A case could be made for Mr. Ellis as a covert moralist and closet sentimentalist, the best kind, the kind who leaves you space in which to respond as your predispositions nudge you, whether as a commissar or hand-wringer or, like me, as an admirer of his intelligence and craft.
Konev was a Russian who had begun his military career as a commissar, and he was a strong brutal character of great energy but limited education, unable to express himself well on paper. He realized his own limitations and sorted out operative and tactical problems on the spot, leaving all other matters to his staff.ivan konev
But my knowledge of Marxism was limited to knowing that Marx was a Jew, and that he had a long white beard. I said to Lunatcharsky (the political communist commissar for Education, 1918) ‘Whatever you do, don’t ask me why I painted in blue or green, and why you can see a calf inside the cow’s belly, etc. On the other hand you’re welcome: if Marx is so wise, let him come back to life and explain it himself’. I showed him my canvases.marc chagall
[W]idespread public perceptions about the role of Jews in the new government [of the Bolsheviks in the early Soviet Union] led to aggressive surveillance and repression of anti-Jewish attitudes and behavior, including the execution of Russian nationalists who expressed anti-Jewish attitudes. These public perceptions also motivated Jews to adopt a lower profile in the regime, as with Trotsky, who refused the post of commissar of internal affairs because it might lend further ammunition to the anti-Jewish arguments.
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