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Russia Lifts Tax on Holocaust Funds

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Payments from a Swiss fund for needy Holocaust victims to survivors in Russia will be exempted from Russian income tax, according to a decision made by the outgoing Russian Cabinet.

The decision — one of the last decrees passed by Yevgeny Primakov’s government before President Yeltsin fired Primakov — lifts the major hurdle that had prevented Russian survivors from receiving the one-time $400 payments from the Holocaust Memorial Fund.

The Swiss fund and leaders of the Russian Jewish community demanded last year that the compensatory payments be exempted from all taxes as being a form of direct material aid that is not taxed according to Russia laws.

More than 2,000 Jewish survivors of Nazi ghettos and concentration camps currently living in Russia are expected to receive the payments.

Survivors in several other former Soviet states –such as Ukraine, Belarus and Latvia– have already received the payments from the fund, which was established in 1997 by several leading Swiss banks. Money has yet to be distributed to survivors in Israel, where some have charged that bureaucracy is the cause of the delay.

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