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Anti-Semitism Returns To Russia

Anti-Semitism Returns To Russia Anti-Semitism in Russia, which decreased during the late 1980’s and 1990’s with the fade-out of Communism, is on the upswing again – possibly a result of the country’s economic difficulties. The Jewish Agency’s Global Jewish Agenda reports that there have been assaults against Jews in towns throughout the country, and that “dozens of newspapers throughout Russia continue undisturbed to publish articles condemning Jews.” The report specifies newspapers published by the Russian Orthodox Church in Yekterinburg as having “published direct calls for pogroms for some time,” while an editor in Krasnoyarsk known for talking of the “Jew-boys who have taken over Russia” was recently elected to the local parliament. An anti-Semitic play was performed at Moscow’s Miakovsky Museum two weeks ago, and anti-Semitic tapes on sale were bought up with enthusiasm.

Amos Lahat, a leading Jewish Agency representative in Russia, said that anti-Semitism was official government policy there for hundreds of years, until the beginning of Perestroika [the policy of reform instituted by Gorbachev in the 1980’s]. “Jewish roots no longer hindered the holding of key positions in national organizations, university acceptance, and the like, and Jews began to appear on the political stage,” he said. But this changed with the onset of the economic crisis of the 1990’s: “As the standard of living for most of the population declined, anti-Semitism rose once again… A number of anti-Semitic organizations rose up in Russia, which organized mass demonstrations, incited youngsters against the Jews…” Lahat said that throughout the past years of political reform, the Russian Parliament has been unable to pass even one anti-Fascist law.

Les Brown


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