Russian state TV hosts have consistently repeated the Kremlin line that Kyiv's new government is run by "fascists" and "anti-Semites."
In a strange twist, they have also sometimes questioned why Jewish Ukrainians or Jewish Russians might support the new government.
Evelina Zakamskaya, an anchor on the state-funded Rossia 24 TV channel, accelerated the innuendo still further on March 23 in an interview with Aleksandr Prokhanov, a writer who recently admitted
to hoping for a new Cold War.
Here's the transcript [emphasis mine]:
Prokhanov: "It's strange that these Jewish organizations -- European and our Russian ones -- support the Maidan. What are they doing? Don't they understand that with their own hands they're bringing a second Holocaust?
Zakamskaya: They did it the first time too.
Prokhanov: It's an amazing blindness that is being repeated again. Until 1933 many liberal European organizations fed the Fuhrer.
There is, of course, a documented history of European
appeasement of Hitler. But neither Zakamskaya nor Prokhanov are clear about how they believe Jews caused their own mass murder.
As for the current crisis, a coalition of Ukrainian Jewish leaders did dispute
Russian President Vladimir Putin's claims of rising anti-Semitism in Ukraine and there have been Jewish participants
in the pro-European Maidan movement from the very beginning. But Muslim Crimean Tatars and Russian-speaking Ukrainians have also participated -- the latter group also singled out for "protection" by Moscow.
In Russia itself, there does not appear to be any evidence that the Jewish community has any greater stake in the Maidan movement than the rest of the population.
But the charge has a familiar history in Russia, where Josef Stalin initiated a campaign after World War II to purge "rootless cosmopolitans" -- a euphemism for unpatriotic Jewish intellectuals -- that lasted until the Soviet dictator's death in 1953.
In a segment
produced in late February, Dmitry Kiselyov, the new head of Russia's reorganized state propaganda agency, uses this very trope against the chief editor of "New Times," a liberal Russian magazine.
Kiselyov rails against Albats and other Jews who support protesters in Ukraine for not being more aware of their history. A picture of Albats looms in the background with the Hebrew words -- apparently written backwards by mistake -- "what kind of Jew are you?"
In lecturing Jews on who they should support and why, though, Kiselyov and others may be speaking to a wider Russian audience with a wholly more nefarious message: We can't trust these "rootless cosmopolitans."
-- Glenn Kates