Putin aligned with anti-Semites in attacking democracy, Senate Democrats say


WASHINGTON (JTA) — An in-depth report by Senate Democratic staffers on Russian meddling in elections in the West includes several instances when the initiatives included alliances with anti-Semites.

“The Congressional Research Service reports that many of the far-right European parties linked to the Kremlin are ‘anti-establishment and anti-EU, and they often share some combination of extreme nationalism; a commitment to ‘law and order’ and traditional family values; and anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, or anti-Islamic sentiments,’” said the 200-page report released Wednesday by the Democratic staff on the Foreign Relations Committee.

The report describes conferences across Europe for the far right as being sponsored by figures and organizations linked to the Kremlin, and notes that an official of Hungary’s anti-Semitic Jobbik Party was charged with spying for Russia. It also notes that the National Front in France, which has its roots in an anti-Semitic movement, took a loan from a Russian bank believed to have Kremlin ties.

Also noted in the report, which covers 20 years since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, is at least one instance in which Kremlin-aligned actors charged rivals in Ukraine with associations with anti-Semites.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., who is Jewish and the top Democrat on the committee, said the report’s release is timely because he believes President Donald Trump is ignoring the threat to democratic institutions that the Russian president is sowing throughout the West, including the United States. Trump’s presidential campaign and transition team are under federal investigation into allegations of collusion with Russia.

“As the extent of Russia’s obvious meddling in the 2016 U.S. election continues to be investigated, it is imperative that the American people better understand the true scope and scale of Putin’s pattern of undermining democracy in Russia and across Europe,” Cardin said.

Trump has said his campaign never colluded with Russia and has called the investigation a hoax. He has counseled tamping down the adversarial U.S.-Russia relationship so the two nations can better cooperate in combating terrorism.

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