April 4, 2020

2019 Report on Antisemitism in Russia

The Russian Jewish Congress distributed a report on antisemitism in 2019, prepared by the Sova Center.

It should be noted right away that the number of manifestations of antisemitism in Russia recorded by monitoring remains insignificant. According to the report, the most serious incident of the year was the arson of the utility room of the Torat Haim yeshiva in the Ramensky District of the Moscow Region.

Experts regarded one incident related to violence as having occurred on the basis of antisemitism. In May, a St. Petersburg taxi driver beat musician Alexander Zaslavsky. At first, the taxi driver expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the musician got into his car with a bottle of beer, and after Zaslavsky removed the bottle, the driver shouted an antisemitic curse, blocked the doors of the car and beat him. However, it is noteworthy that the antisemitic motive was not decisive and surfaced only when the conflict had already begun.

Monitoring recorded slightly more acts of antisemitic vandalism than in the previous one, 2018.For example, in Kaliningrad in March Nazi symbols desecrated a tombstone on the grave of a nineteenth-century Jewish preacher, Israel Salanter, at a Jewish cemetery in the area of ​​the Lithuanian Wall, which had previously been repeatedly attacked by vandals. In June, next to the Moscow Choral Synagogue, a woman painted a star of David and the inscription “MOSSAD” on the walls with a spray can. In September, one of the local residents drew a cross on a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, established by the Russian Jewish Congress in the village of Aksay, Oktyabrsky District, Volgograd Region.

In the public sphere, as before, although to a slightly lesser extent, Ukrainian events are becoming an occasion for antisemitic comments. For example, in April, actor Ivan Okhlobystin published an antisemitic post on his VKontakte page. Before that, he, along with Mikhail Porechenkov, published a video in support of the then-presidential candidate of Ukraine Zelensky, and Zelensky called both actors idiots. After that, Okhlobystin wrote that Zelensky was in danger because of his ethnicity: “What for a Jew to climb into our Horde squabbles? Of course, we have a lot of our Jews, but they are ours. <...> If I were a member of the secret Zion League, I would do my best to get rid of such a brother. "

Experts are worried by the state’s pressure on Jewish organizations. So, in February, Velvel Belinsky and Asher Altshul, foreign lecturers of the Jewish Life Hacker seminar for Jewish youth in Novosibirsk, were held administratively liable for “illegal” missionary work. Such was considered their participation in the seminar, because when applying for a visa, tourism was indicated as the purpose of the visit. Each of them was fined 2 thousand rubles under Art. 18.8 Administrative Code (violation by a foreign citizen of the rules of entry into the Russian Federation). In March, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation included in the register of non-profit organizations that act as a foreign agent, the Saratov Regional Jewish Charity Center “Khasdey Yerushalaim” (Charity).

Source: Jews Eurasia