"We see Putin as an ally"
In Sevastopol, on Thursday remember the victims of the Holocaust, the TV channel 5-tv.ru. The shooting of thousands of Jews in the captured city of 12 on July 1942 of the year became part of the ruthless plan of the Nazis for "the final solution of the Jewish question." Delegations from various countries and witnesses of those events arrived at the mourning events.
As reported on the eve of the newspaper VIEW, President Vladimir Putin received in the Kremlin a delegation of representatives of international public and religious organizations, including rabbis from Western Europe.
Putin thanked "Jewish communities, public organizations that are actively and courageously, bearing in mind some situations in today's world, continue to uncompromisingly fight against any manifestations and any attempts at Nazi ideology." “We consider you in this respect the closest allies, and I ask you to treat us as such,” Putin said.
Putin agreed with representatives of organizations in the assessment of distortion storiesin particular the history of the Second World War. “You have to be not just stupid, you have to be arrogant to deny what happened,” Putin said. “Unfortunately, this arrogance, like 70 years ago, often reaches its goal,” the Russian leader acknowledged. He cited the words of Goebbels: "The more incredible the lie, the faster they will believe in it." “He achieved his goal, he was a talented person,” Putin noted.
As the head of state recalled, “even today, those who distort history, who try to belittle the merits of those who destroyed Nazism, change even the places of criminals and victims, - they act according to the same logic: the more incredible is the lie, the faster they will believe. "
The delegation that visited the Kremlin the day before arrived on Thursday in Sevastopol to participate in the mourning events. An international delegation of the movement “A World Without Nazism” will also arrive in Sevastopol. Together with Russian colleagues, she will hold a round table, within which a presentation of the White Book of Nazism is planned - for the first time a comparative analysis of this phenomenon in 18 countries of Europe is given, which for the first time allowed the authors to present the scale of the neo-Nazi threat to the world.
One of the participants of the meeting with Putin, President of the High Religious Court of Jews in the European Union countries Israel Yaakov Lichtenstein, who lives in Great Britain, told the interview to the VIEW about whether neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic sentiments are growing in the West.
VIEW: Rabbi Liechtenstein, what are your impressions of Sevastopol, which the Ukrainian press calls the "occupied" city? You are not afraid that in the UK you will be criticized for visiting the Crimea, accused of having “sold out to Moscow”?
Israel Liechtenstein: Of course, we intended to go to Sevastopol as members of the Jewish community. Our main goal is to help and support the world. We are not involved in politics, so we are not afraid of any reproaches and accusations ... The city is very cute. I cannot comment on the Ukrainian press, I repeat, because we do not participate in politics.
VIEW: What expectations did you have before meeting in the Kremlin?
I.L .: We, the rabbis, annually organize meetings that take place in various countries. Initially, we had no confidence about how the meeting with the Russian president would be held. But we wanted to discuss our problems so that not only the whole world, the citizens would know about them, but also the leaders of these countries too. I, as well as my colleagues, were very pleased that the Russian president is not indifferent to our problems and is taking an absolutely clear position here.
VIEW: Putin at the meeting thanked "the Jewish communities, public organizations that actively continue to fight the manifestations of the Nazi ideology." Do you view the Russian leadership as your ally in such a struggle?
I.L .: We were very pleased when Putin strongly condemned attempts to rewrite history, denial of the Holocaust, and we thanked him for that. We see in him a reliable ally. The meeting was very helpful. The Russian president also discussed with us how important respect for traditional values is, and we, the rabbis, fully share this position.
It is very encouraging to see a positive attitude towards the Jewish community in Russia. During the conversation, it was mentioned that, for example, in Poland, Russian monuments are constantly spoiled, which we also condemned and stressed that we all have the same views and common interests.
VIEW: What is the danger of the growth of neo-Nazi sentiments in Eastern Europe, including in Ukraine and in the Baltics?
I.L .: We did not speak about Ukraine or specifically about the Baltic States: Latvia, Lithuania and so on, and there were no rabbis representing these countries at the meeting. The meeting was with the rabbis from Europe. It was the European trends that were discussed.
VIEW: What do you think, do neo-Nazi and xenophobic sentiments grow in Western Europe?
I.L .: Of course, I can only speak from my observations, my opinions, but I firmly believe that neo-Nazi tendencies are slowly, gradually, but growing. I do not feel a single coordination in this matter, which was before. Therefore, we are very concerned about the growth of anti-Semitism, Nazi sentiment and the problem of Holocaust denial that is particularly acute now. What worries me most is Germany and the Netherlands.
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