Staunton, July 22 – The Russian justice ministry’s call for close the Moscow office of the Jewish repatriation agency, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s suggestion that Hitler was a Jew, and the flight from the Russian capital of Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt have led many Jews in Russia and elsewhere to draw some bleak conclusions.
Commentator Dmitry Kolesev says that many of his Jewish friends say they can see where all this is heading. If the war in Ukraine reaches a dead end or the economy collapses, they say that Russians will once again blame the Jews, thereby ushering in a new era of anti-Semitism (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=62DAE03277302§ion_id=50A6C962A3D7C).
Andrey Melnikov, editor of NG-Religii, reports that the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FEOR) believes that “if there will be a new iron curtain, Russia’s Jewish community will cease to exist.” Its committed numbers are already down to a few tens of thousands, the group says (ng.ru/faith/2022-07-25/100_faith_25072022.html).
And many liberal Russian bloggers are pointedly saying that Putin’s turn from authoritarianism toward totalitarianism by itself makes a new surge of anti-Semitism in Russia likely because “totalitarianism can’t exist without anti-Semitism” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=62DA369D6BE34§ion_id=50A6C962A3D7C).
What makes all this worrisome is that even if one of the actions the Jews of Russians are worried about such as the ultimate decision by Putin not to close the repatriation office in Moscow occurs, there are so many other developments that point to a deterioration in Russian attitudes toward Jews that this must become a focus of international concern.