Parley of the Irrevocable Bigotry with Mikhail Varkovitsky
My great-uncle, Mikhail Varkovitsky, seemed very pleased and honored to share his ideas and past experiences upon such an important topic to combat the alarming trends with regard to anti-Semitism and racial discrimination in Russia. Speaking as someone who lived and worked in the Soviet Union 25 years ago, I am well aware that the decade since the fall of the Soviet Union has seen many positive developments - the rebuilding of Russia's Jewish community and improvement in Russia's anti-discrimination laws are among them. For this reason the persistence and even the increase in incidents of discrimination and harassment against specific groups on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity is especially discouraging.
As Americans, we believe that it is our duty to join with people of conviction around the world who are prepared to work towards the elimination of racism and discrimination.
This is a historic commitment for us, one rooted deeply in our national experience and one that requires direct engagement to achieve. And at the highest levels, it is a commitment that our two nations share, both President Putin and President Bush have repeatedly asserted the commitment of our respective nations to realizing full equality and opportunity for all, regardless of race, color or creed. The challenge is to achieve these goals in practice.
America has long struggled to realize its motto: "E Pluribus Unum," meaning one of many. At times we have fallen short, but we have never stopped trying to reach this ideal. The people of Russia have fought their own battles against racism. Yet the fight against hate and division is not over. It is a tragedy that a nation that fought so valiantly to defeat Nazi fascism now sees the emergence of neo-fascist groups among...