Why Russian Chief Rabbi Stands by Vladimir Putin | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Why Russian Chief Rabbi Stands by Vladimir Putin

Lazar’s work, his Russia boosterism and his ties to the Kremlin — he is sometimes called “Putin’s rabbi” — has helped Chabad’s Russian branch eclipse all the Jewish groups vying to reshape the country’s community of 250,000 Jews. Now Lazar heads a vast network that comprises dozens of employees and plentiful volunteers working in hundreds of Jewish institutions: schools, synagogues, community centers and kosher shops.

But Lazar and Putin’s relationship seems to go deeper than political expediency. In 2012, Lazar led the Russian leader on a tour of Jerusalem’s Western Wall. And last year Putin made Lazar a member of Russia’s prestigious Merit to the Fatherland order, the country’s highest civilian decoration and one that is rarely conferred on people who were not born in Russia. (Lazar became a Russian citizen in 2000.)

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