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Ukraine’s chief rabbi sounds alarm over Jewish tycoon’s effigy

Moshe Reuvan Azman urges authorities to quickly find and punish men who perpetrated anti-Semitic stunt at Kyiv’s main synagogue during Sukkot

An effigy of Igor Kolomoisky at the entrance to the Brodsky Synagogue in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 14, 2019. (Courtesy of Eduard Dolinsky)
An effigy of Igor Kolomoisky at the entrance to the Brodsky Synagogue in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 14, 2019. (Courtesy of Eduard Dolinsky)

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s chief rabbi urged authorities Friday to quickly find and punish men who left a red-paint splattered effigy of Jewish tycoon Igor Kolomoisky on the steps of Kyiv’s main synagogue.

Earlier this week, several men wearing fatigues and face masks left the life-size effigy of Kolomoisky, a powerful oligarch with links to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Video footage published by Ukraine’s chief rabbi, Moshe Reuvan Azman, on Facebook shows the young men throwing Nazi salutes and pouring red paint on the effigy.

Azman said the men had imitated Kolomoisky’s murder, calling the stunt an “extremely dangerous incident” that had taken place during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

На этой неделе в самом центре Киева произошел крайне опасный инцидент во время проведения радостного праздника Суккот. Группа молодых людей в одежде камуфляжной расцветки и в балаклавах бросила на ступени Центральной синагоги Бродского залитое красной краской чучело с фотографией бизнесмена Игоря Коломойского, имитируя, тем самым его убийство. При этом, молодчики бесцеремонно и вызывающе сопровождали свои действия характерными нацистскими приветствиями.Данные действия четко подтверждаются видеозаписями с камер наблюдения, расположенными вокруг синагоги.На сегодняшний день по этому факту в полиции было открыто уголовное дела.Достойна высшей похвалы успешная работа СБУ и Нацполиции, которые быстро вышли на след и арестовали киевлянина, подозреваемого в осквернении памятников жертвам Холокоста в Николаевской области. Вместе с тем, до сих пор не расследованы акты вандализма на еврейских кладбищах, а также инцидент со слежкой и установкой подслушивающих устройств в помещении нашей синагоги. Не названы и не наказаны государственные служащие, которые санкционировали и установили "прослушку" в доме молитвы.Мы находимся в постоянном контакте с международными организациями, которые ведут мониторинг проявлений антисемитизма по всему миру. Я обращаюсь в правоохранительные органы с требованием как можно скорее найти и привлечь к ответственности участников и заказчиков данной антисемитской провокации.

Posted by Chief rabbi of Ukraine – Головний Рабин України on Friday, October 18, 2019

He said police had opened a criminal case but stressed that the men should be found quickly.

“I demand that law enforcement agencies find and prosecute those who participated in and ordered this anti-Semitic provocation as soon as possible,” he said in a statement on Facebook.

On Wednesday, the Israeli ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Lion, denounced the incident, saying: “Ukraine has to do more to fight anti-Semitism, if not, violence will spread from effigies to human beings.”

Kolomoisky is president of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine.

Ukrainian-Israeli-Swiss oligarch Igor Kolomoisky seen in a 2015 video. (screen capture: YouTube/Radio Svoboda)

He returned to Ukraine earlier this year after actor and comedian Zelensky, who is also of Jewish origin, won a landslide victory in an April presidential election.

Kolomoisky has been mired in a legal battle with Ukrainian authorities over control of the country’s largest lender, PrivatBank.

Zelensky’s election as president was hailed as a sign of tolerance in a country with a long history of anti-Semitism.

But anti-Semitic acts still take place in the ex-Soviet country seen by some of having a lax attitude towards neo-Nazi groups.

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