Russian Prime Minister Putin: Israel Is, in Fact, a Special State to Us
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                  Euroasian Jewish News

                  Russian Prime Minister Putin: Israel Is, in Fact, a Special State to Us

                  During the meeting. Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Secretary General Professor Michael Chlenov (Right); Russian Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin (left).

                  Russian Prime Minister Putin: Israel Is, in Fact, a Special State to Us


                  Vladimir Putin exchanged his views with the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Secretary General Professor Michael Chlenov, who representedthe Federal Jewish National Cultural Autonomy, at a meeting with representatives of major Russian faiths, ethnic, cultural and public organizations, which took place in Moscow, hosted by the All-Russia Popular Front.

                  The meeting was opened by Putin`s report, and he continued to lead the meeting. Putin's report was followed by the hierarchs of major Russian confessions: the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Cyril, Chairman of Council of Muftis of Russia Ravil Gainutdin, Chairman of the Central Spiritual Directorate of Muslims in Russia Talgat Tajuddin, Russia's Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar, and Permanent Representative of the Buddhist Traditional Sangha in Russia, Sanger Lama Andrey Balzhirov.

                  EAJC Secretary General supported the speeches, stressing the importance for ongoing collaboration between Russia's governmental bodies and its ethnic and religious communities. In his speech, Chlenov raised two issues. The first and most important issue for World Jewry was the upcoming debate on the unilateral declaration of Palestinian state resolution at UN session in September, and the position of the Russian Federation on this vote. Second - the status of national-cultural associations and the responsibility of State for the multinational and multifaith nature of the Russian Federation.

                  First and foremost, M. Chlenov stressed that the Jewish minority in Russia, the more than 1.5 million Russian-speaking population in Israel, their numerous relatives, colleagues, friends, tourists in Russia, and the World Jewry in its entirety are waiting for a coherent Russian position: "When will Russia  how its great power in the Middle East process?" Chlenov asked, stressing that it could curb unilateral action, which, if taken, would undermine all the fundamental legal and judicial decisions regarding the Middle East peace process that are based on an Oslo agreement and several UN resolutions.

                  In his response Putin declared: “Russia is the successor to the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had been recognizing Palestine for a long time. The issue is resolved.” To Chlenov`s objection that this was in 1988, and now the issue is being resolved over again, Putin offered to discuss the topic in the Foreign Ministry of Russia: "This is with the Foreign Ministry to discuss; it is a pure formality thing that is not even related to the current situation ."

                  In concluding his remark, Putin said: "Israel is, in fact, a special state to us. It is practically a Russian-speaking country. Israel is one of the few foreign countries that can be called Russian-speaking. It's obvious that more than half of the population speaks Russian."

                  The second question raised by Chlenov, shared with the President of the Federal National Cultural Autonomy and International Union of German culture Henry Martens, was answered immediately after the meeting. The official information of the Russian Government, as reported by the RBC news agency, purveyed the intention of the Russian government to provide tax incentives to the federal national cultural autonomies.