How Russia Has Used Anti-Semitism, and Fears of Anti-Semitism, in Its War on Ukraine

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].

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Ukraine, Ukrainian Jews, War in Ukraine

Don’t Expect the Jerusalem Summit to Drive a Wedge between Russia and Iran

June 14 2019

Later this month, an unprecedented meeting will take place in Jerusalem among the top national-security officials of the U.S., Israel, and Russia to discuss the situation in Syria. Moscow is likely to seek financial aid for the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country, or at the very least an easing of sanctions on Bashar al-Assad. Washington and Jerusalem are likely to pressure the Russian government to reduce the presence of Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias in Syria, or at the very least to keep them away from the Israeli border. But to Anna Borshchevskaya, any promises made by Vladimir Putin’s representatives are not to be trusted:

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war