Russian vandals admit to smashing Jewish graves

(JTA) — Two suspects arrested for destroying dozens of Jewish tombstones in central Russia admitted to the crime but said the attack was not anti-Semitic.

Russian police arrested the men, aged 46 and 32, on Tuesday in connection with the attack discovered the previous day at a cemetery in Ulyanovsk, near the city of Kazan. Most of the 30 graves destroyed were from the Jewish part of the cemetery, the online edition of the Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.

The report said the suspects admitted to smashing the tombstones but said the attack was not anti-Semitic. Rather, the report said, the men said they were drunk and broke the Jewish tombstones because they were closest to them.

In February, a memorial monument for Holocaust victims was smashed in Ulyanovsk — a menorah that was inaugurated in 2011 during an international festival of Jewish culture. The vandals, who are unknown, tried but failed to enter the adjacent Jewish community center, according to a report by the Interfax news agency. 

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