Russian row over nature of hate text

By Nissan Tzur, May 26, 2011

An angry debate has erupted in Russia over the antisemitic text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The Public Chamber of Russia, which oversees the activities of parliament, is pushing to have the 19th century forgery banned, while another state body, the Prosecutor General, recently argued that it is "politically and historically educational".

In March, a lower chamber of the Prosecutor General's Office ruled that the Protocols did not fan ethnic hatred.

Now, Evgeny Velikhov, Secretary of the Russian Public Chamber, has sent a formal request to the Prosecutor General Yury Chaika asking that he acknowledge the book as extremist literature.

The row broke out after a north Moscow branch of the Prosecutor's Office refused to place the Protocols on a federal list of extremist materials, citing an unspecified "psychological examination" of the book.

Mr Velikhov said in his letter: "It is outrageous that such an unlawful and anti-scientific position found support among Moscow prosecutors.

"The distribution of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Russia represents a serious threat to inter-ethnic accord and the integrity of our country."

Mr Chaika's office has yet to respond.

Last updated: 2:09pm, May 26 2011