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Former Refuseniks and Activists Convene in Moscow

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) hosted an historic and poignant convention this past December. Entitled "The Jews of Silence-Jews of Triumph! Soviet Jewry: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," the convention was scheduled to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the symposium "Jewish Culture in the USSR: Its State and Prospects" which was broken up by the KGB in 1976.

Among the participants in the 2001 symposium were former Soviet "refuseniks" and prisoners of Zion, including Yuli Edelstein who is now Israel's Deputy Absorption Minister and a leader of the Yisrael Ba-Aliya party of Russian Jews; advocates of the Jewish movement in the USSR and the Russian Federation, well-known statesmen who defended the rights of Soviet Jews to emigrate, members of the Russian government, and former KGB and OVIR MVC (Visa department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs) officials.

Aimed at drawing international attention to the role of the "refuseniks" and Jewish movement activists in the opening of emigration and democratic processes in the USSR, the convention also established a research Center of the Jewish Movement in the USSR and laid the groundwork for an organizational committee for the creation of a World Congress of Russian Jewry.

"Our goal is to pay tribute to those who did no much for the formation of democratic regimes in the countries of the former Soviet Union," FJCR's Executive Director Dr. Engel said. "But it is also a first step to uniting Russian Jewry."

Source: NEWS - C.I.S.

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