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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Duma Censure for Makashov

The State Duma on Friday refused to censure Communist deputy Albert Makashov for making anti-Semitic remarks and instead slammed the mass media for playing up the dangers of "Russian fascism."

The Communist-dominated State Duma also rapped the media for what it called its negative coverage of efforts by Russia's left-leaning government to win sorely needed loans from the International Monetary Fund.

Makashov attracted controversy last year when he called for Jews to be rounded up and jailed, and has since made numerous anti-Semitic speeches in public.

A total of 104 deputies voted to condemn Makashov's remarks while 133 rejected the motion, which would also have required the Prosecutor General's Office to examine the case.

The Duma has failed in the past to censure Makashov, much to the dismay of liberals who say the chamber is sending the wrong signal to ultranationalist groups such as Alexander Barkashov's Russian National Unity, which uses Nazi-style salutes and a modified Nazi swastika symbol.

President Boris Yeltsin, expressing concern about disruption in the run-up to parliamentary elections due this year, has ordered the security services to crack down on groups that incite racial and religious hatred.

On Friday, the Duma backed by a vote of 256-41 a second motion entitled "On the origins of political extremism" that accused the media of inventing the issue to justify a political clampdown.

Talk of rising "fascism" was aimed at diverting Russians' attention from their social and economic problems, the Duma said.