Anti-Semitism in Russia in 2000: An Overview

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

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David Duke in Russia

ADL Moscow Office

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Russia's Response to Anti-Semitism

In 2000, the official response to anti-Semitism remained ambiguous at both the federal and local level.

A policy of non-enforcement of the law against evident manifestations of anti-Semitism continued.
There has been no indication that authorities are poised to change their largely ambivalent stand on countering extremist trends, protecting minorities' rights and promoting democracy.

Since his inauguration in March 2000, President Vladimir Putin has made several strong verbal commitments to fight anti-Semitism and extremism. He has also demonstrated his support to the Jewish community by attending two events at the Moscow Lubavitch Center in September and December. Yet, the year 2000 has shown that fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of xenophobia was not a priority for the Kremlin. This is especially troubling given that the President gained his popularity largely due to the nationalist tint of the military campaign in Chechnya he re-launched in 1999.

The Russian leadership’s failure to openly condemn such acts as Governor Mikhailov’s blatantly anti-Semitic statement caused anxiety among Russian Jews. The storm of protest that Mikhailov’s conduct generated among Jews and the mainstream media in Russia and abroad moved Russian leaders to chastise Mikhailov. Yet the local prosecutor in Kursk refused to examine the matter from a legal perspective which could result in prosecuting the governor for ethnic incitement.

A policy of non-enforcement of the law against evident manifestations of anti-Semitism continued, including an obvious reluctance of prosecutors to enforce the existing legislation that provides criminal responsibility for hate crimes (article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code.) While Russian legislation bans the incitement of ethnic and religious animosity, not one hate crime case saw its way through a Russian court in 2000, with all the charges that were brought either dropped or delayed indefinitely.

The most serious anti-Semitic incidents in 2000, including a neo-Nazi rampage at a Jewish school in Ryazan in September, were not treated seriously either by federal or by local authorities. In this and some other cases, authorities tried to present anti-Semitic and xenophobic behavior as acts of hooliganism. In one case of vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in Samara in June, culprits were found but only after a Jewish organization offered a cash prize to the police.

Next: What Needs to be Done

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