Anti-Semitism in Russia in 2000: An Overview

Introduction
Violence Against Jews
Anti-Semitism in Politics
Ultranationalist Organizations
Hate on the Internet
Russia's Response to Anti-Semitism
What Needs to be Done

Related ADL Articles:
David Duke in Russia

ADL Moscow Office


Printable VersionPrintable Version
Help ADL Fight Anti-Semitism!

Contribute to ADL
Anti-Semitism in Political Life

In recent years anti-Semitism has become an obvious weapon in the political life of Russia.

The fact is that anti-Semitism remains an underlying theme in many major political and public debates in Russia.

Potentially greater threats are those instances when the political mainstream echoes anti-Semitic ideas, using for example such stereotypes as an alleged lack of Jewish loyalty to Russia.
Anti-Semitism is so ingrained in public discourse that many Russians are not even able to recognize anti-Jewish bias

One example is the standoff between President Putin and the oligarchs. While the public largely welcomes Putinís battle against the business moguls, some sectors of the population make no clear distinction between the class of rich and influential tycoons and the Jewish people in general. Broad public approval of the governmentís actions against the oligarchs, who many see as exploiting the Russian people, coincides with an undercurrent of resentment against Jews in powerful positions that has become widespread in Russia since the collapse of Communism in 1991.

Major purveyors of anti-Semitic rhetoric among Russian political parties are the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), Russiaís largest and best organized political organization, and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) led by the flamboyant ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The leadership of both parties have repeatedly alluded to conspiracy theories that can be traced back to both the Tsarist and Soviet times.

Current Russian anti-Semitism uses the language and ideology of Soviet anti-Jewish campaigns. Potentially greater threats are those instances when the political mainstream echoes anti-Semitic ideas, using for example such stereotypes as an alleged lack of Jewish loyalty to Russia. One such example was an attack on liberal candidate Grigoriy Yavlinsky, who is partly Jewish, on a state-controlled television channel in March 2000.

While none of the parties seeking election in the late 1999 and 2000 included overt anti-Semitic slogans in their electoral campaigns on the federal level, ultra-nationalism and xenophobia figured prominently in the pre-election propaganda of a number of blocs. The KPRF and LDPR, resorted to xenophobia and thinly veiled anti-Jewish rhetoric in the 1999-2000 campaigns.

On the local level, the most notorious case of political anti-Semitism was that of Alexander Mikhailov, the governor-elect of the central Russian region of Kursk. In his first interview with a major national newspaper after being installed in the office in November, Mikhailov, a senior member of the Communist Party, lashed out against an alleged anti-Russian conspiracy that included a Russian Jewish umbrella group and his predecessor who was half-Jewish.

Nikolay Kondratenko, the former governor of the southern Krasnodar region, who has used anti-Semitism heavily in his public rantings over the last several years, did not seek re-election late last year. He still remains a cause for concern for human rights watchers and the Jewish community since he was appointed to represent his home region in Russian parliamentís upper house.



Next: Ultranationalist Organizations


ADL Home Page | International Home Page
Search | About ADL | Contact ADL | Privacy Policy

© 2001 Anti-Defamation League