12 January 2006

After eight Russian Jews were stabbed during a Wednesday night attack on a Moscow synagogue, and after a year of growing anti-Semitic, racist and xenophobic sentiments among Russian nationalists, and several recent attacks on African immigrants and gypsies, the Federation of Russian Jewish Communities has called for greater government enforcement of anti-extremist laws, warning that if the measures continue to enjoy only “half-hearted” support, the racist/neo-nazi subculture could lead to mass violence. Part of the Federation’s goal is legal action to end the “Letter of 500” campaign: a petition drive among government officials — which has since gained 15,000 citizen signatures — demanding a country-wide ban on all Jewish organizations.