Russian President Vladimir Putin
Photo: Reuters

Putin donates month's salary to Jewish museum

Russian president promises to donate one month's salary to construction of Russian Jewish Museum of Tolerance, saying, 'This illustrates the strength of our multi-ethnic and multi-faith country'

Russian President Vladimir Putin promised on Tuesday to contribute one month's salary to the construction of a Jewish museum of tolerance.


Russia's chief rabbi, Berl Lazar, told Putin it was time to implement long-delayed plans by the Jewish community to set up the museum.


"That's a good idea and, as the first step, I will contribute one monthly salary to the museum's construction fund," Putin told the rabbi during a meeting in the Kremlin leader's Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow.


"I think many would want to help the project aimed at promoting peace and harmony among faiths. This illustrates the strength of our multi-ethnic and multi-faith country."


Kremlin could not immediately say how much Putin earned a month. According to media reports the figure was equivalent to about 70,000 roubles ($2,700).


Russian authorities and rights campaigners have been alarmed by the growth of racial and ethnic tensions in Russia in the past few years. Dozens of people have been killed or injured in attacks by racists across Russia.


As opposed to the Soviet days, when the Jewish community was the target of a semi-official campaign, today's Russian racists target dark-skinned people, mostly immigrants from ex-Soviet republics seeking jobs.


Berl Lazar told Putin the "Russian Jewish Museum - Museum of Tolerance" should serve as a warning against a return to the past. "There are people today who want to re-write history," he said. "The museum will help to show what it was in reality."


After several waves of Jewish emigration sanctioned by Soviet authorities and then accelerated by Russia's instability in the first years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Jewish community has shrunk to around one million people.


Many Jews have become prominent figures in Russian science, culture, medicine and education.


פרסום ראשון: 06.06.07, 11:07
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