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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sale of 'Mein Kampf' Stirs Fears of Hatred

Moscow's book vendors are selling a Russian-language version of Hitler's "Mein Kampf", pitting the issue of press freedom against fears of inciting ethnic hatred.


"Mein Kampf", Hitler's anti-Semitic treatise written in prison in 1923, laid out his plan's for world domination and became the bible for the Nazi party.


The black-bound book engraved with gold Latin lettering is published by the firm "T-Oko" in Ashkhabad, the capital of Turkmenistan. It is the only former Soviet republic that has not established diplomatic relations with Israel.


Another edition of the book went on sale in St. Petersburg several months ago, leading to a law suit against the publisher, Alexei Andreyev.


The city of St. Petersburg charged him with violating Article 74 of Russia's criminal code which prohibits planned activities that incite racial or ethnic violence.


The court upheld the right to distribute the book and this week the Russian Supreme Court agreed to hear the case by June 15.


Natalya Vyshnyakova, spokeswoman for the Russia's public prosecutor's office, said, "We consider publishing and distributing such books a crime".


Vladimir Solodov, a lawyer with the Ministry of Press and Information, said the book falls under the jurisdiction of Russia's press law which forbids the mass media from publishing texts inciting violence or ethnic strife.


The final ruling on the case will set a precedent, since the right to publish books has never been tested in Russian courts previously.


The books, which have only become available in Moscow over the last few weeks, have drawn much attention from passersby.


"Very many people stop and look at it", Andrei, a book vender who refused to give his last name, said standing outside Lubyanka, the former KGB headquarters.


"It's exotic and prestigious", he said. "The only thing that is stopping people from buying it is the price".


The book is being sold for 5, 000 to 8, 000 rubles (about $6 to $9. 50).


One vendor is capitalizing on the book's appeal by charging interested viewers 10 rubles to thumb through the pages.


Another vendor said that he had not heard anything about the book stirring controversy, despite its disturbing content.


"It is scary to read", said vendor Vadim Chernyakov. "There are many unpleasant things, but it is still necessary to read it".


The Turkmenistan publisher, C. N. Labonov, addressed the controversy in a forward to the book.


"The reason for the present publishers to publish the book are simple. Information that used to be available for some 'official use' only now should be available to all", he wrote.


"The ideas of fascism are not so harmless", he added, "A lot of our homemade national patriots are now using the word 'fascism' more and more".