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Russian Jewish leader urges textbook pulled

JTA

September 20, 2010 | 3:14 pm

A Russian Jewish leader urged the head of Moscow State University to take steps to drop a history textbook considered by many to be anti-Semitic.

Alexander Boroda, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, sent a letter Monday to Viktor Sadovnichy urging the Moscow State leader to act upon a history textbook written by university professors Alexander Vdovin and Alexander Barsenkov.

Many experts have perceived the textbook, which deals with Russian history between 1917 and 2004, as extremist and anti-Semitics. It provides the percentage of Jews in former Soviet governments and similarly treats many historic events.

“For example, [the authors] say that the deportation of the Crimea Tatars was caused by the necessity of clearing the territory for the Jewish republic, which is nonsense from a historical point of view,” sociologist Anatoly Golubovsky, a history graduate from Moscow State, told JTA.

“The stance of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia is the same as of the public and of the expert community who called the textbook an example of extremist literature,” Boroda said in his letter, describing some of the authors’ descriptions as “sounding Nazi.”

Boroda also asked Sadovnichy to hold an internal investigation into the textbook and to put an end to any anti-Semitic activities at the university.

“We woudn’t like to go as far as to a court trial,” Boroda said, “but the degree of heat of public discussion makes us think about this.”

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