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Russian Orthodox Activists Say Charlie Hebdo Shooting Was ‘Just Punishment’

Russian Orthodox activists rallied outside the French Embassy in Moscow with signs blaming this week’s massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo on the newspaper’s own practice of lampooning various religions — and on the French government for tolerating its satire. While scores of Muscovites laid flowers outside the embassy to extend their condolences to the families of the 12 people killed in the attack and their grieving nation, a handful of Orthodox demonstrators […]

Christian-funded group preaches Israel immigration gospel to Ukraine refugees

Back in the late 1960s, among the thousands of protesters at a downtown New York mass rally for Soviet Jewry, a young Yechiel Eckstein sat on the ground, chanting, “One two three four, open up the Iron Door; five six seven eight, let our people emigrate.” The rabbis of his school, the Yeshiva University High […]

Will Russia’s economic woes burst bubble for Jews?

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (JTA) — In the basement of one of Europe’s largest synagogues, 100 Jews are waiting to meet local film star Boris Smolkin. The crowd applauds enthusiastically as the 66-year-old funnyman, who gave his voice to Master Yoda in the Russian-language version of the “Star Wars” trilogy, sucks daintily on an electronic cigarette […]

Fleeing civil war, thousands of Ukrainians take refuge in Israel

They streamed off the shuttle buses into Terminal One of Ben-Gurion Airport, amid loud Hebrew music and green-clad soldiers waving Israeli flags. Chatting in Russian, the new immigrants, many of them refugees from the ongoing civil war in Ukraine’s industrial east, arrived here seeking a new life in the Jewish state. More than 5,000 Ukrainian […]

RUSSIA: Kaliningrad and Moscow struggles for places of worship

By Victoria Arnold, Forum 18 News Service In Russia’s capital Moscow Hare Krishna devotees are appealing against a unilaterally terminated land lease and the denial of building permission for a temple by the authorities. “We will pursue both cases through every level of the courts, to be able to appeal to the European Court of […]

Huddling by fire, Jews in rebel-held Ukraine keep synagogue alive

LUGANSK, Ukraine (JTA) — In an unheated synagogue with no running water, a dozen Jews are trying to keep warm as temperatures here veer toward the single digits. Not moving too much helps keep the warmth under their thick coats, they say, a technique developed as the group gathered at least once a week to […]

Discrimination, Disappearances and Exile of Leaders – The Desperate Situation of the Crimean Tatars since Russia’s Illegal Annexation of Crimea

In March 2014, Russia illegally took control over Crimea and annexed it to its territory after a heavily criticized referendum. Since then, the situation of the Crimean Tatars, the indigenous population of the peninsula who had already suffered a full-scale deportation under the Soviet Union in the 1940s, significantly worsened. They face serious and systemic […]

Russia: Human Rights Climate Unrecognizable from a Decade Ago

(Moscow) – Dramatic deterioration in the past decade has made Russia’s human rights landscape virtually unrecognizable, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said at a news conference in Moscow today. Roth is on his first visit to the country since May 2005.  “Starting in the early 2000s, many in Russia have been wary about […]

RUSSIA: Bans on more literature, website and video

Russian courts have banned more Muslim literature and a video on the ownership of Orthodox saints’ relics as “extremist”, Forum 18 News Service notes. They have also banned a US-based Russian language website with the text of a hadith collection held by Sunni Muslims to be the most important Islamic book after the Koran. Ravil […]

Russia’s Extremism Law Violates Human Rights

By Katrina Lantos Swett, Robert P. George Nov. 26 2014 20:25 Last edited 20:26 Last Friday, a video deemed offensive to the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church was ruled “extremist” by a city court in Vladimir. While Alexander Soldatov — chief editor of, the website that posted the offending video — now […]