Jew-hating Russian propaganda bought by Netflix removed from service after anger

Russia's propaganda machine has been in full swing since it first invaded Ukraine in February.

From trying to blame Ukraine for literally everything that has happened, to making out that President Vladimir Putin is a chiselled God-like bloke with the power of Zeus, Thor and Iron Man rolled into one – the PR campaign hasn't stopped.

And by-and-large, apart from some strange extreme-left wingers – and union leaders – it has largely been ignored.

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But in 2017, a Russian-made anti-Semitic biographical film about one of the country's most infamous communist leaders was bought by streaming giant Netflix, and it did not go down well.

The story of Leon Trotsky is well told.

To sum-up, he was born in 1879 to a Ukrainian Jewish family, fell in love with Marxism when he moved to Russian in 1896, and was exiled to Siberia in 1898 for “revolutionary activities”.

He escaped four years later, fled to London and became friends with Vladimir Lenin – yes, that Lenin.

Fast forward a few years, he found himself as one of the seven members of the Bolshevik Politiburo. Basically, he held an extremely high position of power within the Soviet Union.

He and former friend Lenin went to war with each other, and Trotsky lost.

He was once again exiled to Turkey, with wife Natalia Sedova and son Lev.

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Fast forward to 1940, having survived several assassination attempts, he was finally killed by Spanish-born Russian agent Ramon Mercader who smashed his skull so hard with an ice axe that it actually went 7cm into his brain.

His legacy was fraught with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, based on the Jew-hating guidebook known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

This book is often used by those seeking to destroy Jews as “evidence” of the power they – or we, in this case (hey, proudly Jewish journalist here) – have.

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Anyway, skip forward around 60 years and Netflix exists.

Russia had made its own big-budget miniseries about Trotsky, and had filled it with every single anti-Semitic conspiracy theory you can think of in a not-so-subtle attempt to blame Trotsky, and the Jews, for all the bad things Russia faced during that time.

It was not pleasant, nor was it historically accurate. It played on the leader's “Jewishness”.

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Writing for Observer, Chris Roberts explained: “Trotsky pins the revolution’s worst abuses . . .squarely on Trotsky.

“From the very first episode, the show emphasizes Trotsky’s 'Jewishness'.

“Trotsky is portrayed as a pawn of a rich foreign Jew, who sees in the revolutionary a method for subverting Russian from without.

“Amid a 'gratuitous' barrage of anti-Semitic language, Lenin is also cast as someone who might have read and taken Protocols to heart.

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“Russia's Channel 1’s decision to broadcast this makes sense within a modern-day Russian context. Its distortions are indefensible but politically acceptable in a xenophobic."

And for some reason, Netflix bosses decided it was a good idea to buy the series and show it.

Netflix never explained its reasons for doing so – and still hasn't – but it caused anger among world Jewry.

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Protests were held online and complaints were made from Jewish groups around the world, but still Netflix stayed silent.

It is not clear when it was taken down, but it is actually no longer available to watch on the streaming service.

Maybe don't buy Russian propaganda next time, Netflix.

Netflix has been approached by the Daily Star for comment.

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