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Russian Jews launch magazine to counter anti-Semitic views

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MOSCOW, May 4 (JTA) — Responding to rising concerns among Jews here over the general public’s indifference toward anti-Semitism, the Russian Jewish Congress has launched a new magazine. Intolerance is becoming a commonplace in the public and political consciousness, said Andrey Kolesnikov, editor of the bi-monthly magazine, Diagnoz, or Diagnosis. The magazine aims to counter fascist and xenophobic tendencies in Russian society. Many Russians are not concerned about fascism because they either do not know what it is or they are longing for strong discipline, he said. “That is why fascism is not seen as something dangerous by policy-makers and officials, by the police,” he said. Diagnoz aims to suggest what should be done to actively counter fascist tendencies, he said. The magazine’s editors say that existing laws that might help to actively counter anti-Semitism and xenophobia are not effective. In Moscow alone, there are some 100 periodicals that regularly publish anti-Semitic articles. Nearly 30 ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi groups are active across Russia. Initially, 3,500 copies of the full-color magazine will be distributed free of charge to government officials, members of the Parliament, police officials and prominent intellectuals. Some members of the Communist-dominated Duma, the Russian Parliament’s lower house, have voiced outrage over the publication. “They are diagnosing us,” one parliamentarian reportedly said after reading the magazine. Nikolay Propirniy, the magazine’s deputy editor, said that he had expected stronger negative reaction on the part of some Duma members. The magazine sets the defense of ethnic minorities’ rights as one of its major goals. In its premier issue, Diagnoz explains the dangers of the widespread negative attitudes toward the peoples of the Caucasus, currently the most common object of intolerance in Russia. Popular negative attitudes toward “the southerners” were reenforced by official propaganda during the war against the breakaway southern Russian republic of Chechnya.

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