Putin adviser denies anti-Semitic theory about Ukraine’s Jewish president
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Putin adviser denies anti-Semitic theory about Ukraine’s Jewish president

An op-ed by Sergei Glazyev appeared to float conspiracy theory that Zelensky wants to replace ethnic Russians with Jews from Israel in eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian comedian and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky reacts after the announcement of the first exit poll results in the second round of Ukraine's presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev on April 21, 2019. (Sergei Gapon/AFP)
Ukrainian comedian and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky reacts after the announcement of the first exit poll results in the second round of Ukraine's presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev on April 21, 2019. (Sergei Gapon/AFP)

An adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin denied floating an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, saying an op-ed he wrote was interpreted incorrectly.

Reports about Sergei Glazyev’s op-ed said he had suggested that Volodymyr Zelensky, the newly elected president of Ukraine, who is Jewish, is planning to replace ethnic Russians with Jews from Israel.

The reports on the op-ed, which was published Monday in the Zavtra news website, prompted an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson to call the op-ed “conspiratorial and anti-Semitic.”

But Glazyev on Wednesday rejected the accusation, saying he was the victim of a politically motivated misreading and that his op-ed did not mention Jews.

In the op-ed, Glazyev wrote that Zelensky, along with President Donald Trump and “the far-right forces in Israel,” could orchestrate “a massive move” in which the Russian population in eastern Ukraine would be cleared out and replaced “by the inhabitants of the Promised Land tired of the permanent war in the Middle East.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, speaks at a meeting on economic issues in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. From left, presidential adviser Sergei Glazyev, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

Some of Galyev’s supporters, including at Zavtra, suggested that he was referring to Palestinians. Israel’s far right has often spoken of “transferring” Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza, but usually to Arab countries.

Moscow supports an insurgency among ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and seized control of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Last month, Putin offered Russian passports to residents of eastern Ukraine. Trump has hesitated to criticize publicly Russian moves in the region, although his administration has supplied anti-tank missiles to Kiev, criticize Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian waters and criticize Moscow’s harassment of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

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