Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Silski Visti

An anti-Semitic rant published in the Ukrainian newspaper Silski Visti has led to an order demanding that the paper be shut down. The order was issued by a Kiev court.

Ukraine's liberal and socialist opposition is in the center of a political storm after leaping to the defense of a newspaper ordered to shut down by a Kiev court for publishing anti-Semitic articles.

The incident highlights the tenuous position of the Jews in Eastern Europe after decades of repression, with undercurrents of anti-Semitism still running strong.

The Silski Visti newspaper, which has a circulation of more than 500,000 and is affiliated with the opposition Socialist Party, is being sued by the International Antifascist Committee for "encouraging racial hatred," because it published two articles by professor Vasil Yaramenko.

The author accused Jews of having organized the great Ukraine famine of 1933 that killed millions of people, and which historians blame on Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

He also claimed that Jewish agents made up 99 percent of the NKVD political police (later known as the KGB), which he said killed millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s and was run by a Stalin crony.

Mr. Yaramenko went even further, claiming that "400,000 Jewish SS" invaded Ukraine along with German troops during World War II.

For good measure, he attacked "Zionist oligarchs" (tycoons), including Viktor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.


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