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Yeltsin Gave Russia Real Religious Freedom

Russian Berel Lazar greets the President Boris
Yeltsin at the opening of the Memorial Synagogue
at Poklonnaya Gora in Moscow. September 1998

Moscow, Russia — The Chief of Russia Rabbi Berel Lazar sent his condolences to the widow and daughters of the first Russian president Boris Yeltsin who died on Monday.

‘Your husband and father has won a special place in the memory of Russian people of all faith and ethnicities as the first president of the independent and free Russia and as a man who laid the foundations of the civil society in our country,’ the rabbi said.

The Russian Jewish community ‘is and will be especially grateful to Boris Yeltsin,’ the rabbi added.

‘We will never forget how determinedly he struggled to preserve Russia historically unique as a united multiethnic and multiconfessional state as well as how he gave Russia real religious freedom,’ he said.

According to Lazar, Boris Yeltsin as politician and a public leader has ever strongly opposed chauvinism and anti-Semitism, an ‘in was not by chance that during his presidency in Russia in dozens of cities Jewish communities were established and first Jewish schools and kindergartens were opened.’