Congressional Record Statements
|PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 106th CONGRESS, 1st SESSION
||Washington, Wednesday, March 17, 1999
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 19--CONCERNING ANTI-SEMITIC STATEMENTS MADE BY MEMBERS OF THE DUMA OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Wednesday, March 17, 1999
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 19--CONCERNING ANTI-SEMITIC STATEMENTS MADE BY
MEMBERS OF THE DUMA OF THE RUSSIA FEDERATION
Mr. CAMPBELL (for himself, Mr. LAUTENBERG, Mr. SMITH of Oregon, Mr. ABRAHAM, Mr. BROWNBACK,
Mr. REID, Mr. BURNS, Mr. TORRICELLI, Mr. CLELAND, and Mr. FEINGOLD) submitted the following concurrent
resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:
S. Con. Res. 19
Whereas the world has seen in the 20th century the disastrous results of ethnic, religious, and racial intolerance;
Whereas the Government of the Russian Federation is on record, through obligations freely accepted as a participating state
of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as pledging to ``clearly and equivocally condemn
totalitarianism, racial and ethnic hatred, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and discrimination against anyone......'';
Whereas at two public rallies in October 1998, Communist Party member of the Duma, Albert Makashov, blamed ``the
Yids'' for Russia's current problems;
Whereas in November 1998, attempts by members of the Russian Duma to formally censure Albert Makashov were
blocked by members of the Communist Party;
Whereas in December 1998, the chairman of the Duma Security Committee and Communist Party member, Viktor Ilyukhin,
blamed President Yeltsin's ``Jewish entourage'' for alleged ``genocide against the Russian people'';
Whereas in response to the public outcry over the above-noted anti-Semitic statements, Communist Party chairman Gennadi
Zyuganov claimed in December 1998 that such statements were a result of ``confusion'' between Zionism and ``the Jewish
Whereas during the Soviet era, the Communist Party leadership regularly used ``anti-Zionist campaigns'' as an excuse to
persecute and discriminate against Jews in the Soviet Union: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That Congress--
(1) condemns anti-Semitic statements made by members of the Russian Duma;
(2) commends actions taken by members of the Russian Duma to condemn anti-Semitic statements made by Duma
(3) commends President Yeltsin and other members of the Russian Government for condemning anti-Semitic statements
made by Duma members; and
(4) reiterates its firm belief that peace and justice cannot be achieved as long as governments and legislatures promote
policies based upon anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. President, although Communism released its oppressive grip on the people of Russia nearly ten years
ago, its fingerprints of racism and ethnic intolerance persist. Today, I call the attention of my colleagues to the troubling surge of
anti-Semitic rhetoric by the Russian Duma's Communist Party leaders who have sought to place the blame of Russia's social
and economic ills on its Jewish community. As the new co-chairman of the Helsinki Commission, I am submitting a resolution to
help address this disturbing situation. This
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resolution is a companion to H.Con.Res. 37 which was introduced by Congressman CHRIS SMITH, Chairman of the
In October of last year, General Albert Makashov, Communist Party member of the Duma, insulted and threatened the
Jewish community with physical retribution for what he asserted as being a cause of Russia's current instabilities. When other
members of the Duma sought to censure General Makashov for his comments, Communist party members blocked the
measure on two different occasions and the Duma failed to condemn his statements. Then in December, Viktor Ilyukhin,
Communist Party member and Chairman of the Security Committee, asserted that the Jews were committing `genocide against
the Russian people'. He further referenced the influence of President Yeltsin's `Jewish entourage' and called for ethnic quotas in
these posts to counter Jewish influence.
It is imperative that the Russian Duma be sent a clear message that these expressions of racism and ethnic hatred will not go
unnoticed by the U.S.
Today, I am joined by Senators LAUTENBERG, ABRAHAM, SMITH of Oregon, BROWNBACK, TORRICELLI,
REID, CLELAND, BURNS, and FEINGOLD in submitting a resolution which condemns these anti-Semitic statements
made by the Russian Duma. It likewise commends the actions taken by those in the Duma who sought to censure the
Communist Party leaders and commends President Yeltsin for his forceful rejection of the statements. This resolution also
reiterates the firm belief of the Congress that peace and justice cannot be achieved as long as governments and legislatures
promote policies based upon anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia.
