Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked on Friday that he is unconcerned by special counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of 13 Russians in his investigation into election interference, saying that those actors could even be Jews, or other nationalities, paid to defame Russia.
“I couldn’t care less because they do not represent the government, I could not care less. They do not represent the interests of the Russian state,” Putin told NBC News’ Megyn Kelly in an interview that aired March 9 on the network. “Maybe they are not even Russian. Maybe they are Ukrainians. Tatars. Jews. Just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know?”
The Anti-Defamation League responded to Putin's comments on Sunday in a statement from ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, saying,
“It is deeply disturbing to see the Russian president giving new life to classic anti-Semitic stereotypes that have plagued his country for hundreds of years, with a comment that sounds as if it was ripped from the pages of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
“We live in a moment when anti-Semitic violence is on the rise and words can have profound consequences, particularly when spoken by public figures or elected officials like President Putin. We hope he swiftly clarifies his words before they cause further damage to those communities he has singled out.”