A Russian senator known for his strong antisemitic views was invited to a Beirut conference in early July, along with several other Russian officials, and used the opportunity to accuse "Zionists" of committing "genocide" against Russia and calling for Russians and Muslims to unite against a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. As UCSJ has just learned, Senator Nikolai Kondratenko—the former governor of Krasnodar Kray who now represents the region in the Federation Council—took part in the conference (ironically) entitled "Diversity of Cultures: The Experience of Russia and the Levantine East" between June 29 and July 1 of this year. The conference was also attended by Russia's ambassador for special assignments, Venamin Popov, and several other Russian and Arab officials, Orthodox Church representatives, and academics, none of whom were reported to have made anti-semitic statements. Mr. Popov generally spearheads Russia's efforts to build relations with Muslim countries.
Senator Kondratenko's speech was printed in the Communist Party's main newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya and several regional papers, including the Krasnodar paper Kuban Segodnya and the Volgograd paper Volgogradskaya Tribuna. In his speech, the senator begins with the greeting "Respected clerics!" but instead speaking of spiritual matters, he quickly moves onto his favorite topic—the Jews. "Only the stupid or the naďve don't see nowadays international Zionism within the epicenter of big politics, with its striving towards world hegemony," the senator argued. Using the powers of transnational corporations and the US, these "Zionists" have led the world into "the abyss of faithlessness, calamities, wars and suffering." The "Zionists" have "Jewishly" appointed themselves in charge of Russia's natural resources, while at the same time causing the invasion of Iraq, and spilling "the blood of the Palestinians."
Blatantly trying to unite Muslims and Russians around the banner of militant anti-semitism, the Senator claimed that the war in Chechnya, a sensitive subject between Russia and the Islamic world, "was started not by the Russians and not by the Chechens, it was organized by the foul politicians of the Zionist type from Moscow." These same "Zionists" use their control of the media to label the enemies of the US and Israel terrorists and fascists, while the truth is that they are the real terrorists and fascists. "Television in my own country assures me, a Russian, that what friend Bush or friend Sharon does is always right, but when a Palestinian stands up for his land with rocks in his hands or a bomb on his chest, that is always bad, and, it turns out, it's also terrorism." This same media also tries to convince Russians that Muslims are bad, and puts a strict "taboo" on any discussion of this worldwide conspiracy ("God help you if you talk about the policies of Zionism!")
Senator Kondratenko also cast doubt on Al Qaeda's responsibility for 9-11, strongly hinting that it was an Israeli and American plot against Muslims. Russians and Muslims need to unite and "save themselves from the Zionist genocide." He gives the extremist Russian Muslim leader Gaidar Dzhemal—a former member of Pamyat—credit for educating him about the Zionist plot to make Russians and Muslims fight each other rather than their true enemies. His last words to the audience were the following: "People, in the name of God and in the name of Allah, unite in the struggle against evil on our earth!"