‘J’Accuse…!’: Expert witness who accused Berkovich and Petriychuk of justifying Islamic terrorism is himself accused of antisemitism
The Russian Jewish Congress has asked Alexander Bastrykin, head of the country’s Investigative Committee, to investigate Roman Silantyev, an expert witness whose testimony supplied the basis of terrorist propaganda charges against theater director Zhenya Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk.
Petriychuk wrote and Berkovich produced a play, Finist the Bright Falcon, about Russian women recruited by the Islamic State and lured to Syria. On May 4, both Berkovich and Petriychuk were arrested and charged with “justifying terrorism.”
The Russian Jewish Congress has requested that Silantyev be investigated for inciting ethnic hatred. The congress forwarded Silantyev’s remarks to Mikhail Dymarsky, a philologist and professor at the Russian State Pedagogical University, for expert analysis. Dymarsky, says the congress, came to the unequivocal conclusion that “Silantyev’s remarks show signs of antisemitism.”
Silantyev told RBC that he has “nothing against the Jews,” and that “Berkovich herself is kindling” antisemitism. “If I were in the Russian Jewish Congress’s place, I’d condemn Berkovich’s actions as much as I condemn the activities of the terrorist organization she supports,” he added.