February 14th, 2005

Protest against members of the Duma

Russian President Vladimir Putin has, for the first time, spoken out loud and clear about the anti-Semitism in his country. At an event in Poland on 27 January 2005 to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp at Auschwitz he explicitly condemned the anti-Semitic behaviour of a group of Russian parliamentarians. He was reacting to a letter signed by 19 nationalist and communist members of the Duma. This document contains invective against “international Jewry”, culminating in the accusation that the “anti-Christian and inhumane” Jewish religion is conducive to ritual murder. The Russian parliament adopted a resolution condemning the letter. According to a recent poll 42 per cent of Russians believe that Jews should be kept away from positions of power. 59 per cent support the slogan “Russia for the Russians!” The European Jewish Congress (EJC) has called upon the EU to avoid any contact with the signatories of this letter and to condemn their conduct in the sharpest terms.