Jewish 100, 2015: Vladimir Putin – Government
President of Russia
Jewish life in Russia has undeniably flourished under President Vladimir Putin, representing a major development for the former Soviet nation. On issues specifically affecting Russian Jewry, Putin works closely with Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar.
Russia has a complex – some have even said, constructive – relationship with Israel and is viewed as a “rational” actor in Syria and across the region. Putin, who has a direct line of communication with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, has not obstructed Israel’s movement in preventing the flow of weapons from Syria to Lebanon. Recently, at Israel’s request, Russia held back the delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran.
Earlier this year, Putin also called on European Jews facing rising anti-semitism to return to Russia. “They can come to us,” Putin told a delegation from the European Jewish Congress during a meeting in Moscow. “They left from the Soviet Union. Let them return.”