Genesis Philanthropy Group and Studio Namedni present a documentary trilogy about the phenomenon of Russian Jews – in Russia and beyond. Author and narrator: Leonid Parfenov. Director: Sergey Nurmamed. The first film of the trilogy by famous Russian journalist and TV host Leonid Parfenov tells the story of the Jewish people across Russian empire, their traditional way of life in Russia and their entering into the society at large, about famous bankers, scientists and artists reshaping their attitude to the rites of their ancestry. It is the story about the Russian word “pogrom” entering foreign dictionaries, about the Beylis Case and about the first wave of Jewish emigration. It is about the revolutionaries who shattered the Tsarist regime and changed the fate of the country in October 1917. *** The second film in the trilogy by famous Russian journalist and TV host Leonid Parfenov captures the thirty-year period of a large scale Jewish participation in every domain of the Soviet political and cultural life. Centuries of harassment and pent-up energy among Jewish youth - which were the subject of the first film in the "Russian Jews" trilogy - spilled out in the form of unparalleled career success in the new state. The film describes Leon Trotsky's role as the constructor of the Red Army, Marc Chagall's early career, Sergey Eisenstein's creation of a new visual language, the first Soviet popular music stars from composers Matvei Blanter and Isaak Dunaevsky to the singer Leonid Utyosov, writers, with Isaac Babel in the lead, who brought the zest of Odessa into the mainstream literature and other figures and fates, without which the grandiose Soviet "project" is impossible to understand.
Film 3: The KGB killing the head of the Jewish Antifascist Committee, Solomon Mikhoels, opens a new chapter in the official Soviet attitude towards the Jews. The further execution of Jewish Antifascist Committee active members, the fight against “rootless cosmopolitans,” i.e. Jews, start the new state anti-Semitism. A new blood libel – “The Doctor’s Plot.” Stalin’s death prevents the massacre, but the official Russian-Jewish harmony will never be restored under the Soviet regime. The number of the super stars loved by the whole country won’t decrease: Mikhail Botvinnik is the major chess player, Arkadiy Raykin is the major comic actor, Maya Plisetskaya is major primа ballerina, Alexander Galitch and Vladimir Vysotsky are the major bards. Other famous and widely acknowledged Jewish names remain in all spheres – from nuclear physics to pop-music, but Jews stopped being the co-authors of Russian communism. They are not allowed any more to the greater politics and are more engaged into anti-Soviet activity. Soviet shadow economy could be hardly imagined without Jews too, illegal enterprise since 1960’s will be prosecuted with death penalty. The same decade marks the beginning of the dissident movement. The grandsons of the revolutionary Jews bring to the dismantling the statehood the same hot temper and audacity their grandparents infused into the czar’s demise. The emigration permit in 1970’s makes the ethnicity the means to deny socialism and the reason to quit the country. The fall of the Soviet Union will put an end to the «Jewish issue» as the last soviet generation knew it. Genesis Philanthropy Group - http://www.gpg.org/