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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Kursk Governor Lashes Out At Jews

The Communist governor-elect of Kursk, Alexander Mikhailov, said that he and President Vladimir Putin are allies working to rid Russia of Jewish "filth," drawing an outcry Friday from Jewish leaders.

Incumbant Kursk Governor Alexander Rutskoi, whose mother is Jewish, threatened Friday to sue Mikhailov.

Mikhailov won the Kursk governorship in a second round of voting Sunday Rutskoi was struck from the ballot by a court for election campaign irregularities on the eve of the first round in October.

Mikhailov said in an interview published in Kommersant on Thursday that the Kursk elections had ramifications for all of Russia because it was a "test ground" for fighting the "All-Russian Jewish Congress."

It was not clear if Mikhailov was referring to the Russian Jewish Congress led by tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky.

Mikhailov said Rutskoi was a pointman in the organization and was backed by billionaire Boris Berezovsky, who is also of Jewish origin.

"Today the liberation of Russia of all this filth, which has piled up over 10 years, will start," Kommersant quoted Mikhailov as saying. "In this, the president and I are allies, not opponents.

"Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], by the way, is a Russian man. So am I," he said. "And Rutskoi, in case you don’t know, has a Jewish mother, Zinaida Iosifovna."

Mikhailov also said he owed his gubernatorial victory in large part to Putin, who sent his personal psychologist to assist in campaigning.

"Vladimir Vladimirovich has twice sent his personal envoy to meet me," Mikhailov was quoted as saying. "I don’t want to give you the name, but it was a woman, Putin’s personal psychologist."

A high-ranking official in the presidential administration called Mikhailov’s remarks nonsense, Interfax reported.

"It is complete nonsense, beginning with the ficticious personal psychologist of the president and ending with all the other foolishness," the source was quoted as saying.

The presidential press service declined to comment Friday.

Rutskoi said he would sue Mikhailov for igniting national hatred.

"As a man, I’m ready to beat him into a pulp, but as a public official I will sue him in court," Kommersant quoted him as saying Friday.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuga-nov gave Mikhailov a mild reprimand, saying that he should "look into the economy rather than digging up other people’s genealogies," Interfax reported.

Jewish organizations called on Putin to speak out. "We consider these statements, as well as Mikhailov’s hints about some allied relations with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in liberating Russia of Jews, a serious political provocation," the Russian Jewish Congress said in a statement.

"The authorities, the president has to speak out," said Mikhail Chlenov, president of the VAAD Jewish umbrella organization.

Chlenov said he has received numerous telephone calls from outraged Jewish activists across Russia. "He [Mikhailov] is a dense, ignorant, scaly anti-Semite, who has no idea what he is babbling about," Chlenov said. "These are the mildest terms I can think of."

Mikhailov’s campaign office in Kursk said the governor-elect and his assistants had no comment Friday.