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What’s behind Putin’s recent spate of anti-Semitic statements?
Vladimir Putin has made a slew of anti-Semitic comments in the last few months, from saying Ukraine’s President Zelensky is “not Jewish but a disgrace to the Jewish people” to responding to reports of a former advisor moving to Israel by calling him “some sort of Moisha Israelievich.” In one interview with a Russian propagandist, Putin said that Zelensky’s “Western handlers put an ethnic Jew in charge of Ukraine” to mask the country’s “anti-human nature.”
One of the main narratives Moscow uses to justify its war, the idea that Ukraine is run by a “Nazi regime,” is undermined by the fact that Ukrainians freely elected a Jewish president, so perhaps it should be no surprise that Putin and his team have tried to square the circle by invoking anti-Semitic tropes. Still, while Russia’s history is full of discrimination and violence against Jewish people, this is the first time in his reign that Putin has made so many public anti-Semitic statements in such quick succession.
For insight into anti-Jewish sentiment in today’s Russia, how Soviet state-sponsored anti-Semitism may have influenced Putin’s views of Jewish people, and why Putin is taking this approach at this moment in the war, The Naked Pravda spoke to historian Artem Efimov, the editor-in-chief of Meduza’s Signal newsletter.
Hosted by Sam Breazeale. Production and mixing by Ania Kovalenko.
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