A young man who reportedly had a swastika tattooed on his chest walked into a synagogue and repeatedly stabbed a prominent Jewish leader today in the latest outbreak of antisemitism in Russia.
Leopold Kaimovsky, the 52-year-old director of the Jewish Cultural Center at Moscow's Choral Synagogue, was in grave condition after surgery at a Moscow hospital, a doctor said.
The alleged attacker, identified as Nikita Krivchun, 20, was detained by guards at the synagogue and turned over to police. The Interfax news agency described him as a student at a Moscow law school.
Alexei Lazarevich, chief of intensive care at Moscow's emergency hospital No. 36, said Kaimovsky had been stabbed in the knee, thigh, shoulder, face and stomach. "He lost a lot of blood," the doctor said, adding that the stomach wound was especially serious.
Russia's chief rabbi, Adolf Shayevich, told the Associated Press that he saw a reverse swastika tattooed on the youth's chest. Russia has recently seen a wave of attacks against synagogues, in bomb blasts in May near the Choral Synagogue and another Moscow synagogue. Neo-Nazi groups have denounced Jews at public rallies, and Communist lawmaker Albert Makashov and other legislators have made virulent antisemitic remarks..
"This attack is the result of the general situation when such people as Makashov . . . are not punished. They should sit next to this young man on the bench in the court," Shayevich said.
"Prosecutors do not see all the antisemitic slogans as a crime, and these antisemitic slogans are everywhere," he added. Tamara Griboyedova, a spokeswoman for the synagogue, said Jewish leaders would have to consider improving their security.
"What else can we do?" she said.