Russian Jewish Congress (RJC) President Yuri Kanner in a conversation with Russian media called the letter of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims (DUM) to the Investigative Committee of Russia asking to check Roman Silantiev for anti-Semitism in a conversation with Russian media called “a very well-written modern text” – he conducted a review of the play “Finiste Yasny Sokol” , because of which a criminal case was opened to justify terrorism against the creators of the production. The RJC official thanked the DUM for their support.
On the afternoon of May 25, the Russian Jewish Congress reported that it had asked the investigative committee to verify Silantyev’s statement for anti-Semitism. On May 5, in a commentary for the Lomovka telegram channel, the specialist referred to the review of the play Finist the Clear Falcon, directed by Yevgenia Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk, arguing that the production justifies terrorism.
“These things are unacceptable, especially when theatrical awards are given for it, when it is promoted, even when people, excuse me, of Jewish nationality do it. This is not the first time that I have observed that the Jews actively support the Wahhabis. It’s like upsetting the Russians,” he said.
The RJC noted that Silantiev’s comment “contains a great deal of anti-Semitic bias” and “gives an idea of the expert’s negative attitude towards Jews”. According to the organization, the expert spreads domestic prejudices that incite ethnic hatred. Moreover, according to Congress, Silantiev’s statements form a negative attitude towards Jews in society, which means that his expertise in the case of director Yevgenia Berkovich cannot be objective.
Later, RBC reported that the request of the Russian Jewish Congress was supported by the Spiritual Administration of Muslims. The organization has also sent a corresponding request to the UK.
“I realized that there was a group, a Muslim, Islamic community, that considered it very important for them to isolate themselves from this. It is very important, because they protect the honor of their uniform and their honor, and they don’t want everyone to think that all Muslims brought some kind of reward to Silantyev, so they immediately sat down and wrote this document,” Yuri Kanner said.
The RJC President added that such support means a lot to him. He considers it very important, because a public figure, a philanthropist, such organizations “like ours or like a nun” only have a good reputation.
“Therefore, they immediately, fighting for their good name, made this statement – a very well-written, modern text,” Kanner said.
He also spoke of attribution Silantiev Medal of the Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia. “It often happens: the innocent were punished, the uninvolved were rewarded. I didn’t make this up,” the RJC chief said.
Furthermore, Kanner explained to Russian media the reasons behind the appeal of the Russian Jewish Congress to the UK.
“We asked the authorities in charge of the investigation to give an assessment, and we received information from the prosecution that they had accepted our request. <…> We monitor manifestations of anti-Semitism 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Silantiev entered these manifestations of anti-Semitism with a kind of anti-Semitic chatter. And suddenly it got superimposed on the fact that the same Silantyev did the exam. It seemed to us very interesting, entertaining, at least, and we did a qualitative examination of his words, he was recognized as an anti-Semite by a serious and respected expert. We informed law enforcement, as they should,” he said.
The RJC president noted that this is not the first time the organization has spoken out against manifestations of anti-Semitism. He recalled that in October 2022, the Congress address to the Investigative Committee and the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office with a request for a legal assessment of the article by former Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Alexei Pavlov, in which he called the Lubavitch Hasidim “sectarians”.
“Then Patrushev fired him and apologized for him, that was a few months ago. It’s our regular activity, it’s not something special. I think those, those structures that investigate on the event related to theatrical figures, will take it into account. I think our statement will be taken into account that the expert is a fake, drawn, not specifically suitable for this, as the Jews would say in this situation: not kosher . <…> He may be a wonderful expert, but he is not specifically suited to the Jewish case,” Kanner added.
Roman Silantiev, commenting on Russian media’s request to check his lyrics for anti-Semitism, said it “causes only laughter”. According to the religious scholar, the RJC and SAM are “degrading, losing influence and thus trying to draw attention to themselves”.
Silantiev also claims that the Spiritual Council of Muslims “openly supports the Palestinians, brings them together for anti-Israeli events”, and the organization’s chairman, Mufti Ravil Gainutdin, “has been repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism”. “It poses no threat to me and only elicits laughter,” he said.
Berkovich and Petriychuk were arrested on May 4 and arrested the following day. A complaint was filed against them for justifying terrorism (Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) because of the play Finist Yasny Sokol. It is based on true stories of women who married radical Islamists. In 2022, the production won the Golden Mask for Best Playwright and Best Costume Design.
As Fontanka wrote, an examination of Roman Silantiev’s play found in Finist “the ideology of Islamism and jihadism”, as well as “signs of the ideology of radical feminism and the struggle against androcentric social structure of Russia”.
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