Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, accompanied by Chairman of Federation of Russia's Jewish Organizations Alexander Boroda, right, and Russia's Chief Rabbi, Berel Lazar, left, visits the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. Second left back is Skolkovo Foundation Head Viktor Vekselberg. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is suggesting that a vast collection of Jewish books and documents that is the focus of a dispute between Moscow and Washington be given a permanent home in the Russian capital’s new Jewish Museum.
A U.S. judge in January ordered that Russia be fined $50,000 a day until it turns over the so-called Schneerson Collection to Chabad Lubavitch, a Hasidic movement within Orthodox Judaism headquartered in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Russia claims the collection is state property. Putin on Tuesday criticized the ruling, saying “discussion of this problem has taken on elements of confrontation,” Russian news agencies reported. The collection is now held at the state library and military archives.
Putin said he would consider ordering the collection be placed at the Jewish museum, which opened last year.