Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Russia Stands Firm in Schneerson Library Dispute

00 Jewish book. 26.02.13


Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky said that Russia has solid legal grounds to keep the Schneerson Library in its possession. The American-based Hasidic movement rejected President Putin’s proposal to place the collection of books and religious documents in the European Tolerance Centre in Moscow. The situation has only deteriorated since the dispute over the Schneerson Library first broke out in the late 1980s. The Agudas Chasidei Chabad, the umbrella organisation for the worldwide Chabad-Lubavitch movement, rejected Moscow’s compromise on offering free access to the books and manuscripts of the Schneerson collection. Actually, they’re already available at the Russian State Library. The Hasidic movement wants the entire collection in its ownership.

In January 2013, a US Federal Court in Washington DC ruled that Russia should pay 50,000 USD (1.534 million Roubles. 38,300 Euros. 33,100 UK Pounds) per day in fines unless it returns the collection. In response, President Putin suggested placing the archive in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow. He also expressed his regret over the dispute reaching the point of confrontation, adding that the library doesn’t belong to a particular Jewish community, noting, “If we allow this national asset to go to anyone, we’d open a Pandora’s Box. If Russia started to comply with such lawsuits, claims would start streaming in”.

The Schneerson Library is a collection of old Jewish books and manuscripts gathered by Rav Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn in the Russian Empire at the end of the 19th century. The Bolsheviks nationalised part of the collection in 1918 and eventually became part of the Russian State Library collection. Schneersohn managed to take the other part of the collection out of the USSR during his emigration in the 1930s. Later, the Nazis seized about 25,000 pages of manuscripts from the collection, then, the Red Army captured them and handed them over to the Russian State Military Archive. Rav Schneersohn died in 1950; he left no instructions on the disposition of the library after his death.

In August 2010, the issue came to the forefront again when Judge Royce Lamberth in a US District Court in Washington DC ruled that Russia should hand over the Schneerson archive to the American-based Hasidic movement. Two years later, the District Court issued a ruling assessing a fine against Russia for not turning over the library. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) rejected all claims made by Hasidic organisations, describing the decision of the American court “legally unfounded”. The MID also recommended that the Russian State Library to fine the Library of Congress for not returning seven books from the Schneerson collection loaned to Washington in 1994. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York cancelled plans to send 35 works by the early-20th century designer Paul Poiret to an exhibition in the Moscow Kremlin. Russia isn’t going to organise any exhibitions in the USA, either. There’s no progress in the talks over the Schneerson library, but a scandalous battle in courts is already under way.

26 February 2013

Lyubov Kuryanova

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

As I’ve noted before, you can’t sue for ownership of property that you never owned in the first place. The library was nationalised; that’s the end of the story. Remember WHY the Hasids want the books… they want to restrict access to them and hog them for themselves. Why do I dislike Hasids? All too often, they live up to the stereotype of the insular, greedy, and grasping Jew… increasing the level of anti-Semitism in the world. That’s sad… innocents suffer for their nastiness. President Putin’s right in this one… the Schneerson Library is a precious resource for ALL of us… it’s not the plaything of a narrow-minded and intransigent little sect. It’s enough to make one hurl in disgust…

By the way, Judge Royce Lamberth is a fanatic appointed by Slobberin’ Ronnie… an old Cold Warrior living in the past, but feeling his oats in having an opportunity to kick “those godless commie Rooshians” (is he one of Potapov’s pals? Perspirin’ minds wanna know…).


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Putin: We Can’t Hand Over the Schneerson Library to the USA

01 Two Jewish Books


President Vladimir Putin said that Russia couldn’t hand over the Schneerson Library to the USA. However, he said that we could display it at the European Tolerance Centre in Moscow, and make accessible to all who wish to use it. On Tuesday, Putin said at a meeting of the Ethnic Relations Council, “Unfortunately, I can only say that the discussion of this issue has reached a point of confrontation, which, in my opinion, is due to illegal decisions made in another country”. Putin said that the library originated in 19th century Russia, and part of it was nationalised shortly after the October Revolution, saying, “This is a significant part of the problem. If we allow this national asset to go to anyone, we’d open a Pandora’s Box. Almost 100 years have passed since the library was nationalised. If Russia started to comply with such lawsuits, claims would start streaming in. No one can predict how far they might go. We’re not going to deal with this. It’s impossible”.

Putin remarked that another part of the library was brought to Russia as a war trophy. He added that that he’d like to propose a solution “that’d benefit people drawn to these cultural values in the first place. We’re at the Jewish Tolerance Centre now. We could think about this idea. I’m prepared to put together an order to the government and Minkultury to display this library at the Russian Jewish Tolerance Centre. All who’re interested could be given full access to this library”.

The Schneerson Library is a collection of old Jewish books and manuscripts gathered by Rav Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn in the Russian Empire at the end of the 19th century. The Bolsheviks nationalised part of the collection in 1918 and eventually became part of the Russian State Library collection. Schneersohn managed to take the other part of the collection out of the USSR during his emigration in the 1930s. Later, the Nazis seized about 25,000 pages of manuscripts from the collection, then, the Red Army captured them and handed them over to the Russian State Military Archive. Chabad-Lubavitch has sought the ownership of the Schneerson Library since the end of the 1980s. Reports posted on 17 January 2013, said that a US Federal Court in Washington DC ordered a fine of 50,000 USD (1.52 million Roubles. 38,000 Euros. 32,800 UK Pounds) per day if Russia failed to transfer the Schneerson Library to the Chabad-Lubavitchers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs found the court order offensive.

