|UCSJ Action Alert!|
TO: Supporters of Human Rights
FROM: Nickolai Butkevich
DATE: July 15, 1999
Leopold Kaimovsky, a prominent Jewish leader in Moscow, is in serious condition at a local hospital today after having been stabbed several times yesterday by a neo-Nazi activist in Moscow's Choral Synagogue. After being detained by a security guard, the attacker, who had a reverse swastika painted on his chest, told Russia's Chief Rabbi Adolf Shaevich, "We will strangle you anyway. We are 50,000 people strong."
Rabbi Shaevich told reporters after the attack, "This attack is the result of the general situation when such people as Makashov [a Communist Party parliamentarian who called for the death of Jews in Russia] and Barkashov [the leader of the neo-Nazi organization Russian National Unity] are not punished. They should sit next to this young man on the bench in court."
When the Russian Duma (lower house of parliament) refused to punish Communist Party legislators General Albert Makashov and Victor Ilyukhin last November for making violently antisemitic statements, UCSJ warned that this was a signal to grassroots antisemites that their hateful actions would go unpunished. Since then, numerous Jewish sites in Russia have been targeted by antisemitic groups, and today's attack in the heart of Moscow is a clear sign that as long General Makashov and other antisemitic leaders on the left and the right are free to spread their hateful propaganda, Jews will not be able to live securely in Russia.
The Russian government is preparing a draft law against political extremism which would help to counteract this dangerous trend. Unfortunately, the draft law has not yet been considered by the Duma, which is dominated by openly antisemitic communist and neo-fascist parties.
Please send emails and faxes to President Boris Yeltsin urging him to press the Duma to return from its recess and pass the bill against political extremism and xenophobia. In the event that the Duma fails to act on this law, please request that he issue a presidential decree mandating strong action against political extremism and xenophobia.
Please CC UCSJ on your emails and faxes (Email: email@example.com; Fax: (202) 775-9776) so the we can publicize your grassroots response.
Fax: 011 7 (095) 206-3961
The Honorable Boris Yeltsin
Dear Mr. President:
I am writing to express my concern about the vicious attack on Leopold Kaimovsky, the director of the Jewish Cultural Center at Moscow's Choral Synagogue, who was severely injured after being stabbed several times by a neo-Nazi activist on July 13th.
This attack is the logical culmination of the rising wave of antisemitic propaganda, fascist activity, and attacks on Jews and Jewish sites that has engulfed the country over the past two years. The threat to Jews in Russia has become especially acute since the Duma refused to punish General Albert Makashov and Viktor Ilyukhin for their outrageous antisemitic statements.
Mr. President, as someone who has long made strong stands against antisemitism and fascism, I hope that you agree that this attack-- in the heart of Moscow-- is a clear sign that as long as General Makashov and other antisemitic leaders on the left and the right are free to spread their hateful propaganda, Jews will not be able to live securely in Russia.
I therefore respectfully urge you to press the Duma to pass the law against political extremism and xenophobia, and if the Duma refuses, to issue a decree that would mandate strong action to stem the rising tide of fascism and antisemitism.
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