Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, invited the Chief Rabbi of Russia and Chabad Shliach to Moscow Berel Lazar and the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities Alexander Barada for a Chanukah meeting, during which he sent his greetings to the Jewish community of Russia in honor of the holiday.
The conversation went as follows:
Putin: Dear friends, first of all, I want to congratulate you and the entire Jewish community in Russia on the holiday – Hanukkah. We agreed to meet, talk on current issues. So I am very glad to see you.
Lazar: It is very encouraging that we meet when we celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah. This holiday symbolizes the victory of faith over atheism, light over darkness, when the Hellenic kingdom wanted to destroy everything that is important for us: our religion, values and morals. But there were a few people who were ready to fight, and G-d performed a miracle, proving that faith and spirit is stronger than any army. The oil, which was lit with enough to burn for one day, burned for eight days.
Today, unfortunately, in different countries, we see how people try again to destroy everything sacred to us: the family values and religious values. We are very grateful to you personally for what you do for religion and your respect for values, the most important aspects of our religion.
The days of Hanukkah are for us a time when we can celebrate what is important for us, openly. The fact that Hanukkah menorah is lit in the central squares in Russia – this is the real miracle.
Thank you very much for all that you do. We will try to do everything in our power to be of help.
Putin: Thank you.
Our people and multicultural and multi-religious. Every part of our great nation has its own characteristics, its own unique culture and their own faith. But at the same time, what unites us always stays in our hearts. This is what makes us a united people, capable of solving the many problems which we are facing.
Once again, I congratulate you and wish you all the best.