THE RUSSIAN FASCISTS: Tragedy and Farce in Exile, 1925-1945 by John J. Stephan

THE RUSSIAN FASCISTS: Tragedy and Farce in Exile, 1925-1945

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bitter in their exile, many of the millions of Russians who fled their home-land after the Revolution proved susceptible to the appeals of fascist demagogy. University of Hawaii Professor John J. Stephan describes how two principal Russian fascist organizations emerged during the inter-war years in Harbin, Manchuria, where many exiles found a precarious refuge, and in Putnam, Connecticut. Stephan's command of Japanese, as well as Russian, enables him to exploit much hitherto untapped material on Harbin, once a center for Japanese ambitions in China and Siberia. His chronological narrative contains a fascinating account of the little known, bizarre, and often bloody world of ÉmigrÉ Harbin, home to an anti-Semitic Russian fascist organization led by Konstantin V. Rodzaevsky. Sometimes independently, and sometimes on Japanese orders, this organization actually carried out a few acts of anti-Soviet espionage and sabotage. Although briefly allied with Rodzaevsky, Anastase A. Vonsiatsky's Connecticut-based organization, with its toy battleships and fantasy agents in the Kremlin, was historically less important. Stephan's overly detailed treatment of Vonsiatsky might better have been relegated to a separate lesser work, perhaps subtitled, ""Farce in Exile."" Stephan claims that the historical significance of the Russian fascists (at least in Rodzaevsky's case) lies in how, unwittingly, they ended up aping their archenemy, Stalin. Some readers, however, may attach more importance to the role their exaggerated claims of sabotage and penetration played as fuel for Stalin's attacks on ""wreckers"" and ""spies."" Despite such questions of interpretation and emphasis, Stephan's extensive research is path-breaking and results in a work of wide potential interest.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row