Zaslavsky, David

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ZASLAVSKY, DAVID (1880–1965), Russian journalist and publicist. An early opponent of the Bolsheviks, he became one of their most zealous defenders and propagandists. He studied law at the University of Kiev, and in 1903 joined the *Bund, writing manifestos which led to his imprisonment for short periods by the czarist police. He took up journalism in 1904 and was a correspondent for liberal dailies in Yiddish and Russian. In 1917 he was a Bund delegate to the Workers' Councils and opposed the Bolsheviks. When the Bolsheviks seized power in October, he left for Kiev, but acknowledged his error when the Bolsheviks occupied Kiev. In 1920 he published an open letter in which he "confessed" his anti-Bolshevism. In 1925 he published another letter in which he tried to "atone" and asked to be accepted into the Communist Party, but he was allowed membership only in 1934. From 1926 he was a political writer for Izvestiya, and from 1928 until the end of his career, for Pravda. During the period of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact he included attacks on the Jews in his articles on international affairs. During World War ii he was a member of the Jewish *Anti-Fascist Committee; he was not arrested in 1948/49 with most of the other members of the committee. Zaslavsky was unsparing in his attacks on "deviationists," among them Boris *Pasternak for his novel Dr. Zhivago. After the establishment of the State of Israel he was one of its most violent critics in his editorial and feuilleton writing. He studied the treatment of Jews in Russian literature and concluded that it was antisemitic.

Zaslavsky wrote biographies of Plekhanov and Lassalle (1925) and an account of the U.S. Civil War (1926). A collection of his articles was published in 1960 under the title Day by Day. Zaslavsky admitted that the Communists had only partially solved the Jewish problem in the U.S.S.R.


D. Shub, in: Forward (June 8, 1965); lnyl, 3 (1960), 554–6.

[Yitzhak Maor]