4 Mar 2022 20:42

FJCR president surprised by rise of neo-Nazism in Ukraine

MOSCOW. March 4 (Interfax) - The president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR), Alexander Boroda, has expressed bewilderment at the fact that neo-Nazism was being actively asserted in a country such as Ukraine.

"It is hardly comprehensible that in Ukraine, with its fairly large and mostly thriving Jewish community, there are parallel efforts at glorifying criminals responsible for the deaths of ancestors of those same Jews," Boroda said in an interview with Interfax.

Many activists in Ukraine published a free "chronicle" of the names of Nazi abettors and collaborators, their monuments, requests to religious organizations to pray for them on the Day of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA, an extremist organization proscribed in Russia), he said. "So all this was noticed, published, condemned by the Ukrainians themselves both domestically and internationally," the rabbi said.

Nevertheless, in November 2019, Ukraine opposed a draft UN General Assembly resolution proposed by Russia to counter the glorification of Nazism and neo-Nazism, Boroda said. Though opinions on history vary, "one way or another there are facts not to be ignored: the UIA was involved in executions of not only Jews but also other ethnic minorities," he said.

In his view, most people in Ukraine do not support the ideology grown out of criminal pages of the history.

Concurrently, he noted that Ukraine had many times reviewed the complicated history of the 20th century, which is not without painful episodes for the national psyche: war crimes were erased and forgotten, with the only mention being that of the creative work of certain leaders who called for nationalization of the state, Boroda said.

"If they were called heroes, it would be logical to assume that the nationalization ideology also served as a kind of example," he said, suggesting that this approach ran counter to the modern day world where monoethnic states are practically non-existent, yet each country has its own system of values bridging ethnic and religious affiliations.