Anti-Semitism remains one of the most common expressions of
ethnic and religious intolerance and xenophobia in Russia today. Russia's record
of anti-Semitism throughout most of its history is well known.
prejudices and conduct are not only a heritage of the Tsarist and Communist
past. At any given moment in Russian history, anti-Semitism and the type of
response it receives reflects the current economic, social and political
situation in Russia and the level of maturity of its civil society. In 2000,
similar to previous years in post-Communist Russian history, the Russian
response to anti-Semitism remained ambiguous while the number of anti-Semitic
incidents remained consistent with levels reported in 1999.
Statistics do not reflect the full extent of Russian
anti-Semitism and make the problem seem less serious than it actually is.
Based upon statistics, it might seem that anti-Semitism is not a major problem. This, however, is not the reality. The situation is more serious than any available numbers suggest. It is difficult to get precise figures because of the lack of a monitoring structure and a justified lack of public trust in the willingness and ability of law enforcement to combat hate-based crimes and activities.
The problem of anti-Semitism in Russia remains an issue of considerable concern to
the Jewish community in Russia and abroad mainly due to two reasons.
- Contemporary Russian anti-Semitism is rooted in the language and ideology
of Soviet anti-Jewish campaigns, and Russian society has yet to realize the
extent of this bias to be able to remedy the situation.
- Russian officials and law enforcement do not do enough to combat
anti-Semitism and to openly condemn its manifestations when a need arises.
Russian leaders’ statements criticizing anti-Semitism are usually intended
for the international community. Officials do not feel comfortable enough to
come out domestically against anti-Semitism and xenophobia.
Next: Violence Against Jews