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October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Russian Jewish Congress’

Russian Jewish School Teacher Freed

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Prison authorities in Russia released a Jewish schoolteacher whose controversial bribery conviction triggered protests by leading politicians.

The teacher, Ilya Farber, was released Friday from the Tver correctional prison after serving three years of a 7-year sentence for accepting $13,000 in bribes.

“The campaign to resolve the issue of [political] prisoners just got another devoted activist,” Farber, 40, told RIA Novosti after his release.

Farber, who took money from a contractor in need of Farber’s signature, has denied any wrongdoing and claims he was set up. He was initially convicted in 2011 and sentenced to nine years. He was retried in 2012 amid claims that his prosecutor made anti-Semitic comments in court. The retrial resulted in a seven-year sentence.

Protests did not abate and opposition figures and Russian Jewish leaders said the case was typical of miscarriages of justice under President Vladimir Putin.

The prosecution petitioned the court to reduce Farber’s sentence in September, days after Putin told a television network that the sentence was “egregious.”

Matvey Chlenov, deputy executive director of the Russian Jewish Congress, told JTA that while his organization was pleased to see Farber set free, the trial also showed that “the old prejudices are very much alive.”

He added that Farber’s first trial “demonstrated that idealism by a Jewish person is still perceived with hostility and mistrust by the local population” and that this “created a profound outcry and mobilization among the Jewish community of Russia.”

Witnesses said they heard the prosecutor ask the jury during the first trial: “Is it possible for a person with the last name Farber to help a village for free?” The statement was interpreted as referring to the fact that Farber is Jewish.

Chlenov also said that more than 700 people donated money to the Russian Jewish Congress to help Farber’s family.

Russian Jews Win Rostov Holocaust Commemoration Fight

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The Russian city of Rostov-on-Don has agreed to acknowledge the Jewish identity of Holocaust victims killed there by the Nazis.

The municipality’s Memorial Council last week announced its decision to revise a memorial plaque at the Zmievskaya Balka mass grave to mention the Jewish identity of the majority of the approximately 27,000 bodies buried there in 1942, the Russian Jewish Congress said.

The text will read: “The largest site of mass killings in the Russian Federation of Jews by the Nazi invaders during World War II.”

The revision is the result of a protracted legal fight by local and other Jews for recognition that started two years ago after officials in the southern Russian city replaced a 2004 plaque that mentioned Jews with one that did not.

The new plaque commemorates the “mass killing by the fascists of captured Soviet citizens.”

Russian Jewish Congress President Yuri Kanner told JTA that the second revision was “a wise decision by the city administration and a compromise which cools down the tensions around the largest Holocaust grave in Russia.”

In October, a Russian court rejected a petition by the Russian Jewish Congress seeking a return of the 2004 plaque. The Jewish group sued after city officials refused to revise the plaque they had placed.

Yuri Dombrovsky, chairman of the Russian Jewish Congress’ Holocaust Memorial Board, told JTA that the revision is a sign of progress in Holocaust commemoration efforts in the former Soviet Union.

“For many decades, under the communists’ rule, the state denied the Holocaust,” he said.

Dombrovsky also said that some Jews are not content with the new text since it does not contain the word Holocaust, but added he believed “it’s the only possible solution.”

Russian Priest Suspended over Anti-Semitic Pejorative

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Russian church officials suspended a priest for using an anti-Semitic pejorative while baptizing a girl.

The two-month ban on Andrey Evstigneeva was announced earlier this month on the website of the Diocese of Saratov, a city 450 miles southeast of Moscow.

It followed complaints by the family and the Russian Jewish Congress, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday.

The girls’ parents said Evstigneeva used the Russian pejorative “zhidovskym,” or “kike,” in reference to the girl’s name. The girl’s mother is Jewish.

Church officials said Evstigneeva acknowledged the incident and insisted that “nothing untoward had happened.”

Evstigneeva’s behavior was “incompatible with clerical dignity and disrespectful of parish members,” the diocese’s statement read. “During the ban, you lose the right to wear the symbols of the church and teach believers, administer benedictions or hold services.”

Matvey Chlenov, deputy executive director of the Russian Jewish Congress, said the church’s “swift and public” response was a cause for optimism.

“Notably, Church officials took this case as serious and requiring in-depth investigation,” he said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russian-priest-suspended-over-anti-semitic-pejorative/2013/10/27/

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