Ashkenazi Khazar Jews Migrating to Ukraine or an Annual Tradition of Pilgrims? Another Anti-Semitic Conspiracy around Ukraine

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Reading Time: 4 minutes


On September 25-28th, Georgian-language Facebook accounts (1,2,3) published videos depicting Jews arriving in Ukraine. According to the accounts, Ukraine was emptied of Ukrainians, while “Ashkenazi Khazar Jews” began to immigrate to Ukraine en masse to build the “Heavenly Jerusalem” by 2030-2050. The video is claimed to prove that the Jews urged Ukrainians and Russians to slaughter each other so that they could occupy the territory of Ukraine.

The video depicting Jews arriving in Ukraine is circulated with a false description and reinforces a conspiracy. Instead of the mass emigration of Jews to Ukraine, the video, in fact, shows the Jewish coming to the city of Uman to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. This tradition is annual; the holiday lasts for several days, after which the pilgrims leave the city. The idea of ​​“heavenly Jerusalem” in Judaism has nothing to do with the construction of a new state on the territory of Ukraine and is part of the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

The video was published by the news agency Strana.UA on September 25th, 2022. The video is part of an article concerning the visit of Jews to the grave of Rabbi Nachman (also known as Nachman of Breslov or Nachman of Uman) in Uman, Ukraine. According to the article, Jewish pilgrims came to the city to celebrate the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah. The video also contains an interview of one of the pilgrims. The man tells Strana.UA that it was not easy to get to Ukraine this year, but despite the difficulty of the road and the danger of bombing the city, he still decided to preserve the tradition. According to the article, more than 20,000 pilgrims came to the city to attend this year’s celebration, half of their usual number.

Notably, on August 21st, 2012, the right to work of Strana.UA agency was suspended by the decree of the President of Ukraine, while the editor-in-chief of the publication, Igor Guzhva, who has lived in Austria since 2018, was subject to sanctions. According to Stopfake, a Ukrainian fact-checking organization, the publication often relied solely on Kremlin media and reproduced Russian propaganda messages. Despite the restriction, the website of the news agency is still available at the new address –

The main facts mentioned in the article of Strana.UA coincide with the information spread by other media outlets. For example, Radio Liberty writes that 23,000 pilgrims from different countries attended this year’s Hashanah celebration. According to some reports, the tradition of coming to the city of Uman for the New Year celebration has existed since 1811, that is, since the death of Rabbi Nachman, an important figure of Hasidic Judaism.

In past years, the holiday was held on a relatively large scale and with fewer restrictions. In 2015, about 30,000 pilgrims visited Uman. In 2020, the governments of Israel and Ukraine advised pilgrims to refrain from coming to Ukraine due to the coronavirus pandemic, although some of them still managed to get to Uman and celebrate the New Year.

Pilgrims praying by the lake near the grave of Rabbi Nachman. 2015 Photo:

As for the concept of the “Heavenly Jerusalem” (also known as “New Jerusalem”), such an idea indeed exists in Judaism, dating back to around the third century AD. It originally meant the unification of earthly and heavenly Jerusalems. Over the centuries, the idea has acquired several different meanings. According to Hasidism, every Jew can contribute to the construction of the “heavenly Jerusalem” by serving God. For some Jews, the unification of the heavenly and earthly Jerusalem was the birth of the State of Israel and the victory in the 1967 “Six Day War”.

The concept has also become a trigger for the emergence of a conspiracy theory. The theory is linked to Khazars – the people of semi-nomadic Turkic origin. According to the conspiracy, most of the Jews are descendants of the Khazars, and they intend to build a new state in Ukraine, i.e. the “heavenly Jerusalem”.

The conspiracy is based on the British writer Arthur Kessler’s book “The Thirteenth Volume”, in which the author presented the thesis that the Ashkenazi Jews are the descendants of the Khazars who accepted Judaism. Although this thesis is not shared in scientific circles, it is actively used to spread anti-Semitic conspiracies, which were especially active after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Anti-Semitic conspiracies have been fact-checked by the “Myth Detector” in the past as well. For details, see our articles:

The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Topic: Religion
Violation: Conspiracy
Country: Israel, Ukraine

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