Senior Rabbi in Russia says the ouster of Vladimir Putin would endanger the Jewish population there

Under Putin, a devout Christian, dozens of synagogues have been renovated with Russian government support and a massive Jewish museum was opened in Moscow with state funding.

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Haaretz  Alexander Boroda, head of the Chabad-affiliated Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, made the warning Friday during a talk at Moscow’s 9th annual Jewish learning event organized by Limmud FSU.

“The Jews of Russia must realize the dangers inherent in the possible collapse of the Putin government, understand the rules of the game and be aware of the limitations,” Boroda said at a sessions, according to a translation provided by Limmud FSU.

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The Moscow conference, which drew 1,400 participants, opened Friday at the state-owned Klyasma resort just outside the Russian capital.

Boroda’s Federation is among several Russian Jewish organizations that credit Putin for facilitating efforts to re-consolidate Russia’s Jewish community of 350,000 after decades of communist repression.

Chief Rabbi of Russia, in front of the main Hanukkah menorah in Red Square

Chief Rabbi of Russia, in front of the main Hanukkah menorah in Red Square

Under Putin, dozens of synagogues have been renovated with government support and a massive Jewish museum was opened in Moscow with state funding.

“In Russia, there is virtually unlimited freedom of religion and the Jewish community must ensure this situation continues,” Boroda said. “The support for religious institutions is wider than in the United States and defense of Jews against manifestations of anti-Semitism is greater than in other European countries. We do not have the privilege of losing what we have achieved and the support of the government for the community.”

The Russian delegation met with their Israeli counterparts in Netanya, Israel to honor the Jewish soldiers who served in the Red Army during World War II

The Russian delegation met with their Israeli counterparts in Netanya, Israel to honor the Jewish soldiers who served in the Red Army during World War II

All Russian Jews and especially those considering action against the Putin administration, Boroda said, “must understand the grave dangers that they take upon themselves and the potential consequences.” 

Such endorsements of Putin by Jewish leaders have exposed them to criticism by leftist Jews and Jews in Ukraine, who oppose Putin’s crackdown on civil liberties and rivals, annexation of Ukrainian land and perceived nationalism. The state of Israel did not criticize Putin’s actions in the Ukraine.

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