Sunday, April 09, 2006

Russia asking questions

Haaretz: A Russian parliamentary committee is to initiate a review of why the country's chief rabbi received his Russian citizenship through a simplified procedure. Rabbi Berel Lazar, who became a Russian citizen in 2000, was born in Milan and, according to the Interfax news agency, is a citizen of three countries in addition to Russia - Israel, Italy and the United States. The Russian State Duma has instructed the parliamentary committee to request information from the country's Interior Ministry and the Federal Migration Service on "legal grounds for granting Russian citizenship to U.S. citizen Berel Lazar in a simplified procedure," according to Interfax. The motion to launch the investigation was initiated by Boris Vinogradov, a Rodina faction member in the State Duma. Vinogradov is thought to have close ties with officials in Russian President Vladimir Putin's circle. Last year, 20 members of the Rodina faction signed a petition calling for Jewish religious rituals to be made illegal. Lazar went to Russia in the 1980s as an emissary of the Lubavitch Hasidic movement, and is considered the most prominent Jewish figure in the country...........
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