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Ukrainian Jewish fighter touted as ‘hero, symbol of resistance’ to Russia

With his gray beard, AK-47 assault rifle and camouflage fatigues, Asher Joseph Cherkassky looks like an Eastern European version of Fidel Castro. But Cherkassky’s look is no attempt to emulate the Cuban revolutionary or any of his bearded associates. Rather, it is the result of his being an Orthodox Jew who is also a fighter […]

UCSJ Attends Second Annual International Religious Freedom (IRF) Roundtable

On Thursday, June 27, 2013, UCSJ’s President, Larry Lerner, and Associate Director, Maria Weissman, attended the second annual International Religious Freedom (IRF) Roundtable event. The IRF is an informal alliance of over one hundred faith-based organizations, religious freedom advocates and NGOs. The event was held on Capitol Hill in the Cannon Caucus Room and was co-sponsored by Advocates […]

Azerbaijan criminalizes free speech online ahead of elections (Amnesty International Press Release)

May 15 2013 The Azerbaijani authorities must not use the upcoming presidential election as a pretext to silence critical voices and meaningful debate, Amnesty International said following a move to extend criminal defamation laws to the internet. On 14 May, the Azerbaijani Parliament approved an amendment to the country’s defamation law to impose hefty fines […]

Remembering the Refusenik Movement

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN (CNN) — Driven by desperation, Marina and Lev Furman stepped out of their home in Leningrad and took a 20-minute walk into uncertainty. Trailed by KGB agents, they bundled up and set out in the weak winter light for Palace Square, site of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. They brought signs demanding freedom. And […]

Saturday’s Demonstration in Moscow Shows Opposition’s Determination

Last Saturday, December 15th, Russian leaders of the political opposition took part in an unsanctioned demonstration. This protest, which took place in Lubyanka Square near a monument to victims of Soviet political repression, was an act of defiance against a law signed by President Putin in June that fines participants $9,000 and organizations $18,000 for […]

Elie Wiesel and Natan Sharansky Discuss 1987 March on Washington for Soviet Jewry

At the this year’s General Assembly (GA) of the Jewish Federations of North America, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel and Natan Sharansky, former Soviet Refusenik, discussed the historical significance of the Sunday, December 6, 1987 march on Washington for Soviet Jewry. This 1987 march was the largest American Jewish demonstration in history, with over […]

United Russia Lawmaker Resigns After Stating He Wanted to Cut Benefits for Holocaust Survivors

Andrei Yershov, a Russian lawmaker and member of President Putin’s ruling United Russia party, has stepped down after making controversial comments regarding his outrage at continuing free public transportation in Russia for Holocaust survivors. In a heated October 16th council debate, he asked “why is it that we owe anything [to the prisoners]? continuing, “Why? […]

Russia Moves to Broaden Definition of High Treason

“Russian leaders ‘have now chosen an ideological course — you can even call it a national idea — to search for external and internal enemies,’ Lev A. Ponomarev, a veteran activist, said in an interview with Dozhd TV. Lyudmila M. Alekseyeva, a human rights advocate, told the news service Interfax that she had ‘a feeling that they are again pulling down the Iron Curtain.’

Earlier this week, the United States Agency for International Development announced that it would end its 20-year-old program in Russia at the Kremlin’s request. On Friday, the Moscow office of Radio Liberty, which is financed by the American government, announced that it was ending medium-wave broadcasts because of a tough new media law that prohibits such broadcasting when more than 48 percent of an outlet’s founders are foreigners. The station will continue its broadcasts online.”

Setbacks for democrats and multi-culturalists

State obstruction will keep the Russian democratic party of the ballot this year. They were required to collect two million signatures, which they did, but since a portion were scanned and not originals–something they had to restort to to meet the dealine–their entire petition was discarded. Putin’s party will benefit as a result: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/yavlinsky-says-yabloko-is-in-the-right/452038.html This is […]

Statement of Solidarity

Union of Councils expresses solidarity with democratic forces in Russia who strongly protest against the falsification of parliamentary election results. Today, big rallies in Moscow, Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, and many other cities and towns across Russia showed that Russian civil society not only exists, but is fighting for democratization and political-economic reforms. We support the […]