A 102-year-old Red Army veteran lights a candle to commemorate the massacre of thousands of Jews in Sevastopol during the Holocaust as official representatives of Russian Jewry use the occasion to demonstrate that their alliance with the all-powerful ruler in the Kremlin is of benefit to a million co-religionists. How did this come about? On March 18, the Crimean Peninsula was welcomed back into the warm embrace of Mother Russia. Moscow had been upset at the shift toward Europe by its western neighbor and sent in troops to occupy its former territory at the southern tip of Ukraine. This example of Russian high-handedness has not been recognized by the vast majority of UN member states.

The commemoration was an ideal opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin to project an image of a protector of minority rights.

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