In light of Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov's upcoming visit to the U.S., this resolution is especially timely. I urge my
colleagues to support this important resolution which underscores the U.S. commitment to religious freedom and human rights .
Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I rise today in support of the resolution condemning anti-Semitic statements by Russian
political leaders and commending President Yeltsin and others for raising their voices against such hateful speech.
Anti-Semitism in Russia is not a new phenomenon. Throughout Russia's history, Jews have often been singled out for
persecution during times of crisis. It happened in the seventeenth century, when a reign of terror was unleashed against Jews in
Eastern and Central Europe, and it happened in the pogroms of World War I, when entire Jewish communities were
annihilated. In short, when there's trouble in Russia, Jews are usually the first to be blamed. Anti-Semitic comments coming
from high-ranking officials in Russia in recent months are particularly worrisome. They come at a time when Russia should be
overcoming its troubled past and rejoining the world community by honoring freedom of religion, free speech and other human
The anti-Semitic statements made by prominent Russian officials are well known by now: Last November, retired General
Albert Makashov blamed the country's economic crisis on ``yids.'' In an open letter, Gennady Zyuganov, the Communist Party
chief, voiced his belief of a Zionist conspiracy to seize power in Russia. Another top Communist lawmaker, Viktor Ilyukhin,
accused Jews of waging ``genocide'' in the country.
Officials in the Russian government have criticized these statements. Yet not so long ago, Russian President Yeltsin went
ahead with a summit with his counterpart, Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko, who himself blamed Jewish financiers and
political reformers ``for the creation of the criminal economy.'' Alexander Lebed, a top contender for the presidential post in the
2000 elections, has also made negative remarks about several religious groups.
We in Congress have asked senior Administration officials to lodge our protests against the anti-Semitic comments made by
Russian leaders. During her recent trip to Moscow, Secretary Albright did exactly that and received assurances that
anti-Semitism has no place in Russia. The Administration will have another opportunity to voice our concern when Vice
President GORE receives Russia's Prime Minister Primakov next week.
I will closely be watching events in Russia to ensure the government is in compliance with its international human rights
commitments. There has been concern that the country's religion law, passed in 1997, cedes too much authority to local
officials. The omnibus appropriations bill for 1999 directs a cutoff of Freedom Support Act aid to Russia unless the President
determines and certifies that Moscow hasn't implemented statutes, regulations or executive orders that would discriminate
against religious groups. That certification must be made by late April. I hope certification, as well as the International Religious
Freedom Act, passed last year, will be strong incentives for Russian leaders to reverse a troubling anti-democratic trend.
As you know, in 1989 I authored legislation making it easier for Jews and members of other persecuted religious groups in
the former Soviet Union to obtain refugee status in the United States. I introduced this law because I felt deeply that religious
freedom was a basic human right, which was anathema under the Soviet system of government. Recent events in Russia
convince me my legislation remains very necessary and I will be asking my colleagues to support an extension again this year.
During a trip to Poland last year, President Kwasniewski and Prime Minister Buzek reached out to the Jewish community to
help bridge the gap between Poles and Jews. This is a difficult and long-term process, but at least leaders across the political
spectrum are making a real effort to heal wounds and create a more welcome climate for Jews in Poland. I welcome President
Yeltsin's rejections of anti-Semitism and I hope more members of the Duma will speak out in this manner.
I want also to pay tribute to Parliamentarian Galina Starovoitova, a steadfast supporter of human rights and democracy, who
was shot dead last November in the entry way of her St. Petersburg apartment building. Ms. Starovoitova, a non-Jew, was a
leading voice in condemning anti-Semitism in Russian society. Her courage will be sorely missed.
Congress understands Russia cannot be a great democracy until it makes progress in human rights , and doesn't revert to past
practices. Russia's leaders must come to the same conclusion. We must all work together to reach a common goal--helping
Russia integrate into the international community.
Mr. President, I urge all my colleagues to support this timely resolution.
Hon. Ben Nighthorse Campbell