World News



British Queen celebrates



The problem of combating xenophobia and anti-semitism is a pressing issue in Eastern Europe. We devoted this interview with Oleg Kozerod, Doctor of Historical Sciences, member of the European Association for Jewish Studies (Oxford), to the specified topic.


Dear Doctor Kozerod,


Q.: You are an expert in Jewish history and anti-semitism, so what is your assessment of the present situation around xenophobia and anti-semitism in Ukraine?


A.: The last report on anti-semitism in Ukraine in January/February 2011 published by experts of the Jewish Forum of Ukraine indicates a notable advance in combating anti-semitism made by our government. Six or seven Ukrainian periodicals that used an aggressive propaganda were closed or suspended publication of their ethnic slurs. Just recall what was going on in the country two years ago. The city was taken over with stalls selling anti-semitic literature.  Now there are none. The level of anti-semitism in Ukraine seems to be declining.


Q.: Do you think the existing anti-semites have reclaimed themselves in one go?


A.: Not much. However, what we see now is a general trend of decrease of this phenomenon. I am sure the trend will be soon appreciated by the US State Department and European governments. There is a real hope that Ukraine will leave the Global Top 3 countries ranked by the level of this disgraceful phenomenon.


Q.: Do you think this is due to government efforts or anti-semites have not determined yet the 'tolerable limit' amid a new political environment?


A.: Our current government has a few leaders involved in combating xenophobia and in protection of rights of national minorities for a long time, the ones who are able to make their voices heard if anti-semites assume the offensive one day.


Q.: What is your assessment of a current political situation in Ukraine?


A.: Strange as it may seem for people who grieve over the old power or who are involved in political wrangles in Ukraine, the change of power in Ukraine was a very positive event destined to greatly improve a national political system in whole.  Recall that the country was a part of the USSR that had no normal political life.  Today Ukraine has a full-fledged two-party system without a 'dummy opposition', but with extensive discussions and different approaches towards country management and hot political battles. Which post-Soviet country can boast this? I assure you, another one or two changes of power occur, and our two-party system will be just as good as in Great Britain or the US


Q.: Thank you for the interview.


A.: Thank you.