Antisemitism in Russia
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Part of Jewish history
The progressive insertion of antisemitism into the mainstream of Russian political life, including through parliamentary petitions and judicial inquiries into Jewish ritual, however, has provided a driving force behind newly virulent attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions. Members of minorities from the Caucasus as well as people of African or Asian origin also bear the brunt of xenophobia, including dozens of racist murders in the course of 2006.
Jews in Russia are victims of especially pernicious discrimination that draws upon attitudes rooted in centuries of antisemitism. Antisemitic views today are an increasing feature of the public statements of a wide range of public figures, nationalist political parties, and extremist groups and can also be found in the mainstream media. Antisemitic literature is widely available, sold in Russia’s kiosks and bookstores.
Spheres of Antisemitism
During the 90s Anti-Semitism was an enduring undercurrent and source of anxiety, its presence affirmed by easily accessible anti-Semitic newspapers and other publications, street or popular anti-Semitism. The number of anti-Semitic incidents rose sharply after the 1998 Russian financial crisis the devaluation of the rouble and the ensuing economic hardships affecting a broad segment of the general population.
The most high-profile anti Semitic voices are those of several Russian communist public figures such as Nikolai Kondratenko, the governor of Krasnodar Krai. The latter has blamed the Kremlin, which he claims is controlled by Jews and Zionists, for the demise of the communist party, the Chechen conflict and other problems. He had formed an alliance with local cossacks and is said to believe that an international Jewish conspiracy rules the world. and deputies of the State Duma from the CPRF, Albert Makashov and Viktor Ilyukhin. On November 1998 the State Duma considered and rejected a measure to denounce Makashov. In late December 1998 Gennady Zyuganov under pressure to publicly censure the bigoted statements of his comrades did indeed denounce anti-Semitism, but at the same time labeled Zionism "a blood relative of fascism".
Since the mid-2000s incorporation of antisemitic discourse into the platforms and speeches of nationalist political movements in Russia has been reported by human rights monitors in Russia as well as in the press. Antisemitic slogans and rhetoric in public demonstrations are frequently reported, most of them attributed to nationalist parties and political groups. In a February 23, 2006 rally celebrating “Defenders of the Fatherland Day”, a yearly tribute to war veterans, according to the newspaper Kommersant, marchers flourished signs with messages including "Kikes! Stop drinking Russian blood!", “White Power!", and "A Russian government for Russia".
As extreme nationalists proclaim “Russia for the Russians,” slogans have been backed by political action to demand the supremacy of ethnic Russians and of the Russian Orthodox Church. Actions by mainstream and semi-clandestine political parties alike have taken up the banner of religious homogeneity, attacking minority religions including Protestant and other non-Orthodox Christian faiths. Even in protests and demonstrations at the presence of so-called “nontraditional” Christian faiths, antisemitism remains a unifying theme and rallying cry for violence and intolerance.
On June 9, 2005, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II addressed the international conference of the OSCE in Cordoba, Spain, to declare that the Russian Orthodox Church shares concerns over "incidents of antisemitism, xenophobia and other forms of racism". He described antisemitism, as "one of the more radical expression of misanthropy and racism", and said its perpetrators included “public figures, publicists, and the leaders of radical organizations".
- History of the Jews in Russia
- Israel–Russia relations
- Antisemitism in the Russian Empire
- Antisemitism in the Soviet Union
- Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire
- Racism in Russia
- Georgy Lesskis, "A chauvinist at the Helm in Krasnodar", Diagnosis, December 1997 p.2
- Washington Post, November 8, 1998
- “Antisemites Rally in Moscow; Police Stand By,” UCSJ, Bigotry Monitor, Volume 6, Number 9, March 3, 2006, citing Kommersant, February 26, 2006.
- Antisemitism 2007 Hate Crime Survey, Human Rights First, 2007.
- Russia – Patriarch Alexei II Denounces Antisemitism", Coordinating Forum for Countering Antisemitism, June 9, 2005.