Anti-Jewish attacks grow across Russia

By staff writers
November 17, 2006

Anti-Jewish attacks grow across Russia

-17/11/06

Russia's Jewish community is calling on authorities to tighten security around synagogues to stave off a growing tide of attacks across the country - writes Sophia Kishkovsky for Ecumenical News International.

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia issued its appeal after an incident in Surgut, a Siberian oil industry centre on 5 November. Assailants threw two Molotov cocktails into the office of the local Jewish community and left threatening fliers.

The attack took place in the middle of the night, so no one was injured, but it was a new alert that attacks on synagogues have become increasingly frequent in 2006. In January already there was a knife attack on a synagogue on Moscow's Bolshaya Bronnaya Street by Aleksandr Koptsev, aged 20, who said he was inspired by xenophobic literature, including Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'.

"After the attack on Bronnaya we created a special fund, called the Shield of David, to strengthen security at synagogues," Timur Kireyev, a spokesperson for the Federation of Jewish Communities, told ENI recently. "These include metal doors, video monitoring, metal detectors. This is not enough to avert the throwing of stones or drawing of swastikas, but we think that if local authorities introduce patrols, this will avert excesses. It's no secret that any kind of patrolling lowers crime."

Kireyev said the Jewish federation regards general xenophobia, rather than a specific rise in anti-Semitism, as the motive for the attacks.

In October 2006, rocks were thrown at synagogues in Astrakhan and Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East, a swastika and anti-Semitic expletives were drawn on a synagogue in Vladivostok, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a mosque in Vladimir, and Muslim and Jewish graves were desecrated in Tver.

"As a rule, these acts are carried out by local radical nationalist groups, by Russian National Unity, skinheads, or other such groups," Aleksandr Brod, director of the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, which monitors hate crimes, told ENI. "Militant xenophobia and anti-Semitism are the basis of these groups, antagonism towards other people and religions."

[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Conference of European Churches]

Anti-Jewish attacks grow across Russia

-17/11/06

Russia's Jewish community is calling on authorities to tighten security around synagogues to stave off a growing tide of attacks across the country - writes Sophia Kishkovsky for Ecumenical News International.

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia issued its appeal after an incident in Surgut, a Siberian oil industry centre on 5 November. Assailants threw two Molotov cocktails into the office of the local Jewish community and left threatening fliers.

The attack took place in the middle of the night, so no one was injured, but it was a new alert that attacks on synagogues have become increasingly frequent in 2006. In January already there was a knife attack on a synagogue on Moscow's Bolshaya Bronnaya Street by Aleksandr Koptsev, aged 20, who said he was inspired by xenophobic literature, including Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'.

"After the attack on Bronnaya we created a special fund, called the Shield of David, to strengthen security at synagogues," Timur Kireyev, a spokesperson for the Federation of Jewish Communities, told ENI recently. "These include metal doors, video monitoring, metal detectors. This is not enough to avert the throwing of stones or drawing of swastikas, but we think that if local authorities introduce patrols, this will avert excesses. It's no secret that any kind of patrolling lowers crime."

Kireyev said the Jewish federation regards general xenophobia, rather than a specific rise in anti-Semitism, as the motive for the attacks.

In October 2006, rocks were thrown at synagogues in Astrakhan and Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East, a swastika and anti-Semitic expletives were drawn on a synagogue in Vladivostok, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a mosque in Vladimir, and Muslim and Jewish graves were desecrated in Tver.

"As a rule, these acts are carried out by local radical nationalist groups, by Russian National Unity, skinheads, or other such groups," Aleksandr Brod, director of the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, which monitors hate crimes, told ENI. "Militant xenophobia and anti-Semitism are the basis of these groups, antagonism towards other people and religions."

[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Conference of European Churches]

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