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August 8, 2013 5:58 pm

Allegations of Anti-Semitism in Trial of Russian Jew

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Ilya Farber. Photo: The Russian Jewish Congress.

JNS.org Russia’s Kremlin human rights council plans to review the case of Russian-Jewish teacher Ilya Farber, who in a Russian regional court last week was sentenced for the second time to seven years in a maximum security penal colony on bribery charges. The human rights council called the sentence “too harsh,” according to the Moscow Times. Farber pleaded not guilty, and the Russian Supreme Court had overturned his first conviction.

The Russian Jewish Congress, which has been raising money to assist Farber’s family, has criticized a phrase made by the prosecutor during Farber’s first trial in 2012— “Can a person with the last name Farber truly help a village for free?”—as evidence for anti-Semitic undertones in the case.

Farber had worked as a teacher and later the director of the village cultural house in Moshenka, in the Tver region in Central Russia, where he was accused of accepting a bribe worth about $13,000 from a construction firm renovating the cultural house in return for officially marking the work as complete.

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The prosecutor’s remark during the first trial isn’t typical, because Russian legal officials are usually “very careful with what they say,” Matvey Chlenov, deputy executive for the Russian Jewish Congress, told JNS.org. “What we most dislike currently is that this prosecutor was not punished, even though the first sentence was annulled by the Russian Federal court,” he said.

“Farber received a very cruel sentence, even though the alleged bribe sum was only several thousands of dollars. And still he got seven years of hard labor… We would like the sentence to be reviewed [a second time],” Chlenov added.

The National Conference on Soviet Jewry has also been closely monitoring the Farber case. “We join with our partner the Russian Jewish Congress in expressing concern at the prosecutor’s statement questioning Mr. Farber’s background,” Mark Levin, the organization’s executive director, told JNS.org.

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  • Alla Gelman

    I saw this case on russian TV channel 1. Andrey Malahov told the story very well and brought participants too.
    I left soviet union many many years ago in January of 1979. Russia and especialy Ukraine is not a safe place for a jew no matter how much they claim that things change. In the old movie “Fidler on the roof” Tevie said that for us, jews, things will never change. He made a good point. It is beyond my understanding why Farber went to live in the russian village instead of Israel or America. His mother made a big mistake by staying in russia and she is the one to blame. In late 70s America was taking soviet jews with unlimited quota, any jew could move to America at that time, i mean any thinking jew. Farber does not deserve the sentence but they use him as a pawn to display their displeasure and jatred towards jews who decided to stay in russia.
    In ukraine, where the war is going on and bandera portraits, his flags are all over Kiev, jews are in a danger of higher proportion. Jews never learn, the holocost, denial of college education and jobs did not teach them a lesson that living in russia and ukraine is a bad, very bad mistake.

  • Fred

    What do you expect ? Russia is like the wolf it changes the colour of its fur but not its character. Russia is dyed in the wool with anti Semitism since Tsarist time, Stalin continued the same system & Putin does not seem to be any different, after all he is a Stalinist product & KGB functionary. Nothing should come as a surprise now that they picked a minority in the Gay population for persecution who knows the next lot could be “again” the
    eternal Jew.

    • Alla

      Dear Fred,
      You are very wrong about gay community in Russia. Some gay men are very famous and are singers, actors, etc…
      Of course it’s not like in America and gays can’t publicly display or say that they are gays, they can’t get married but they are not being procecuted as long as they don’t parade their gayness. There is no gay parades in Moscow. It’s like in american army “don’t tell”. Jews on the other hand are not safe because no matter how they hide and pretend, even changed names everybody knows who and where they are. Some jews like Joseph Kobzon who is a famous singer with mafia connection are getting lots of respect there but some get in trouble. There was a movie made about the last jew who remained in a city named Odessa. It’s a comedy. His appartment became like a museum and people came to look at how a jew lives for money. For example at lunch time jews eat chicken soup and a big crowd is moving behind them checking out the way they live. There was an attempt to seduce the husband by a russian woman because he was like a vehicle could move her out of the country.
      When i saw this show about a jew who moved to a village and tried to change peasants life for better they turned against him and accused of crimes he did not commit. This is a shame and a half… Still i feel it’s his mother’s fault that she remained there when she could run and take her son with her. There was another jewish man named Boris Nemtsov.
      His real last name was Nayman and he was a total jew not a russian. He was a politician, critisized Putin. He went for a walk with his new girlfriend near Kremlin in Moscow and was shot to death. Putin blamed muslims but everybody knows that it was done on his order.

  • gord

    gotta love the putin regime; human rights for all

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