MINELRES: SOVA: Reactions to the Attack against Worshippers in a Moscow Synagogue

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Jan 16 21:26:43 2006

Original sender: SOVA Center <mail@sova-center.ru>

Reactions to the Attack against Worshippers in a Moscow Synagogue

The attack against worshippers in a Hasid Synagogue at 6 Bolshaya
Bronnaya Ulitsa in central Moscow on Wednesday, 11 January, elicited a
lot of comments and reactions. Far from being the first attack against a
synagogue in Russia, for the first time the rampage left so many victims
– eight people were stabbed.

Opinions differ as to whether the attacker, Alexander Koptsev, is a
convinced member of a nationalist gang or a mentally unstable individual
(his parents, naturally, insist on the latter). So far, it appears that
he had associated with skinheads before the attack and had obviously
read books of their ‘propaganda’, but acted single-handedly.

Members of different religions, numerous NGOs and government officials
immediately condemned the attack. Human rights defenders stressed that
Koptsev’s attack was not a random accident, but a manifestation of
hatred and violence on the rise in Russia, while attempts by authorities
to control them are clearly inadequate. (Some people have made even more
radical statements, holding the Kremlin directly responsible for the

Radical nationalists also reacted to the incident. For example, Orthodox
Russia wrote that the attack may have been a provocation orchestrated by
Jews and authorities to justify reprisals against Russian nationalists.
Similarly, the neo-Nazi Freedom Party described Koptsev as a victim of
provocation and called upon the Russian government to pursue nationalist
policies as a way to avoid a universal war against Jews. 

In fact, the impunity of ethno-nationalist propaganda and its wide
dissemination in Russia were the main reasons behind Koptsev’s attack.

SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, Moscow

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