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Russian Opposition Leader Helps Anti-semitic Paper Fete Anniversary

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A newspaper known for its anti-Semitic content recently celebrated its second anniversary with an appearance by one of the leaders of last year’s violent power struggle against President Boris Yeltsin.

Ruslan Khasbulatov, the former speaker of the Russian Parliament, offered his congratulations to the Al-Kods newspaper at a Moscow event attended by about 1,000 people.

It was Khasbulatov’s first public appearance since he was released from jail in February as the result of an amnesty granted by Parliament.

Al-Kods, which is Arabic for Jerusalem, is published by Shaaban Khafez Shaaban, a Palestinian, and is renowned as one of the most anti-Semitic publications in Russia.

It has aligned itself with Russia’s opposition movement, an eclectic assortment of extreme nationalist, Communist and anti-Semitic groups that aim to bring down the Yeltsin government.

In a recent interview with a local newspaper, Shaaban accused “Zionists” of convincing then-U.S. President Harry Truman to order the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan in World War II, and of helping Adolf Hitler attack Jews in order to spur them to immigrate to Israel.

Jewish organizations here have appealed to the Russian Public Prosecutor’s Office to have the newspaper prosecuted for inciting ethnic hatred, which is banned under Russia’s press laws.

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