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May 12, 1995 - Image 143

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-05-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4«,

You can
make a
difference.
One life at
a time.

To Mark End Of War
Russia Curbs Extremism

Moscow (JTA)— Taking an un-
usually quick step against ex-
tremist leaders, Russian security
agents arrested an ultranation-
alist politician who made death
threats against two liberal mem-
bers of the Russian Parliament.
The arrest was seen as a re-
flection of the determination of
Russian authorities to present
a solid front against extremism
and neo-fascism as the country
prepares to commemorate the
50th anniversary of the Allied vic-
tory against the Germans in
World War II.
The arrest coincided with an
announcement that President
Boris Yeltsin plans to issue a de-
cree on measures to control ex-
tremist activity and stop the
growth of neo-fascism.
Alexei Vedenkin, a leader of
the Russian National Unity
movement, was seized March 2
by agents of the Federal Coun-
terintelligence Service, a
spokesman for the agency said.
In a nationally broadcast tele-
vision interview, Mr. Vedenkin
boasted of the mass repressions
that would take place when his
party came to power.
He said those who fail to join
his movement "will go into gas
ovens" and he would personally
be prepared to execute Russia's
outspoken human rights com-
missioner, Sergei Kovalyov, and
Sergei Yushenkov, the head of
the lower house of Parliament's
Defense Committee.
Both Mr. Kovalyov and Mr.
Yushenkov have been outspoken
opponents of the ongoing Russ-
ian war against the breakaway
republic of Chechnya.
A popular Russian Sunday
news program, "Itogi," repeated
the broadcast, with a commen-
tator offering the assessment that
the "Russian Nazis" had
launched their election campaign.
The Prosecutor General's Of-
fice, which ordered Mr. Ve-
denkin's arrest, said he was
charged with inciting ethnic ha-
tred, threatening a person with
murder, stealing documents and
disclosing state secrets.
The latter charges relate to Mr.
Vedenkin's on-air claim that the
vast majority of his movement's
followers are members of Russia's
security services, formerly known
as the KGB and renamed the
Federal Counterintelligence Ser-
vice.
Mr. Vedenken's claim prompt-
ed swift denials from security of-
ficials.
Meanwhile, as the country pre-
pares to commemorate the end of
World War II in May, a number
of important exhibits linked to
the anniversary have already

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opened.
In the Pushkin Museum of
Fine Art in Moscow and at the
Hermitage in St. Petersburg, ex-
quisite art work seized from Ger-
many by Soviet troops in World
War II is on display for the first
time in decades. The work had
been secretly stored in the base-
ments of the museums.
The so-called "trophy art"
seized during World War II is at
the center of an ownership dis-
pute between Germany and Rus-
sia.
The issue is complicated by re-
ports that some of the artwork
now being shown was seized from
wealthy Jewish families who
were the victims, not the perpe-
trators, of war.
Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery
also recently opened an exhibi-
tion of World War II documents,
including two secret supplements
to the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop
agreement in which the Soviet

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A number of exhibits
linked to the
anniversary have
opened.

Union agreed with Nazi Ger-
many to divide Eastern Europe
between the two countries.
The supplements defined the
boundaries of Poland and terri-
tories of interest to Russia and
the Third Reich. They are con-
sidered significant because their
existence was long denied by
Russian authorities.
Among the 400 pieces on dis-
play are documents outlining
plans by Adolf Hitler to invade
Russia and data on the extermi-
nation of Jews, Communists and
the "spiritually poor" in the Baltic
republics; in the republic formerly
known as Byelorussia; and in
Russia itself.
In another exhibit, at the Cen-
tral Museum of the Russian
Army, more spoils of war as well
as Nazi memorabilia are due to
go on display. Russian newspa-
pers have reported that among
the items to be presented will be
uniforms that belonged to Hitler
and his propaganda chief, Josef
Goebbels. The uniforms were
seized by Soviet troops in Berlin
during the final days of the war.
Col. Vladimir Lukin, a senior
museum official, was asked
whether the display could become
a shrine for neo-Nazis instead of
providing an antidote to extrem-
ism.
He said believed that most peo-
ple would view the exhibit sim-
ply as a history lesson.

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