Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's director for international relations, wrote in a letter to Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Yakovlev Chaika: "Born in London, I have always acknowledged the role of the Red Army on the Eastern Front in preventing a Nazi invasion of Great Britain. Thereby, your people's sacrifice contributed to the survival of British Jews from destruction in the Holocaust – only 50 kilometers away on the European continent.
"I am presently in Moscow for an international conference on 'The Lessons of Victory in the Second World War/The Great Patriotic War – Seventy Years Later.' Together with colleagues from the Russian Holocaust Center and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial of Israel, we were horrified to discover an exhibition in a hotel gift shop – a chess-set featuring the Red Army led by Joseph Stalin lined up with the Nazi Wehrmacht led by Adolf Hitler – placing them on an equal level."
Dr. Samuels added that "alongside this swastika-bedecked abomination lay the victory ribbon of Russian veterans and, behind it, a shelf of 'Matryoshka' dolls of Orthodox Jewish figures displaying anti-Semitic stereotypes."
Samuels said he had learned that "the Moscow region producer and distributor of these 'souvenirs' – indeed now prohibited by the Russian Federal law against Nazi imagery signed by President Putin this month – serves principally gift shops in Moscow tourist hotels, reportedly Holiday Inn and Hilton chains. It is mainly tourists who may pay 27,000 roubles (about $590) for such products."
The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged the prosecutor-general to "confiscate all such products in view of their offense to history and their encouragement to today's neo-Nazi activists and Skinhead youth" and concluded that "legal measures must also be taken against the producers and distributors."