 19 February 2013

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Let’s keep this simple. The Hasids have NEVER owned the library. NEVER. NO WAY. NO HOW. They don’t have title to it. Therefore, they can’t sue in court to “regain” property that they never owned in the first place. In any case, whether they like it or not, a country has a right to nationalise property. This was done, and in due legal order. That is, the library belongs to the Russian state, to preserve it in perpetuity as part of the Russian national patrimony. The real reason that the Hasids want the books is that they wish to restrict the usage of them only to those who agree with their oddbod notions. All decent people must oppose that. I’ll be honest… I don’t like Hasids and I don’t care for their company. I won’t harm them… or be anti-Semitic because of their noisome shenanigans. I’m much more comfortable with Modern Orthodox Jews and Conservative Jews (Jewish groups to the left of the Conservatives don’t bother me… I simply don’t agree with many of their premises, but they’re NOT a royal pain in the arse as the Hasids are). However, I agree with most of my Jewish friends… the Hasids are offensively-arrogant and off-putting in their assumptions of religious superiority over all other Jews. Such people shouldn’t be harmed, but they shouldn’t be coddled either. They belong in a corner along with Islamists, Moonies, Hare Krishnas, Mormons, Pentecostalists, JWs, and Evangelicals… all sorts who give believers a “bad name”. I have plenty of company in thinking that…


Friday, 18 January 2013

American Government Opposes Court Ruling on Jewish Archive and Russia

01 Two Jewish Books


On Thursday, a US State Department spokesman said that the US government disagreed with a federal court’s decision to impose a 50,000 USD (1.52 million Roubles. 37,500 Euros. 31,400 UK Pounds)-a-day fine on Russia for failing to comply with an earlier order to hand over religious texts to a New York-based Orthodox Jewish group. On Wednesday, a federal judge in Washington DC ordered Russia to pay a fine for every day it fails to return the Schneerson Collection of sacred Jewish books to the Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidic movement, headquartered in Brooklyn (a borough of New York City). Whilst the US government supports the group’s “assertion of ownership” of the collection, State Department spokesman Ariel Vaagen told RIA-Novosti that it doesn’t believe the ruling by Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the US District Court for the District of Columbia is “appropriate in this case. We respectfully disagree with the court’s order imposing such fines against the Russian Federation”.

Vaagen added that the US government doesn’t believe that the fine will compel Russia to hand over the Schneerson collection, which consists of thousands of books and religious documents. The Chabad-Lubavitch movement assembled the texts over two centuries prior to World War II in Belarus. Vaagen told RIA-Novosti that the USA “offered diplomatic channels to help facilitate a solution, and will continue to work towards an amicable resolution to their dispute”.

The Bolsheviks nationalised part of the Schneerson library amassed by Lubavitcher Rebbe Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson in 1918. About 25,000 pages of manuscripts fell into the hands of the Nazis; later on, the Red Army captured them, and handed them over to the Russian State Military Archive. This part of the Schneerson Library is now in the archive of the Lenin Library in Moscow. Schneerson took the remaining part out of the USSR when he emigrated in the 1930s.

Since Schneerson’s death in 1991, leaders of the Chabad movement have tried to regain possession of the library, claiming that the Soviet authorities illegally held it after the war. In 1991, a Moscow court agreed to turn over the library to Chabad, but after the USSR collapsed, the ruling was ignored. Now, the Russian government says it wants to keep the archive for future scholars. On Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) called the US court’s ruling imposing a fine “absolutely unlawful and provocative” and “fraught with the most serious consequences”. The MID also said that it’s also “ extraterritorial and at odds with international law”.

According to the Associated Press, Chabad’s legal team said that it’d strive to enforce the ruling, including targeting the Russian government’s property in the USA under the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Vaagen said the US government doesn’t believe the ruling to impose the fine is a “proper application” of the act. She directed further inquiries to the US Department of Justice, which declined to comment when reached by RIA-Novosti on Thursday. Seth Gerber, a lawyer for Chabad, declined to comment when reached by telephone Thursday afternoon, but said the movement would be releasing a statement later in the day.

 18 January 2013



Editor’s Note:

Where’s the legendary “Yiddishe kup” (“Jewish brains”… literally, “Jewish head”)? This is just red meat for anti-Semites… they’ll say, “See… those Yids are only interested in money and in using the courts to harass those that they don’t like”. Let’s be blunt… the jabronies in Brooklyn NEVER owned this collection. NEVER. NO WAY. NO HOW. That is, they’ve no legal right to sue to own it. What they want to do is to restrict the access to the library to only those whom they approve of. Other Russian sources have stated that the Russian government’s wise to all this shit… they want ALL scholars to have access to the library, not just a select few. What absolute cheek and hubris! It only goes to show you the strength of the Jewish Lobby… and I’m no anti-Semite for pointing up its existence. Rather, it saddens me… for it’ll increase hatred of Jews in certain circles, and it was all so avoidable.


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