Russian Opposition Journalist Targeted With ‘Jewish Pig’ Slur for Critical Coverage of Ukraine War
A prominent Russian dissident journalist has faced antisemitic intimidation for speaking out against the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Alexei Venediktov last Thursday discovered a severed pigs head and a sticker bearing Ukraine’s coat of arms along with the slogan “Judensau” (“Jewish pig”) outside the front door of his Moscow apartment.
Venediktov is the editor of the liberal Echo radio station in Moscow. The station, which has been broadcasting since 1990, was kicked off air by the Russian authorities because of its critical coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Venediktov, who is of Jewish descent, expressed amazement on his Telegram channel that such an antisemitic provocation could occur in the “country that defeated fascism.”
“Why not just fix a six-pointed star to my door?” he added sarcastically, referring to the Star of David that symbolizes Judaism.
The antisemitic phrase “Judensau” dates back to the medieval period. Several churches in Germany are decorated with sculptures mocking the Jewish prohibition on the consumption of pork by showing Jews on their knees suckling a pig.
The revelation that an antisemitic trope was invoked to intimidate Venediktov came amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s insistence that Ukraine was invaded for the purposes of “denazification.” Ukraine’s Jewish community has strongly condemned the Kremlin’s propaganda narrative, as have international Jewish organizations.
Venediktov is one of several Russian opposition journalists and activists to have been targeted for speaking out against the war. On Friday, Daria Heikinen, an anti-war activist based in St. Petersburg, arrived home to find excrement pushed under her front door and the word “traitor” daubed in red paint.
Kristina Vorotnikova, a former aide to jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, told the Moscow Times that she had confronted similar vandalism at her home, with excrement smeared on her front door along with a slogan about “betrayal of the motherland.”
Heikinen said that the intimidation had not come as a shock. “Taking into account that these ‘surprises’ have happened to other activists — it wasn’t exactly unexpected,” she said. “So I can’t say that I was very surprised or scared. And in general, excrement at your front door is not very scary at all.”