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Hasidic Jews celebrate the traditional Jewish New Year in Uman, Ukraine.
Ever since the Maidan demonstrations began in Ukraine late last year, Russia has accused the protesters -- and then the new Kyiv authorities -- of anti-Semitism.

The issue of anti-Semitism became a political football, with accusations and counter-accusations, including denunciations from Ukrainian Jewish leaders who were keen to play down the alleged threat. Ukraine's chief rabbi, Yaakov Dov Bleich, accused Russia of anti-Semitic provocations and a leaflet that surfaced in Donetsk a few weeks later summoning Jews to register certainly had the hallmarks of one.

With its accusations, Russia also turned back attention on itself, with an anchor on a state-funded TV channel implying that Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves.

A new global poll by the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League has shed a little more light on attitudes to Jews in both countries. And, according to the survey, Ukraine is a more anti-Semitic place than Russia.

The poll surveyed 53,100 adults in 102 countries and territories worldwide, with a higher score indicating higher levels of anti-Semitism.
The overall ADL Global 100 Index score represents the percentage of respondents who answered “probably true" to six or more of 11 negative stereotypes about Jews. An 11-question index has been used by ADL as a key metric in measuring anti-Semitic attitudes in the United States for the last 50 years.

The questions are "based on age-old stereotypes about Jews, including classical stereotypes about Jewish power, loyalty, money, and behavior."

Overall, in Ukraine, 38 percent of those polled could be considered anti-Semitic and in Russia 30 percent.

In Eastern Europe, the survey notes that the most widely held anti-Semitic stereotype is that "Jews have too much power in the business world." In Ukraine, 56 percent agreed with that statement and 49 percent of Russians.

At 38 percent, Ukraine was more anti-Semitic than the regional average of 34 percent for Eastern Europe. Poland was the most anti-Semitic country in Eastern Europe with an index score of 45 percent.

By comparison, Greece is the most anti-Semitic country in Western Europe with 69 percent. Sweden is the most tolerant with 4 percent.

The worst performing region in the world is the Middle East and North Africa where 74 percent of people held anti-Semitic views.

Interestingly, Iran emerged as the region's least anti-Semitic country, with 56 percent of those surveyed expressing such views.

The full survey and interactive map are available here.

-- Luke Allnutt
A screen shot of Ukrainian peasants from "The Harvesters' Song," a British Pathé news clip that was made in 1935
The recent announcement by the 20th-century newsreel maker British Pathé that it was uploading thousands of hours of its digitized footage to YouTube sparked a flurry of excitement among history buffs who were eager to delve into its unique collection of films covering major events of the past.

History, as they say, begets the present. Given Ukraine's place at the forefront of current world affairs, we decided to troll through British Pathé's vast film archive to see what clips there are from the East European country's past, which might shed some light on the situation that it finds itself in today:

1) The Harvesters' Song (1935)

There doesn't yet seem to be any Pathé footage available of Ukraine's Holodomor, the man-made famine orchestrated by the Soviet government, which killed millions of people in 1932-33.

This clip from a couple of years later paints a more idealized portrait of conditions in the "granary of Europe." It also mentions in passing the importance of "the Ukraine" to Moscow as well as its separatist leanings, both of which still seem eerily relevant today.


2) A Crimean Collective Farm (1939)

Here's another rose-tinted portrait of Soviet life from Crimea in 1939, portraying the modern methods and rewarding labor of collective farming.

It's interesting to note that the narrator refers to the region as "Tatar country." Although Moscow used the ethnic Russian inhabitants of Crimea as grounds for its annexation in March, no mention was made of the fact that the peninsula's indigenous Tatar population was deported en masse to Central Asia in 1944.


3) The Liberation Of Kyiv (1944)

As one of the epicenters of World War II, Ukraine arguably suffered more than most other countries during the conflict.

It's not surprising therefore that much of the rhetoric emanating from both the pro-Russian and Ukraine-unity sides in the current crisis often uses WWII as a frame of reference.

This compelling clip of the liberation of Kyiv from fascist Germany in 1944 helps illustrate why the harrowing events of that era still rouse such strong emotions more than seven decades later.


4) The Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster (1986)

One of the most traumatic events of Ukraine's postwar history is the Chornobyl nuclear meltdown.

This Pathé roundup of the devastating atomic accident in 1986 provides a decent precis of the disaster and the equally catastrophic response of the Soviet authorities.


5) The Orange Revolution (2004)

The roots of the Euromaidan can be traced back to the Orange Revolution nearly a decade earlier.

This clip shows Pathé covering all the bases in its report on the mass protests following a hotly disputed presidential election in 2004, which eventually swept reformist candidate Viktor Yushchenko to power ahead of pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych in a repeat election.

The video's narrator rather optimistically describes these events as the birth of "another movement for democracy in Eastern Europe."

Political infighting, however, helped ensure that the Orange Revolution quickly ran out of steam, and Viktor Yanukovych eventually became president anyway when he succeeded Yushchenko in 2010.

His ouster following widespread protests over perceived corruption and abuse of power earlier this year is what precipitated the current crisis and brought us to the present impasse between east and west Ukraine.
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-- Coilin O'Connor

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About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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