(JTA) – An adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin denied floating an antisemitic conspiracy theory, saying an op-ed he wrote was interpreted incorrectly.
Reports about Sergei Glazyev’s op-ed said he had suggested that Vlofymyr Zelensky, the newly elected president of Ukraine, who is Jewish, is planning to replace ethnic Russians with Jews from Israel.
The reports on the op-ed, which was published Monday in the Zavtra news website, prompted an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson to call the op-ed “conspiratorial and anti-Semitic.”
But Glazyev on Wednesday rejected the accusation, saying he was the victim of a politically motivated misreading and that his op-ed did not mention Jews.
In the op-ed, Glazyev wrote that Zelensky, along with President Donald Trump and “the far-right forces in Israel,” could orchestrate “a massive move” in which the Russian population in eastern Ukraine would be cleared out and replaced “by the inhabitants of the Promised Land tired of the permanent war in the Middle East.”
Some of Galyev’s supporters, including at Zavtra, suggested that he was referring to Palestinians. Israel’s far right has often spoken of “transferring” Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza, but usually to Arab countries.
Moscow supports an insurgency among ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and seized control of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Last month, Putin offered Russian passports to residents of eastern Ukraine. Trump has hesitated to criticize publicly Russian moves in the region, although his administration has supplied anti-tank missiles to Kiev, criticize Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian waters and criticize Moscow’s harassment of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.