Anti-Semitism on the rise in Russia and Moscow sends the wrong message about this trend

Vitaly Milonov, vice speaker of the Russian State Duma and member of Putin's "United Russia" party, wearing a t-shirt with a sign "Orthodoxy Or Death." (Image: social media)

Vitaly Milonov, vice speaker of the Russian State Duma and member of Putin's "United Russia" party, wearing a t-shirt with a sign "Orthodoxy Or Death." (Image: social media) 

Analysis & Opinion, Politics, Russia

Given the rise in xenophobia in Russian society following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and his increasingly repressive authoritarianism at home, many have pointed to the danger that anti-Semitism, one of the ugliest plagues of Russian history, is making a comeback.

Russian officials and commentators have proudly and up to a point accurately noted that what anti-Semitism there currently is in Putin’s Russia is incomparably less than there was in late Soviet or imperial times. But there are signs there claims are increasingly hollow.

Developments in the past month are especially worrisome and those this week are even more so because they suggest that contrary to what the Kremlin claims, Russian officials are giving aid and comfort to at least some anti-Semites and thus sending a signal to Russians that the limits of the permissible in attacking Jews have expanded.

Not only are Russian officials very publicly working to deport a rabbi and his family from Sochi as security risks, but they have opened a case against someone who used to repost to criticize a Duma deputy who said Jews in the past “boiled Christians in pots.”

Yesterday, during a demonstration in St. Petersburg in support of handing over to the Russian Orthodox Church St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Duma deputy Vitaly Milonov told the crowd that Jews, because of age-old hatreds, were orchestrating opposition to the return of the cathedral.

“Christians survived,” he said, despite the fact that the ancestors of Boris Lazrevich Vishnevsky and Maksim Lvovich Reznik [two Jewish deputies in the St. Petersburg legislative assembly who oppose handing the cathedral back to the Russian Orthodox Church] boiled us in pots and fed the remains to beasts.”

Milonov added that “if there weren’t these new anti-priests and provocateurs, there wouldn’t have been any protests” about the church transfer. But the two Jewish deputies, he continued, were “using this situation for political PR.”

Such an outrageous expression of anti-Semitism should have been condemned by all people of good will, but instead of joining them, the Russian government took a step which at least some Russians will see as an indication of just what side of the debate about Jews the Kremlin is on.

As the New Chronicle of Current Events reported, they instead brought new charges against Open Russia activist Dmitry Semenov for reporting a picture of the very same Duma deputy wearing a t-shirt reading “Orthodoxy or Death.

Nominally, of course, the Russian authorities claimed they were combating extremism which they suggested Semenov was promoting by reposting this picture. But few if any Russians or others except those who are prepared to justify anything Moscow does are going to read this step in that way.

And in a development unrelated to this back and forth, the Russian Imperial House attacked the Jewish banking house of the Rothschilds for supposedly facilitating, on behalf of the United States, the theft of the Russian gold reserve from Russia.


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Alex George

    Russia is the headquarters of modern fascism, so it is no surprise that its attempts to hide widespread Russian anti-semitism are failing. Many Jewish people have understood the true nature of the Kremlin regime – hence why some of the most courageous defenders of Ukraine are Jewish.

    The Israeli government foolishly did deals with the Kremlin in the past. For example, Israel supplied Russia with state-of-the-art modern drones up until 2015. Ironically, these drones helped to pinpoint and kill Ukrainian soldiers – some of whom were Jewish.

    Many Jews both in and outside Israel have tried to warn their government of the dangers of dealing with Russia and it appears these warning are being heeded. The supply of drones has been cut off and Israel is now discussing trade deals with Ukraine.

    • Scradje

      The home of ‘the protocols of the elders of zion’ and the home of modern fascism. The most anti-semitic non-muslim majority nation on earth. How many Jews want to emigrate there? The movement is all in the other direction. As for Israel, doing business with a thug regime that supplies weaponry and nuclear tech to its most evil enemies is crazy and plain wrong. It should immediately build a firm alliance with Ukraine. Long overdue.

  • Y K

    Milonov is only interesting as (stupidly) expressing what most Putinoids think in private. There is a direct correlation between the “Putinism of the brain” and anti-Semitism, notwithstanding Putin’s own not-inconsiderable stable of “court Jews”.

    I don’t think anybody in the Israeli establishment has any illusions about Putin’s regime. It is, however, futile to expect much of Israel vis-à-vis Russia – beyond protecting its interests on its Northern border – as long as the nominal leaders of the free world keep behaving the way they have been doing during the past 8 years. At least the firing of Flynn is a positive sign.

    • Scradje

      It would be good if Petraeus takes over; he has a far more realistic analysis of what putlerstan is up to.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        But that is precisely why Trump won’t accept Petraeus in my opinion.

        • туфтуф

          Petraeus made a sexy mess with his secretary and in the conservative, family and anti pederast oriented America he is finished.

  • Dirk Smith

    LOL. Another fat mongol-muscovite who likes to shoot machine guns. Go figure.

    • stoichkov8

      the moskovites are some funny people. they invented vodka. :)))

  • zorbatheturk

    ruSSians have always been antisemitic. They are anti everything.

  • туфтуф

    This article is stupid. I regularly read Jerusalem post and its FULL of criticism of ukro nazi ideology, without EVER mentioning Russia. Propaganda worthy of Stalin. On the other hand, ukroland was for so long part of Stalins empire that articles like this 1 come as no surprise to me.

  • zorbatheturk

    Antisemitism is just one of a long list of unfortunate -isms which ruSSians seem partial too. Their history is a long line of -isms: tsarism, despotism, imperialism, Bolshevism, Marxist-Leninism, Communism, Stalinism, totalitarianism, terrorism, Putinism, etc. I may have missed one or two. They seem to always bet on the wrong horse. Karl Marx, for example, while obviously an intelligent man and deep thinker, would probably be incapable of running a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in Van Nuts at a profit. Sure, the house in Germany where Marx was born remains a popular stop on the itinerary of most Chinese bus tours in Europe. But who was he to tell anyone how to run an economy? He did not have a clue about labour and capital in the real world. Nevertheless, the dumbass Bolsheviks fell for his schtick, and as a result Putin’s RuSSiya was and is a craphole.

    Groucho Marx is far preferable to Karl.