Senior Member of Russian Jewish Community Reportedly Shot in Moscow

Sergei L. Ustinov, who heads Moscow's Jewish history museum and is a member of the Russian Jewish Congress, survives what some call an 'assassination attempt.'

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Sergei L. Ustinov, a senior Russian Jewish figure, was reportedly shot and seriously wounded Thursday in Moscow, the Russian Moskovsky Komsomolets reported, in an attack which some say could be motived by anti-Semitism.

Ustinov, 62, is the head of the Museum of the Jews’ History in Russia and is also a senior member of the Russian Jewish Congress. He was hospitalized Thursday in serious condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the neck. He reportedly underwent surgery and is current recuperating.

Yuri Kanner, who is the president of the Russian Jewish Congress, spoke with local media and said the attempted assassination took place at the entrance to the museum, which Ustinov first established in 2011.

"I do not know the motives [for this attack], but it could be tied to either his businesses or his social activity," Kanner told a local television channel. He said the congress would reach out to Russian President Vladimir Putin to urge an investigation into the event.

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"It is too early to talk about the reasons for this outrageous crime, but the nature of the attack and its proximity to the Jewish museum could indicate a [anti-Semitic] motive," the congress' website speculated Thursday.

According to JTA, the group called on Russian Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsov to “give special attention to the investigation of the attack on one of the leading figures of the Jewish community in Russia” and to “adequately qualify this crime, if it turns out to have been committed on the grounds of ethnic hatred.”

In addition to his community work, Ustinov served as a reported for Moskovsky Komsomolets and has written a number of popular detective novels. He is also involved in real-estate.