Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Russian Jews Push Back at Campaign Against Ukraine Oligarch

A senior Russian rabbi accused the country’s communist party of “vulgar and primitive anti-Semitism” after it demanded Russian Jews condemn a Ukrainian Jewish oligarch.

The condemnation Wednesday by Rabbi Boruch Gorin, an advisor to Chief Russian Rabbi Berel Lazar and Lazar’s spokesperson, followed a letter that two communist lawmakers sent last week to Lazar and to Adolf Shayevich, another chief rabbi of Russia, in which the lawmakers urged the rabbis to speak out against Igor Kolomoisky, a Ukrainian Jewish banker and regional governor who has poured millions of dollars into rearming the Ukrainian army against Russia.

Igor Kolomoisky

“Russian Jews must distance themselves from Kolomoisky and make him understand that his crimes are denounced by his own people,” one of the lawmakers, Valery Rashkin, told the Izvestia newspaper after he fellow communist lawmaker Sergey Obukhov published an open letter in the same paper to Lazar and Shayevich. In the letter, the lawmakers wrote that Kolomisky’s actions “contribute to ethnic and race hate and cause people to commit hate crimes not only in Ukraine, but also in Russia.”

But Gorin said the request “reflected a primitive form of anti-Semitism which presumes all Jews belong to some sinister superstructure simply because they are Jewish.”

While the rabbis “have nothing to say to the communist lawmakers, we do expect other members of the Duma to speak out against this provocation,” Gorin said.

The border between Russia and Ukraine has been a tense one since the overthrow in February of former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych, who is accused of corruption and was perceived by many Ukrainians to be a Kremlin puppet. Citing concerns to ethnic Russians and other minorities, Russia annexed the Crimea from Ukraine in March — an action that triggered an ongoing armed conflict between pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s east and government troops.

Throughout the conflict, pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian propagandists have accused one another of espousing anti-Semitism.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.