Anti-Semites applauding Chernomyrdins remarks

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Chernomyrdin, now president of Gazprom, Russia's gas monopoly, responded last week to a high-profile media war between Boris Berezovsky and Russian Jewish Congress President Vladimir Goussinsky, by saying, "It comes out that two Jews have clashed, and now the whole country has to watch this farce."

In the publication Zavtra, Makashov was quoted as saying, "At last, Chernomyrdin's instinctive peasant feelings have come out, and he openly delivered a rebuke to the Jewish rich." Zavtra is known for publishing denials of the Holocaust.

After Chernomyrdin made his remark, Russia's leading business daily Kommersant wrote that it was an indication of a looming "anti-Semitic epidemic" in advance of the parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for December.

Moscow's chief rabbi, Pinchas Goldschmidt, said the Jewish community is worried not only about the remark made by Chernomyrdin, who had not previously made public anti-Semitic comments, but by the fact that the former prime minister has not retracted them.