Weekly News Update 
WASHINGTON, D.C. January 16, 2015


TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, NCSEJ President;
Mark B. Levin, NCSEJ Executive Director
Dear Friend,

Peace talks between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France scheduled to take place this week in Kazakhstan were delayed until the end of the month, because of the lack of progress achieved in preliminary negotiations.

As violence continues to escalate dangerously in the Donetsk region, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warned about the possibility of all-out conflict and called for emergency talks. Yesterday, eleven people were killed as rebels claimed control of the Donetsk airport.

Internal discussions continue between Western leaders, seeking a way out of the current diplomatic impasse with Russia. I would like to highlight an op-ed by Ambassador Steven Pifer who argues that Russia is interested in creating a frozen conflict in Ukraine, and urges the West to persuade Kremlin "that sanctions will stay until there is a genuine change in Moscow's approach."

While analysts suggest that President Vladimir Putin's calculations vis-�-vis Ukraine may change as Russia's economic crisis erodes his domestic support, the latest opinion poll shows that the majority of Russians still support President Putin. The poll reveals that one of the major reasons for such support is the fact that Russians do not see any other politician capable of replacing the president.

Meanwhile, because of current tensions in relations with the West, President Putin will not attend a commemoration ceremony in Poland marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi Germany's Auschwitz death camp. It is unclear whether he will go to similar commemoration events in the Czech Republic, where opposition to his attendance is growing. Russia is planning its own celebrations in May to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany.

Monday is the annual national holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For those who don't know, Rev. King was a major supporter of the Soviet Jewry movement. For excerpts from Rev. King's 1966 address to the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry please visit


Mark B. Levin

Executive Director

Please visit  
for NCSEJ's Weekly News Update.

Founded in 1971, NCSEJ represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union. 
Phone: 202-898-2500 
NCSEJ is a beneficiary of The Jewish Federations of North America and the National Federation/Agency Alliance through its network of Federations. 
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