Stalin’s grandson blames Jews for Russia’s economic problems

MOSCOW, July 19 (JTA) — A grandson of Stalin has found a familiar target for Russia’s current woes — the Jews. Yevgeny Dzhugashvili charged that “Zionists” are ravaging Russia and that there are “practically no [ethnic] Russians” in the current Russian Cabinet, the Interfax news agency reported. The statement was similar to a series of anti-Semitic remarks made in recent months by prominent members of the Communist Party, who charged that there have been too many Jews in the government of Russian President Boris Yeltsin and that they are responsible for Russia’s ongoing economic and social problems. Russia’s 30-member government includes two officials with known Jewish roots. Stalin was responsible for several cruel waves of persecution in the Soviet Union, including some that involved anti-Semitism. Dzhugashvili, a retired air force colonel, was speaking to a crowd of 100 supporters of several radical leftists groups that rallied near Moscow’s Red Square to protest Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s reported intention to bury Lenin’s embalmed body. Earlier this year, Dzhugashvili launched a new leftist electoral coalition called the Stalinist Bloc. The bloc, which supports the reconstitution of the Soviet Union, is composed of radical leftist and anti-Semitic elements. Dzhugashvili, who like other descendants of Stalin kept a low profile during the later years of the Soviet Union, lives in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where he heads the 50,000-member Stalin Society. Dzhugashvili has made several thinly veiled anti-Semitic remarks in the past. Earlier this year, he was quoted as saying at a public rally that “in contrast to the war against Nazi Germany, the enemy today is among us and hiding.” Stalin unleashed a state-sponsored anti-Semitic campaign in the Soviet Union after World War II. The campaign, which included the notorious “Doctors’ Plot,” in which several Jewish doctors were killed after having been falsely accused of murdering Soviet leaders, and a drive against “rootless cosmopolitans” — a code word for Jews — ended after Stalin died in March 1953.

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