Moscow, June 18, 2001 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called for a
swift investigation by Russian authorities into the recent anti-Semitic
incidents in the northwestern Russian city of Velikie Luki. In the first
incident, 43 graves were damaged in the Jewish cemetery. In the second, windows
were shattered in the recently renovated building of the Jewish charity
organization that serves elderly and needy Jews.
The Moscow office of the Anti-Defamation League called on Governor Yevgeny
Mikhailov of Pskov Region, Mayor Andrey Migrov of the City of Velikie Luki, and
the Presidential Representative in Northwestern Russia, Viktor Cherkesov, urging
the authorities to take immediate steps to ensure swift investigation of the
In the letters to the officials, ADL stressed that the incidents that took
place on June 13 and 15 were not isolated cases of anti-Semitism in Velikie Luki.
"Shortly before the last week’s attacks, a number of Jewish citizens
in Velikie Luki received anti-Semitic threats in the mail. Last year, a popular
newspaper ran an anti-Semitic article, and anti-Semitic leaflets were
distributed throughout the town against the Magen Hesed charity center,"
said Alexander Axelrod, Director of the ADL Moscow office.
"The recent incidents took place in a city where in the past two years
the authorities have been showing a high level of tolerance toward the presence
of extremist groups, including extreme right Russian National Unity
organization, and failed to respond to the calls from the Jewish leaders to curb
extremist activities and ensure safety of the community."
In a separate letter to Russian Orthodox Archbishop Evseviy of Pskov and
Velikie Luki, ADL urged the church leader to condemn the recent anti-Semitic
incidents against a minority faith as violating fundamental religious values