Putin insists historic collection of Jewish writings will stay in Russia

Putin insists historic collection of Jewish writings will stay in Russia
President Vladimir Putin visiting the Russian Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre. Photograph: Ria Novosti

20 February 2013

President Vladimir Putin yesterday restated Russia’s ownership of the controversial Schneerson Collection, a library of Jewish books and documents that are subject to a legal claim from the Chabad-Lubavitch group, adherents of the Hasidic branch of Orthodox Judaism.

During yesterday’s visit to Moscow’s recently opened Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre, Putin said: “The Schneerson Collection belongs to Russia.” He stressed the risk of setting a precedent for the return of items seized from the Nazis by the Red Army during World War Two and suggested that the museum would be a good home for the collection.

In January this year, a Washington court fined the Russian government $50,000 for not surrendering the collection to the New York-based Chabad Lubavitch group following a 2010 ruling in their favour.