MOSCOW, Russia — Nine adolescents were arrested for drawing swastikas on a Jewish cultural centre in Ulyanovsk – in the Volga region – announced Russia’s Jewish community Wednesday.
On Tuesday “youths gathered in front of the centre drew swastikas and shouted anti-Semitic slogans”, said Andrei Glotser, representative of Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar, according to the Interfax agency.
The nine arrested are aged 14 and 15, he said.
An investigation is set to be opened.
“Unfortunately, such incidents are not isolated. A few days ago in Nizhny Novgorod, four youths went into a synagogue and threw prayer books out the window,” Zinovy Kogan, another representative from the Jewish community, told AFP.
“One of them was called in for questioning,” he said.
The attacks against the synagogues and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries are frequent in Russia and most often carried out by small neo-Nazi groups. Alexander Boroda, chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJC), has called on the Russian administration to respond to the information about a surge in hate crimes over the past few years provided by the Interior Ministry.
“Of course, the fact that the Interior Ministry is reporting a dramatic increase in hate crimes in Russia over the past four years raises concerns about the spiritual state of our society,” Boroda said.Tuesday.
A special department of the Federation of Jewish Communities, which registers incidents of anti-Semitism nature in Russia, last year noted a decrease in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2007 as compared with 2006, said Boroda.
However, that “does not mean a decrease in xenophobic tendencies as such,” he said.