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Vulgar. Distasteful. Primitive. Ugly. These are just a few of the adjectives Russian speakers spat out in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn on August 12, the day after the premiere of Lifetime’s new reality show, “Russian Dolls.”

But for all their feelings about the negative light in which the show cast them, some were thankful for a small saving grace: The show barely mentioned Jews.

Even when one of the co-stars, Diana, is shown cold-heartedly ditching her Spanish boyfriend the audience is led to believe it is because her mother wants her to marry a Russian boy.

The show never states it explicitly, but Diana’s sparkly Magen David sends a clear message that “Russian” in this case is essentially a euphemism for “Jewish.”

Though the Jewish element of the show remained largely hidden, Russian speakers were still alarmed at their portrayal.

“American people don’t like us as it is,” said Mila Kalgan, 49, wearing a bathing suit and sitting on a low deck chair on the beach, inches from the Atlantic Ocean.

“They think all Russians are criminals,” agreed Mila P., 55, Kalgan’s friend who declined to give her full surname. “They think half of us are in jail and the other half should be in jail.”


Read more on the Forward.