Ukraine protesters call on Jewish oligarchs to give president ‘a gun’

By Daniel Easterman, February 21, 2014
Ukrainian protestors clash with riot police in Ukraine (Photo: Mstyslav Chernov)

Ukrainian protestors clash with riot police in Ukraine (Photo: Mstyslav Chernov)

A member of Ukraine’s opposition movement has called on Jewish and Muslim billionaire businessmen to force the president, Victor Yanukovich, to step down.

In a speech in Kiev’s Independence Square, the unnamed protester, who said he was Muslim, urged Ihor Kolomoyskyi, Victor Pinchuk and David Zhvania - oligarchs with links to the protest movement - to talk to the president.

He said: “You practice Judaism. In the holy synagogue, you have seats with placards. And you, today, are the only people who have access to Yanukovich.

“In another week, your businesses, which you have earned in this land through the work of this people, will fall. And if he [the president] doesn’t listen to you, present him, as the chief commander of the armed forces, with a gun.”

Commentators in Ukraine say the man was suggesting that the oligarchs should persuade president Yanukovich to commit suicide.

There have been fears that the instability in Ukraine has caused fresh outbreaks of antisemitism in the country with a number of attacks against synagogues and yeshivas reported.

The far-right Svoboda party, which has links to other fascist parties in Europe such as the BNP, has also enjoyed an upswing of support as a result of the turmoil.

According to the latest information provided by news agencies, the death toll in Ukraine has now reached 75.

Last updated: 11:04am, February 21 2014