Russian legislators have decided to toughen up anti-hate laws in reaction to a knife attack in a synagogue. The proposals will mean longer sentences for those who carry out such crimes and promote racism. It comes as the 20-year-old accused of stabbing worshippers at the synagogue made his first appearance in court. Alexander Koptsev previously said he was jealous of Jews because of their better standard of living. He later tried to retract what he had said, adding his main motivation was his “desire to die”.
The knife attack in Moscow on Wednesday was captured on security cameras. Koptsev allegedly stabbed and injured eight people before being wrestled to the ground by a Rabbi and his son. Jewish leaders believe the attack was not an isolated incident, but was instead related to a new wave of racism. They accuse hardline Russian nationalist politicians of stirring up hatred. People of African and Roma origin have also been the target of attacks recently.