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Acting President Vladimir Putin sent a letter to the US Congressmen

March 15, 2000

This letter is Mr Putin's reply to the message sent to him by 92 members of the House of Representatives and 98 senators of the US Congress on problems of anti-Semitism and religious intolerance [in Russia].

The letter reads, in part, that in Russia, which, incidentally, proclaimed the protection of rights and interests of all citizens irrespective of their nationality and religious belief as one of its main constitutional principles, any manifestations of anti-Semitism are regarded as impermissible behaviour, which cannot be tolerated in any civilised society.

The letter cites examples of measures taken by the Russian leadership to counter political and religious extremism and expresses readiness to cooperate on these issues on a bilateral basis and in international organisations.

Mr Putin emphasised his hope that within the framework of such cooperation the US lawmakers would resolutely denounce the actions of certain countries’ leaders who, while condoning the former Nazis’ [crimes], harass the anti-Nazi resistance veterans. This is especially shocking now that the whole world is preparing to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the victory over Nazism for which Russians and Americans fought side by side as comrades-in-arms.

On Mr Putin’s instructions, the Russian Ambassador to Washington passed the letter over to the US Congressmen.

March 15, 2000