20 July 2015

Not a Surprise, Given the History

Given the history of the Ukrainian antisemitism, and even by the standards of the worst times of the Czarist regime it was extreme, this should come as no surprise:

There were times when the Jewish population of the Crimean peninsula exceeded 65,000. Now it”s around 10,000 out of 2 million, but it suddenly looks like this number has a chance to increase dramatically.

The tumultuous events around Crimea slipping out of Ukraine’s control divided the Ukrainian Jewish community. From the very first days, Crimean Jews threw their lot with Russia. “In Crimea, some Jews feel safer after Russian intervention,” reported Jewish Telegraphic Agency on March 4, 2014, less then a week after Russian ‘little green men’ put Russian flag in Sevastopol. “While many Ukrainian Jews have strongly condemned the Russian military incursion into Crimea,” JTA continued, “others see the intervention as restoring order in the wake of violent revolution that overthrew the pro-Russian government of President Viktor Yanukovych.”

Since then, Crimean Jews en masse exchanged their Ukrainian passports for Russian ones, and to the chagrin of their co-religionists elsewhere in Ukraine, asked the West and to put an end to the ‘unjust’ sanctions imposed on Russia over Crimea.

International Business Times reported in the beginning of July that Russian president Vladimir Putin was urged to allow as many as 40,000 Jewish people who left Crimea during the reign of the Soviet Union to return to the now Russian-held peninsula and to ease the complex procedures that come with being repatriated to Russia in hopes of revitalizing Crimea. This initiative was led by Leonid Grach, the chairman of the regional public organization “Crimean Forum For the Defense of the Constitutional Rights of the Citizens.”
While there is clearly a propaganda aspect to all of this, it appears that Moscow is doing its best to shout this from the heavens, but the feelings here amongst the Crimean Jewish community are almost certainly genuine.

The history in the Ukraine is really that bad.


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