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Russia posters { June 5 2002 }

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Anti-Jew Posters Appear in Russia

The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 5, 2002; 2:37 PM

MOSCOW Three posters saying "Death to Jews" appeared in the Russian city of Voronezh on Wednesday, a week after a similar sign posted outside Moscow exploded in the face of a woman who tried to remove it, a Jewish group said.

The signs in Voronezh, 300 miles south of Moscow had packages attached to them that police suspected might be explosives, said Alexander Axelrod, a member of the Anti-Defamation League. Security and emergency officials shot water cannons at the packages, but they turned out to contain bricks. The signs were torn down.

Last week, Tatyana Sapunova was driving outside Moscow when she spotted a roadside sign reading "Death to Jews." She stopped her car and tried to yank the poster from the ground, apparently triggering an explosion that left her with severe burns and eye injuries. Russia's Jewish community paid to send her to Israel on Tuesday for plastic surgery.

"It's a chain of intimidation," Axelrod said. "It is unfortunate that it took this event in Moscow for police to pay attention to such things."

Citing numerous cases of anti-Semitic slogans sprayed in graffiti and of anti-Semitic acts, he added: "There's still not enough of a reaction to such hate crimes, and that only encourages the kind of people who want to express their xenophoic attitudes."

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office insisted Wednesday that all "manifestations of extremism and ethnic hatred" will be investigated, according to the Interfax news agency.

The explosion came amid heightened fears of racist violence in Moscow, and Russian skinheads have threatened a "war against foreigners." The day after the explosion, skinheads attacked a 16-year-old American Jewish boy in Moscow whose father serves as the rabbi in Voronezh.

2002 The Associated Press

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