UPDATE: Denis Pushilin, leader of Donetsk’s pro-Russian “temporary government,” released a statement denying any involvement between those distributing the leaflets and his organization.
“[F]irst of all, it is signed as ‘people’s governor Denis Pushilin,’ and I never referred to myself as such and nobody called me like that first,” he told Fox News. “Secondly the stamp that is there, it is bigger in size meaning simply it has been done in a Photoshop. And third, if you read the text you will see that it’s relatively badly written.”
Since taking over portions of the government in Ukraine, pro-Russian forces are increasingly imposing their will on the neighboring country. Reports indicate that in the city of Donetsk, which Russia is targeting as its next conquest, anti-Semitic behavior is reaching unconscionable levels.
According to news emerging from the region this week, Jews in Donetsk are now being ordered to register with Russian-allied militants. They are reportedly being targeted as they leave traditional Jewish locations, including the local synagogue, and handed flyers requiring them to provide a comprehensive list of their possessions and pay a registration fee. Refusal to comply, Israeli media reports indicate, will result in deportation and confiscation of property.
“ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles,” the leaflet reportedly states, along with a demand for a $50 fee.
The documents being distributed are apparently affiliated with Denis Pushilin, a pro-Russian activist who claims to be in charge of the city’s “temporary government.”
While he publicly rejected the requirements therein, he conceded the leaflets originated from an organization he heads.
Jews in the city have apparently been sharing the outrageous story with outside sources, including Israeli resident Emanuel Shechter. He went public with an account of the events he said he received from a number of friends in the area.
“They told me that masked men were waiting for Jewish people after the Passover eve prayer, handed them the flyer and told them to obey its instructions,” he recalled.
According to the propaganda, Jews are being generally targeted for the community’s history of supporting Ukrainian independence during the conclusion of World War II. One resident pointed out the obvious similarities between the atrocities toward Jews during that war and the current targeting of her community in Ukraine.
“We don’t know if these notifications were distributed by pro-Russian activists or someone else, but it’s serious that it exists,” said Olga Reznikova.
She went on to compare the language to “the fascists of 1941.”
While Ukrainian forces are engaged in a battle to retain control of the city, Russian occupiers are making progress. News of this troubling development indicates what is at stake in the beleaguered nation.
Photo Credit: German National Archive (Creative Commons)