally, she said abruptly "He was mad". I never heard Kerensky give a political speech. Once I invited him to my home to chat with a group of visiting journalists. He was normal, indeed charming, and clearly grateful that he was no longer a nonperson. I wonder if Cameron Sawyer can tell us about his reputation in Russia today.

From Moscow, Cameron Sawyer reports: "Kerensky has been partially rehabilitated, just because Russians have taken up their pre-1917 with such joy after being liberated from Communism. But the historical record shows pretty clearly, I think, that Kerensky was a fool who was intoxicated by his own rhetoric, who was terrified of the actually mostly well-meaning right forces, and who rejected clear evidence that Lenin would be his undoing. The pathetic Kornilov affair with Kerensky's clumsy provocation probably gave the Bolsheviks their chance.

Kerensky was a revolutionary like Lenin and no democrat; he was simply less bloodthirsty and more sentimental. In the event, the Bolsheviks knocked him over with a feather. As far as I can tell, Russians today remember him either in a positive light, as being the last non-Bolshevik leader of Russia and thus possibly their last chance, or as the bumbler who let Lenin take over. The Russian Internet site, sponsored by the Ministry of Education for high school students, has an excellent article about Kerensky ( which is quite factual and betrays no particular opinion about whether Kerensky was good or bad for Russia. The main theme of the article is the progressive falling apart of the Russian state during the course of 1917 as the background for the Bolshevik coup de etat.

It is an amazing coincidence from history that Kerensky and Lenin were born on the same day, eleven years apart, in the same provincial town of Simbirsk. They attended the same gymnasium, where Kerensky's father was the headmaster. The article emphasizes this coincidence, painting a picture of "Volodya and Sascha" running around the same streets and squares as children. We can well imagine the heavy shadow of history falling over the two children's birthday parties occurring on the same day year after year.

Unlike Lenin, Kerensky lived a long life. He was still alive in the sixties, dying only in 1970 in New York. I believe that Ronald knew him". RH: Of course. I knew him well when he was at Stanford.

Alberto Gutiérrez reports on the sources which erroneously said Kerensky was a Jew: " I considered Kerensky a Jew after reading : "On July 20th, Kerensky (Adler) the Jewish Napoleon, became Prime Minister ..." in the booklet Behind Communism" by Frank l. Britton. Since according to Ms Fatouros Kerensky was not Jewish, and you knew him well at Stanford to confirm that fact, I realize that my source was faulty. However, in no time did I lump Kerensky with Jewish revolutionaries and Bolsheviks in order to prove any link between Russia's Provisional Government and Jews. Nor did I resort to that notorious forgery "Th Protocols of the Elders of Zion" . I specifically considered the curious number of Jews involved in the Russian upheaval from the days of the first Marxist party, those who participated in the counterrevolution of October 1917 and many others afterwards. Including Yunger Semjovich, better known as Fabio Grobart, the key man of the Kremlin in Havana at least until 1959".

Ronald Hilton -