Photo courtesy of The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism.

Leaflets ordering Jews in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee. Photo courtesy of The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Israeli media.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website.

Donetsk is the site of an “anti-terrorist” operation by the Ukraine government, which has moved military columns into the region to force out militants who are demanding a referendum be held on joining Russia.

The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government,” and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the report.

Pushilin acknowledged that flyers were distributed under his organization’s name in Donetsk, but denied any connection to them, Ynet reported in Hebrew.

Emanuel Shechter, in Israel, told Ynet his friends in Donetsk sent him a copy of the leaflet through social media.

“They told me that masked men were waiting for Jewish people after the Passover eve prayer, handed them the flyer and told them to obey its instructions,” he said.

The leaflet begins, “Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality,” and states that all people of Jewish descent over 16 years old must report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and “register.”

It says the reason is because the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported Bendery Junta, a reference to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement that fought for Ukrainian independence at the end of World War II, “and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk,” a name adopted by the militant leadership.

The leaflet then described which documents Jews should provide: “ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles.”

Consequences for non-compliance will result in citizenship being revoked “and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property.” A registration fee of $50 would be required, it said.

Olga Reznikova, 32, a Jewish resident of Donetsk, told Ynet she never experienced anti-Semitism in the city until she saw this leaflet.

“We don’t know if these notifications were distributed by pro-Russian activists or someone else, but it’s serious that it exists,” she said. “The text reminds of the fascists in 1941,” she said referring to the Nazis who occupied Ukraine during World War II.

Michael Salberg, director of the international affairs at the New York City-based Anti-Defamation League, said it’s unclear if the leaflets were issued by the pro-Russian leadership or a splinter group operating within the pro-Russian camp.

But the Russian side has used the specter of anti-Semitism in a cynical manner since anti-government protests began in Kiev that resulted in the ousting of Ukraine’s pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych. Russia and its allies in Ukraine issued multiple stories about the the threat posed to Jews by Ukraine’s new pro-Western government in Kiev, Salberg said.

Those stories were based in part on ultra-nationalists who joined the Maidan protests, and the inclusion of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party in Ukraine’s new interim government. But the threat turned out to be false, he said.

Svoboda’s leadership needs to be monitored, but so far it has refrained from anti-Semitic statements since joining the government, he said. And the prevalence of anti-Semitic acts has not changed since before the Maidan protests, according to the ADL and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, which monitors human rights in Ukraine.

Distributing such leaflets is a recruitment tool to appeal to the xenophobic fears of the majority, to enlist them to your cause and focus on a common enemy, the Jews,” Salberg said.

And by targeting Donetsk’s Jews, they also send a message to all the region’s residents, Salberg said.

“The message is a message to all the people that is we’re going to exert our power over you,” he said. “Jews are the default scapegoat throughout history for despots to send a message to the general public: Don’t step out of line.”

(Oren Dorell writes for USA Today.)



  1. Either this is a truly nasty hoax (specially timed for Passover) or its time for Israel to start getting the airlifts ready.

    USCIS, start hiring more clerks for processing refugee visas, you are going to get swamped.

  2. Here we go again.
    Jews being rounded up because Christians are coming to power. Religion always hitches its wagons to government because it doesn’t believe its own lie that “God is not of this world.”

    If you are an Atheist and you keep quiet
    about this Christian Fascist nonsense
    because you don’t want to sound ANGRY – you are not helping.

    Religion infects us.
    Where God exists, there is NO ROOM for goodness or honesty.

    Steve Green and Hobby Lobby should understand where they are trying to take America! Traitorous nonsense.

      • That’s what religiously inspired ignoramuses think biology is all about. Glad to know Creationists are still dumber than a bag of hammers.

        But we are talking about only Jews here.Christians only care about them if they can be converted or blamed for troubles. It’s not like the Orthodox and Catholic churches in the region ever did the Jews any favors.

      • @d,
        Your slander is unnecessary.

        Morality doesn’t come from religion. If it did the prisons would be full of Atheists. Instead they are full of Christians.

        Atheists only make up 12% of the general population but they make up less than .5% of the prison population. Why are Atheists so good? Maybe because they know this life is all you get to live so you better not mess it up.

        The Good Samaritan was not a Christian or a Jew and probably had no religion at all. Yet he is the example most Atheists follow.

        • The faith of America’s prison population is documented.

        • Your hatred and confusion is a typical result of Christian preaching and philosophy.

          Of course I’m a grown man in my 50s who was a Christian for 44 years.
          Taught Sunday school and raised my kids in the church.

          But I changed my mind when I realized there is no truth to this stuff. And further, there is real evil just under its surface. The evil is clearly on display in your posts.

          Religion is divisive – though it claims to unite.
          Religion is hateful – though it claims to love.
          Religion closes the mind – though it claims to open it.
          Religion is based on superstition – though it claims otherwise.

