Russia lists former Moscow chief rabbi as foreign agent

Russian Justice Ministry accuses Conference of European Rabbis President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt of spreading false information about decisions and policies enacted by the country's public authorities

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the acting president of the Conference of European Rabbis, was declared a foreign agent by the Russian Justice Ministry over the weekend.
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Goldschmidt also served as Moscow’s chief rabbi for 30 years and left after refusing to support Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
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Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt
In an official document distributed by the Russian Justice Ministry, it was claimed that Goldschmidt disseminated false information about decisions and policies made by Russian public authorities, and opposed the country’s so-called "special military operation" in Ukraine.
The last time the Russian government declared a rabbi an enemy of the state was during the autocratic rule of Joseph Stalin who ordered the arrest of then-Moscow chief rabbi Shmarya Yehuda Leib Medalia, who was later executed.
In response, Goldschmidt said, "I’m proud to be on the right side of history and to join the list of people opposing this terrible war that has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands. For 30 years, I nurtured and protected Moscow’s Jewish community, and no decision will prevent me from continuing to do so.”
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ולדימיר פוטין
ולדימיר פוטין
Russian President Vladimir Putin
(Photo: AP)
“Russia has turned for the worse,” he added. “This is the first time since the beginning of the war that a religious leader has been declared a foreign agent and defined by the Russian government as a hostile threat.”
“It’s very likely that this will mean the start of a new antisemitic campaign against the Jewish community in Russia. I’ve previously called on the local Jewish community to leave the country before it's too late."
Rabbi Goldschmidt had served as the Russian capital's chief rabbi for 33 years and left the country shortly after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, after refusing to express his support for the war.
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