Warning over post-Putin Russia

By Eti Shechtman, December 15, 2011

In the light of growing anti-Putin sentiment in Russia, prominent Jews in the country have warned of what might happen if the former president does not return to head the government.

"There will be again anarchy and chaos, and then antisemitism will definitely grow," said Mikhail Chlenov, general secretary of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.

Oleg Budinsky, Professor of Jewish history at the National Research University, concurred to the extent that "Russia became more civilised under Putin…the debate over the 'Jewish problem' is no longer to be found."

However, Mr Budinsky believes it is not the Jewish community that is at risk. He argues that other minorities are more vulnerable to Russian nationalism. "The attitude towards Jews is very less worrying… there are a lot of phobias in this society directed at migrants."

Natasha Zubkova, a Russian-Jewish journalist who recently relocated to the US, agreed. "Jews are not in the public spotlight. It is the newcomers that the locals do not like," she said.

On some counts, Jews appear to be better off in Russia than in Western Europe. Mr Chlenov points out that "there were eight antisemitic attacks last year compared to 650 in the UK".

Last updated: 2:09pm, December 15 2011