2017-12-01 18:12:00

Russian Jews insist that tsar killing not be called 'ritual killing'

Moscow, December 1, Interfax - The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) agrees with Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) that the killing of the imperial family was a symbolic act, but insists that the words "ritual killing" should not be used to refer to that event.

Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and the FJCR have been engaged in a discussion in recent days. The Jewish community was opposed to the intention of the Russian Investigative Committee to look into the theory that the killing of Russia's last tsar may have been a ritual one as well as to the circumstance that, according to Bishop Tikhon, who leads the patriarch's commission on the "Yekaterinburg remains," most members of this commission are inclined to believe the theory that the imperial family died in a ritual killing.

On Thursday, Bishop Tikhon said at a briefing that the investigators' wish to determine whether the killing of Russia's last tsar Nicholas II was a ritual one should not be regarded as a anti-Semitic gesture.

"No one has mentioned the ethnic origin or religious affiliation of the people who fired the shots," Bishop Tikhon said, adding that a "ritual reprisal" of atheist Bolsheviks is meant. Of the eight people who took part in the execution by shooting, only Yakov Yurovsky was not Russian, but he had rejected the religious views of his nation and was an atheist, he said.

"I find it important that Bishop Tikhon has found it necessary to comment on this situation and deny anti-Semitic motives in the theories of the killing of the imperial family," FJCR President Alexander Boroda told Interfax-Religion.

"It is obvious that the execution of the prisoners of the Ipatyev house was carried out by atheist Bolsheviks as a demonstrative symbolic reprisal," and it is also obvious that "today's Russia should condemn this bloody act of terror," he said.

At the same time, Boroda said "it is totally unacceptable to use in these processes the historically and ideologically 'charged' words 'ritual killing,' which have obvious connotations," Boroda said.

"The interreligious dialogue and accord that were successfully achieved in the past few years in our country are a huge achievement that needs to be treasured," he said.