Jewish groups around the world have condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's suggestion that the 2016 U.S. presidential election may have been manipulated by Jews in Russia, the Washington Post website reports today (March 12, 2018).
Putin's remarks came during an interview with NBC News on March 10, in which he speculated that nearly anyone other than the Russian government could have been behind a program to disrupt the election. U.S. intelligence agencies believe Putin ordered the effort to undermine faith in the U.S. election and help elect Donald Trump as president.
"Maybe they're not even Russians," Putin said, referring to who might have been behind the election interference. "Maybe they're Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews -- just with Russian citizenship," Putin added. Putin is a strong follower of the Greek Orthodox Christian faith and a firm supporter of Russian Patriarch Kirill, spiritual head of Russia's predominant Orthodox religion.
His remarks about Jews -- which suggested that a Russian Jew was not really a Russian -- prompted particular outrage among those who remember Russia's centuries-long history of anti-Semitism and Jewish purges. Some groups compared the statement to anti-Jewish myths that helped inspire the Holocaust.