(JTA) — A former leader of Russian Jews said he would like to hang prominent Ukrainian Jews “until they stop breathing.”
Yevgeny Satanovsky, who served as a president of the Russian Jewish Congress in the years 2004 and 2005, made the assertion on March 9 about Joseph Zissels, leader of the Vaad Association of Jewish Communities and Organizations of Ukraine, and Igor Kolomoisky, a Jewish billionaire who is the governor of the district of Dnepropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine.
During a radio interview for the Govorit Moskva station, Satanovsky, who currently heads the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies in Moscow, said he would like to kill both men because he said they maintain that Stephan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who during World War II collaborated with the Nazis and later fought against them, is not responsible for the death of Jews murdered by men under his command.
“A significant number of Ukrainian officials, he said, “out of cowardice, stupidity, or from general meanness says that ‘Bandera didn’t kill any Jews.’ On this, allow me to reiterate: When and if there’s way to do this, then I will hang Kolomoisky and Joseph Zissels at least in Dnepropetrovsk in front of the Golden Rose Synagogue until they stop breathing.”
Both Zissels and Kolomoisky are pro-Ukrainian nationalists and harsh critics of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, where separatists backed by Moscow recently signed a cease-fire with Ukrainian troops at the end of a yearlong war that has claimed 6,000 lives.
That war and Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year has generated intense animosity between Russians and Ukrainians, and has also pitted Ukrainian and pro-Ukrainian Jewish leaders against some of their Russian counterparts.