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Helsinki Commission Briefing to Preview Reports on Anti-Semitism, Nationalism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Today’s Russia

Washington – The United States Helsinki Commission will hold a briefing to hear two reports on ethnic and religious intolerance in today’s Russia.

Intolerance in Contemporary Russia

10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Experts will discuss current trends as well as prospects for fostering a climate of tolerance toward ethnic and religious minorities in the Russian Federation. Ludmilla Alexeyeva, Chairperson of the Moscow Helsinki Group, will present the group’s recent report entitled “Nationalism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Contemporary Russia.” Micah Naftalin, Executive Director of the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union will present its compilation on “Anti-Semitism, Xenophobia, and Religious Persecution in Russia’s Regions.”

As a participating State in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Russian Federation has pledged to promote tolerance and non-discrimination and counter threats to security such as intolerance, aggressive nationalism, racist chauvinism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. Nevertheless, numerous manifestations of bigotry and anti-Semitism have emerged. Indeed, in the open environment that now prevails in Russia, proponents of bigotry are more at ease to propagate their unwelcome messages.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently hailed the courage of Tatiana Sapunova, who was seriously injured earlier this year when tearing down anti-Semitic posters that had been booby-trapped with an explosive device.

An un-official transcript will be available on the Helsinki Commission’s Internet Web site within 24 hours of the briefing.

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