Photo Credit: EAJC
Chief Rabbi of Russia Rabbi Beryl Lazar, L. Temur, Ben Yehuda, Aaron Frenkel, Michael and Laura Mirilashvili

The woman considered to be Russia’s “most powerful woman” — Valentina Matviyenko — this week is chairing the “Protecting the Future” conference that opened Monday in Moscow to discuss the fight against anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism.

Matviyenko, who chairs the Council of the Federation of Russia, considered the third most important person in Russia after President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, told those gathered for opening remarks that Russian authorities intend to do what they must to ensure the country would not suffer the same fate as Europe.

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“There will be no anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Russia, and the Russian authorities together with civil society will do everything that is necessary to that end,” she stated.

“The neo-Nazis are raising their heads,” she said. “What is more worrying is that this is happening also in European states and other countries, which present themselves as having the standards of an enlightened society with democracy as well as respect for the rights and freedoms of the individual.”

Adviser to President Putin, Mikhail Fedotov also participated in the conference, as well as special representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Andrew Baker, president of the Jewish Russian Congress, Yuri Kenner, president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC) and vice president of the World Jewish Congress, Michael Mirilashvili, vice president of the World Jewish Congress, Robert Singer, Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, Israeli Ambassador to Russia, Gary Koren, chairman of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress and vice president of the World Jewish Congress, Aaron Frenkel and many other distinguished individuals.

Vice president of the World Jewish Congress, Robert Singer, read out a letter from the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, who is in the U.S. to express the organization’s support for American Jews following the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue last weekend in Pittsburgh. Singer reminded the participants that even today, Jewish children still do not feel safe walking the streets of major European cities.

The launching of a Moscow branch in the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC) took place on the sidelines of the conference. Established in 2002, the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress is a Jewish international organization that currently represents dozens of communities across Eurasian countries. The president of the congress is Michael Mirilashvili.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.