MINELRES: MBHR Briefing in Knesset: Xenophobia and anti-Semitism in present-day Russia

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Apr 11 08:28:22 2005

Original sender: Moscow bureau for human rights <humanrights@list.ru>

Moscow Bureau for Human Rights
115455 Moscow, Russia, p/o box 6
tel\fax 7 (095)959-27-45, (095)506-02-24
E-mail: mucsj@rambler.ru

Director of Moscow Bureau for Human Rights 
Alexander Brod

In case of reprinting reference to Moscow Bureau for Human Rights is

Briefing in Knesset

Director of the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights (MBHR) Alexander Brod
appeared in the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) with the speech "Xenophobia
and anti-Semitism in present-day Russia". The briefing was opened by
Natan Scharanskiy, Minister of Jerusalem and diaspora affairs, Alex
Hartman, president of the International Jewish Association of lawyers
and jurists, Hadassa Ben-Itto, honorary president of the Association,
well-known in Russia as the author of the book about the Protocols of
the Elders of Zion "The lie that wouldn't die".

Mr. Brod presented the video material prepared by the MBHR showing
meetings of the Russian neo-Nazis, sale of radical literature,
anti-Israeli and anti-Semitist meetings of the National-Sovereign party
and the burning of the Israeli flag near the Embassy of Israel in
Moscow, statements denying Holocaust, demands of violent acts towards
the Jews in Russia. Then the MBHR director updated the audience with the
data of monitoring on demonstration of xenophobia and anti-Semitism in
all regions of Russia, made a review of radical literature, gave data of
legal punishment practice towards chauvinists, told about educational
and publishing programs, conducting by the MBHR and the organizations 
partners. It was made a conclusion about exploitation of chauvinism
ideas by political and social forces of the RF. 

Then the speaker answered a numerous questions. Alexander Brod attracted
the participants` attention to the fact that the MBHR together with the
International Association of the lawyers and jurists and other
international organizations is preparing now a big project on perfection
of legal assistance against ethnic discrimination to national groups of
Russia. The program includes development of system of legal consultation
offices, edition of educational literature, seminars for the
representatives of law-enforcement institutions. 

Representatives of Scharanskiy office, representatives of different
ministries and departments of Israel, well-known Israeli lawyers and
judges, scientists and journalists took part in the briefing.  

New action of chauvinists

In January so called "letter of 500", also called as "letter of 19
deputies", - an appeal of a group of persons to the General Prosecutor
office of the RF with demand to ban all Jewish organizations in Russia
for the reason that they allegedly follow man-hating ideology got a wide
spread. Social scandal broke out after the promulgation of this
"document" led to the situation when the most number of deputies refused
of their signatures on this statement and the statement itself has been

It seemed that this notorious "letter" became a thing of the past. But
it has not happened this way. On the 21st of March representatives of a
number of nationalistic organizations declared that this document 
revised and completed  was passed to the General Prosecutor office once
again. Besides, they informed that the "letter" would be used by
"Russian patriots" for "self-defense" in those cities where some legal
proceedings under the Article 282 had been commenced. Now there are no
deputies' surnames in it, and the most of those persons whose signatures
were promulgated  are "well-known in narrow circles" literary men 
nationalists or leaders of "patriotic" organizations. We shall note that
the most of them has got an experience of communication with the
Prosecutor office, legal proceedings against them were commenced for
sowing of national discord. In most cases chauvinists evaded penalty.

The organizers of this action called it "remedial action" though it was
not of course related to human rights protection. The idea of the action
is clear  so called "patriots" are afraid of the situation when a lot
of legal cases under the Article 282 are brought against nationalistic
and racist organizations and they try to stop the law-enforcement
structures' activity with help of so called "remedial" rhetoric and
aggressive actions. They hope to get investigators, judges and
prosecutors to take part in long-standing demagogic discussions where
they present false arguments about supposedly man-hating character of
Judaism and desire of the Jews to get the world supremacy. In the letter
the "patriots" ask V. Ustinov to stop investigations and trials under
the Article 282 and to cancel the already pronounced sentences. 

The Moscow Bureau for Human Rights (MBHR) considers that the repetition
of the Russian radical nationalists` demarche took place because of the
fact that the previous letter was not condemned in a proper way neither
by the society, nor by governmental and law-enforcement structures.
According the opinion of the MBHR, there is an obvious sowing of
international and inter-religious discord. "Russia shut her eyes to this
crime, this letter could not be called another way,  director of the
MBHR Alexander Brod stated.  That is why there is again the
black-hundred Sabbath day in Russia. The whole world is shocked with the
action of primitive chauvinists, but our General Prosecutor did not
institute a legal proceeding against the authors of the first letter.
More and more politicians follow xenophobia and anti-Semitism". 

The MBHR confirms that recently the number of legal proceedings against
sowing of national discord has been increased and it is a great progress
as the Russian neo-Nazis has been developing without difficulties for
the whole ten years. But we are still very far from the adequate
reaction of the law to such crimes. Beside the punishment practice it is
necessary to develop programs on education of people. "The Russian
system of education, culture and enlightenment works very bad concerning
the problem of overcoming of xenophobia in the society, - A. Brod
stated.  Our partners and our organization itself have applied to
different ministries and departments for many times suggesting that we
should use the educational programs successfully used in Europe. But the
officials do not want to lift a finger. It seems that the danger of
neo-Nazism in the country conquered fascism does not scare them. That is
why we ourselves have begun to educate teachers, journalists and militia