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Religious and cultural public organizations made a stand against nationalism


On Thursday several public organizations at a time uttered their concern about the brisk rise of the popularity of anti-Semitism and racism in Russia. The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia and the Russian Jewish Congress spread information with the call to the Socialist International not to affiliate with the Rodina party. Famous cultural activists from St. Petersburg sent a letter to president Putin, demanding to suppress the open trade of Nazi literature in Russian book stores.

In our country this newly-formed party is mainly famous for the fact that several of its representatives openly try to use anti-Semitism for their own and their partys political ambitions, it is said in the declaration of the Federation of Jewish Communities, which is addressed to the Socialist International. Right now the Socialist International carries on accession negotiations with the Rodina party, lead by delegate Dmitriy Rogozin. The authors of the document remembered the widespread publicity the letter of the 19 received, in which a group of delegates, mainly from the Rodina party (14 out of 19), demanded the prohibition of all Jewish organizations on Russian territory. They also emphasized that today in Europe neo-Nazis have no access to governments or international organizations, and in Russia we have a tradition of not offering anti-Semitists our hand and not sitting down to table with them. The head of the Russian Jewish Congress, Vladimir Slutsker, supported his colleague and also spoke out against Rodina entering the Socialist International. The very fact that there is any dialogue between the Socialist International and Rodina causes perplexity, Mr. Slutsker wrote in his letter.

Meanwhile, on Thursday social activist from St. Petersburg addressed president Putin with an open letter. They expressed their concern about the spread of racism in their city and in the country. in the last years, in addition to the traditional anti-Semitism and xenophobia, racism based on the Nazi doctrine has flourished in Russia and has worked as an ideological basis for never-ending criminal offences: beatings and killings of natives of the Caucasus, Tajiks, Africans, Koreans. Maybe you do not know that special literature is published for the propagation of racism in Russia, the letter -- which was signed by the writer Boris Strugatskiy, the producer Aleksei German, the actor Oleg Basilashvili, and other known cultural activists -- remarks. In the opinion of the people who signed, these are big, pseudo-scientific books, which are not sold in underground passages, but in respectable book stores. In the letter they especially pointed out the work of a certain V. Avdeev (Racial science: The science of hereditary human characteristics) that was published with an ecstatic preface by the State Duma delegate and Rodina party member Andrei Savelev. In this preface he emphasizes the purity of the Russian race and the inadmissibility of mixing it with others. In connection with this, the St. Petersburg activists declared: It is essential that the Russian citizens get to know how the guarantor of the constitution evaluates racist propaganda which inevitably leads to a kindling of hatred against foreigners and to killings of people with another skin color. We openly ask you to express your opinion about this in public, they demand of the president.

[26.06.2005]

Source: The newspaper "Novye Izvestiya"

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