Russian journalist vilified as ‘Jewish Pig’ for critical coverage

Prominent Russian opposition journalist Alexei Venediktov, the Jewish editor of the “Echo of Moscow” radio station in Moscow, among many others, had to deal with vandalism as a result of his critical war coverage.

Alexei Venediktov, who is Jewish, was the editor of the now-banned Echo of Moscow radio station in Moscow. The station was pulled off the air on March 1, 2022, by a federal authority, and was permanently closed two days later for the critical coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the government rather describes with the term “special military operation”.

On Thursday, March 24, Venediktov found a pig’s head and a Ukraine coat of arms sticker with the phrase “Judensau” written across it outside his apartment in Moscow. “Judensau” is a German slur, meaning “Jewish Pig”. It began as a 13th century Christian folk art, depicting Jews in an obscene contact with pigs – animals that are widely known as being excluded from the Jewish Kosher diet.

“Why not just fix a six-pointed star to my door?” Venediktov stated on his Telegram channel, claiming that he was shocked that such an antisemitic provocation could occur in the “country that defeated fascism.”

Since Russia’s increasing censorship of media, other prominent opposition journalists have also been targeted by vandals. On Friday in Saint Petersburg, Daria Heikenen from the opposition “Mayak Movement” found human waste pushed under her door and “Danger! A traitor to the homeland lives here!” scribbled across her front door. On the same day, Kristina Vorotnikova, who worked with jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, also awoke to vandalism: she was labelled a “traitor”, and feces was smeared on her door.

“Taking into account that these ‘surprises’ have happened to other activists – it wasn’t exactly unexpected,” Heikenen told The Moscow Times. “I can’t say that I was very surprised or scared. And in general, manure at your front door is not very scary at all.”