1999

HIAS

HIAS continues to advocate for immigration issues on Capitol Hill, working to defeat restrictive legislation. HIAS supports the granting of more resources to the INS in order to enable it to reduce a backlog of over a million requests for naturalization. HIAS helps resettle more than 500 refugees fleeing ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

RUSSIA and the FORMER SOVIET UNION

The United Jewish Communities of Ukraine is founded as an umbrella organization for Ukraine’s nearly 300,000 Jews. Three prominent Ukrainian Jewish leaders set up an alternative organization, the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine. In Russia, Chabad Lubavitch establishes a new umbrella organization, Federation of Jewish Communities, as an alternative to the existing Russian Jewish Congress.

Over a three-week period in September, a series of bombings in Moscow, Dagestan and Volgodonsk kill nearly 300 people. The bombings are assumed to be the work of Chechen separatists. Chechen rebels invade Dagestan. In retaliation, Russia reopens its war with Chechnya. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin becomes acting president of Russia on December 31, when Boris Yeltsin resigns.

U.S./WORLD

NATO bombs Yugoslavia to prevent it from carrying out “ethnic cleansing” of Muslims in Kosovo.
 

STATISTICS

  • Jewish emigrants from the FSU: 72,372
  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to US: 6,344
  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to Israel: 43,885

Looking Back

A bomb explodes near Moscow’s Choral Synagogue. The director of the Jewish Cultural Center is stabbed by an extremist. Neo-Nazis vandalize a Jewish school in Ryazan. Jewish cemeteries in Nizhni Novgorod and other cities are vandalized. In Kaunas, the mayor accuses a “Jewish mafia” of controlling the city. In Minsk, a court throws out a libel suit against the publisher of a book that includes materials from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

There are an estimated 200 new extremist, nationalist groups in Russia. In January, 150 members of the paramilitary organization Russian National Unity march in Moscow, sporting black uniforms and swastika-like insignia.