Anti-Semitism And the Russian Elections

Regarding the front-page article "How Reds Would Rule Russia," May 30: The Monitor's coverage of the impending Russian presidential elections shows the unpredictability of the future. But whoever wins, certain things are already clear.

Because of the deterioration of economic and social conditions and a rise in nationalism and xenophobia, Jews and other minorities better watch their step.

Historically, during times of economic and political instability in the region, scapegoating has become a way of life. And while there is no longer state-sanctioned anti-Semitism, acts of "unofficial" anti-Semitism occur on an almost daily basis.

For Jews to leave the former Soviet Union and be granted refugee status, the process can take more than two years. They must prove they have their parents' permission to depart (even if applicants are in their 60s); they must also provide countless documentation and arrange travel to and from the Moscow processing site, no matter how far or costly.

By late June, we'll know the outcome of the first round of the elections. But either way, for Jews and other minorities, the future's frighteningly clear. We in the United States must not be so blind as to think the story ends on June 17. It's just the beginning.

Norman D. Tilles

New York

President, The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published in the Monitor and the Monitor's on-line edition and none acknowledged. All letters are subject to editing. Letters should be addressed to "Readers Write" and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@CSPS.COM.

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