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Russian Communist Leader Denounces “Zionist Capital” Agence France Presse,
December 23, 1998 Russian Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov lashed out Wednesday at Russian Jews, accusing them of benefiting from privatisation and controlling the audiovisual media, the Interfax agency said. In an open letter to the head of the presidential staff, Zyuganov attacked the “aggressive and destructive role of Zionist capital in the collapse of the Russian economy and the looting of the people’s goods.” He said the Russian people were asking “a legitimate question: how the key positions in certain economic areas were essentially given to the people of a single nationality.” In Russia, Jews are considered a nationality rather than an ethnic group. Zyuganov, whose party has been dogged by anti-Semitic outbursts in recent weeks, also accused Russia’s Jews of controlling the country’s audiovisual media. The letter was also addressed to the justice ministry, which has called upon Zyuganov to qualify whether the recent anti-Semitic outbursts by Communist Party members reflected the attitude of the party. Zyuganov said: “Nobody has the right, while remaining a citizen of Russia, to consider it a foreign country of residence and live as an internal emigre, to the detriment of the state and for the profit of another state or international corporation.” He added: “Our people are not blind, they cannot but notice that the Zionisation of power in Russia has been one of the causes of its current catastrophic condition, its massive impoverishment and the extinction of its people.” Zyuganov’s Communists are the main party in the lower house of parliament, the Duma. His comments follow earlier virulently anti-Semitic remarks by party deputies Viktor Ilyukhin and General Albert Makashov. Ilyukhin drew fire last week when he said: “There are too many Jews in President Boris Yeltsin’s entourage,” calling for quotas of national groups – including Jews – in government offices. In October, Makashov had issued a similar call for such quotas, saying there were “at least a dozen kikes, shylocks and bloodsuckers” he would like to “ship off to another world.” The Communist Party had refused to condemn Makashov’s remarks although Zyuganov issued a formal denial of any anti-Semitic current in the party in November. He said: “We are fighting against Russophobia and anti-Semitism, two totally unacceptable phenomena.” The recent resurgence of anti-Semitism in Russia, a year before general elections, has drawn sharp rebukes from political and religious leaders. President Yeltsin, Orthodox Patriarch Alexis II and likely future presidential candidates General Alexander Lebed and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov have spoken out against the trend. A host of liberal politicians have also called for the Communist Party to be banned, prompting Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov to ask: “How do we ban a party that holds a majority in the Duma?” It is estimated there are today about 500,000 Jews in Russia.