          It is not easy to leave religion once you have fully believed in it. There is a lot to work out.

          The grungy basement you are referring to appears to be in your own mind.

    • It would be more accurate to say because “Russians” are coming to power. There are plenty of places where there are Christians in power and Jews are not being treated this way. To cast blanket blame on a group of people who represent a wide and divergent set of views of many topics as is evident by the plurality of the Christian world (even the Jewish and other religious cultures are quite diverse within themselves) shows a bias of judgment.

    • I was going to suggest that you’re incredibly uneducated regarding followers of Christ and what Christ calls people to do and be like, but uneducated people don’t ignore evidence and them be malicious about it. They certainly don’t necessarily go around slandering a whole segment of a population, like a racist would, without knowing individuals. Innocent people don’t go around having such foul opinions, but they might realize that their low-cost or free treatment at a Christian hospital was a GOOD thing. You are not innocent, but saying false, bizarre, and hurtful things. Very troll-like — congrats!

      • @Eclair,

        Right there in the news it is before you. You can see it yourself.

        Atheists are not proponents in ridding the Ukraine of Jews. We have no reason to hate Jews.

        Only Christians, with the doctrine that says Jews killed Jesus, are the ones who have this imaginary reason to kill the enemies of Jesus.

        “…bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and EXECUTE THEM in front of me..” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

        How disgusted does one have to be before one awakens from this hateful nightmare? All religions are nonsense.

        • Edward Borges-Silva

          There was no reference to a religious based body, or influence in the story. It would be wise to have more information before automatically assuming that this evident anti-Semitism is religiously motivated Anti-Semitism can exist outside the parameters of religion.

          • Edward Borges-Silva

            I would add the reference to ‘religious documents’ in the story was meant primarily as a means of identifying ‘Jews,’ but that in itself does not demonstrate a religious motivation on the part of the authors of the leaflet.

          • The Russian Orthodox Church has a long (and continued) history of promoting Antisemitism. They have deep links with the Russian political power structure. It would be highly foolish to write them off from this sort of thing.

            The political element to Russian antisemitism (namely Stalin, Cold War politics and Israel’s alliance with the US) is long gone.

            Max is engaging in a bit of hyperbole, but in Russia, Christianity seldom had clean hands.

          • @Edward,

            Suppose I had book that said I must love the Holy Leprechaun who was killed by evil Bostonians centuries ago.
            Now suppose that the same book said “Kill the enemies of the Holy Leprechaun”.

            That is Jesus’ relationship with the Jews.

            Anti-Semitism is a loveless, cold-blooded feud.
            And it was started by the followers of Jesus.

            To end the feud both sides must dump the Bible – which celebrates and SANCTIFIES the feud as part of its preaching.
            I don’t think it is hyperbole to call this EVIL.

          • @Edward,

            Yes. Some Atheists hate Jews. But my argument against them would be that they have no “reason” to hate Jews.
            Christianity gives you a “reason” to hate Jews and it sanctifies that hatred.

            “…those who would not have me as their King…execute them” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

            Please don’t correct me on the context of this parable. Context didn’t stop Hitler from putting it to use.

        • @Ragmouth Angel,

          Good thing you are in Norway – it explains your ignorance.
          In America your right to practice any religion ENDS the day you remove my right to ignore it.

          I’m no spokesperson. Atheists think for themselves; that is how we become Atheists.

          If Christians and Muslims could simply love their God and worship in peace that would be fine. But lately they cannot seem to keep this reckless God Toy off my back!
          Evangelicals are on the attack:

          Faith-based financing of Israeli settlements in $100 million last year alone.
          Faith-based mutilation of children’s genitals.
          State Legalized Murder of Doctors in South Dakota
          Mandatory Trans-Vaginal probes- Virginia Legislature

          Bible Preaching in public schools – Hobby Lobby financing
          Blocking everyone from family planning – Texas, Kansas, Ala, etc.
          Obstruction of prescriptions – Illinois, Washington

          Discrimination as religious choice -Arizona (SB-1062)

          Anti-Gay laws – Texas

          Anti-women’s rights laws – Texas, Louisina, Virginia

          Biased Counseling laws – South Dakota
          Creationism to replace all Science Education – 12 States
          Foreign funding of Al Queda, Hamas
          Return of Jewish pogroms under the rise of Russian Orthodox Christians

          These groups are working against our U.S Constitution – which already preserves everyone’s religious freedom.

          None of this mixing of religion and politics should be happening.
          Go to church, love your God and keep your psychotic blood sacrifice Goat Smoking Voodoo to yourself !

          • In Russia “Jew” is not a religion but a nationality

            There are a lot of people that are atheist, but because of parentage their passport will say : nationality: Jewish

  3. The pro-Russian leader whose name appears on the leaflet has denied approving them and the signature on the is said to be a poor forgery. While this doesn’t mean that there is nothing to worry about, for even the idea that someone would stage this is troublesome, there is no official action any sort.

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