Since the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, Moscow’s propaganda machine has aimed to depict his successors as Nazi sympathizers and the country as rife with anti-Semitism. Sam Sokol explains:
Just more than four years ago, Russia’s popular television news program Vesti ran a segment claiming that Ukrainian Jews were streaming out of the country in a mass exodus brought about by harsh government repression. The report cited a fabricated letter attributed to a senior Jewish figure in Belgium that described “cases of compulsory closures of Jewish organizations and schools” and alleged that Ukraine was experiencing an “outrageous revival of Nazi . . . traditions.”
While many Jews were indeed fleeing Ukraine (more than 32,000 have moved to Israel since 2013), this migration was primarily due to damage caused by the Russian [invasion] of the country and the subsequent economic downturn. . . .
It was a brilliant, if twisted and amoral, move on the part of the Russians. Anti-Semitism certainly isn’t an issue of concern to most Russians, but in a country in which the cult of Soviet victory in the World War II runs deep, [these] reports could be used to bolster the claim that a “fascist junta” had grabbed power in Kiev, increasing domestic support for Russian intervention. Parallel to this effort, the Kremlin also engaged in the promotion of theories about a Jewish conspiracy to control Ukraine, a move likely intended to sow confusion and whip up social unrest. . . .
There is ample reason to believe that, just like in Ukraine, Russia will attempt to raise the specter of anti-Semitism in the United States during the 2020 [elections].