Jul 21, 2021
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Is Perm a Chabad Bridgehead in Russia?

“Permians against Chabad” – stated in the material a month ago. Permians for the most part have always opposed the construction of a synagogue “Chabad Lubavich” or “Jewish Center” under the auspices of the Hasidim in their city.

Perm has long been liked by the Chabad people. The story begins in the early 2000s, when Yuri Trutnev was the governor of the then Perm region, and not the region, as it is now. At this time, a certain rabbi Zalman Daich appeared in the city. Chabadniki gained more powerful development in the region during the time of the governor Oleg Chirkunov, known, among other things, that at one time as a senator he was the only one who spoke in the Federation Council against the text of the national anthem – poems by Sergei Mikhalkov. And then – “Perm Cultural Revolution”, “new culture” with all kinds of “innovations”, ugly “installations” and “Perm Museum of Contemporary Art PERMM” in cooperation with the famous “figure” of the “new culture” Marat Gelman. They say that thanks to the help of the chief Russian rabbi-Chabadnik Berl Lazar, the influence of the local Perm sect on the current regional government became especially noticeable at that time, and at the same time, talks began about the construction of a Chabad center in Perm. Under the next governor, Viktor Basargin, the influence of the Hasidim increased even more. Since 2016, pickets and rallies have been held against the construction of the synagogue, but then they stopped, because at some point the city authorities simply stopped coordinating them. Well, the next governor, from 2017 to January 2020, Maksim Reshetnikov, I think, does not need an introduction; he is now worthily continuing the work of another liberal Maksim Oreshkin as Minister of Economic Development of the country. They say that he, Reshetnikov, did not stand on ceremony, and gave the command to the then mayor of Perm Samoilov to resolve the issue both with the allocation of land and with the issuance of a permit for the construction of a synagogue to the sect of the Lubavitch Hasidim.

As he recalled in this material, in April 2019, the Perm district court recognized the public figure Roman Yushkov and the manager of the HOA Dmitry Razzhivinavinovym in inciting hatred and enmity for … the announcement of a public hearing on the issue of granting permission for the construction of a synagogue of the Hasidic organization ChaBaD Lyubavich “. Although at the trial it followed from the testimony of witnesses that the attitude of Chabad towards non-Jews was fascist. It turns out, in accordance with the court’s decision, the announcement of public hearings on the construction of the Chabad Lubavich synagogue incites hatred towards an organization preaching intolerance towards non-Jews? Nonsense. For the sake of completeness, in addition to the Perm district court, other subjects who participated in this case should be mentioned. Yushkov and Razzhivin were brought to justice with the participation of the Dzerzhinsky department of the Perm police, the local prosecutor’s office and the Perm Center for Countering Extremism. Again the painfully famous Center “E”!

But the struggle of the inhabitants of Perm, who did not understand why their Russian city needed a Jewish center or a Chabad synagogue, continued. Later, in August 2019, public hearings were held. As reported at the time, most of the city’s residents spoke out against the construction of a synagogue of the Jewish sect “Chabad Lubavich”

And there seemed to be an encouraging message from a month ago. The Perm authorities at that time did not issue a permit for the construction of the Jewish Center. “Jewish Center” is another name for the “Chabad Lubavich” synagogue. When the people of Chabad met a sharp rejection of the Chabad synagogue from the Permians, to soften the perception they began to say “Jewish Community Center”, and a little later they began to add “charitable”. But first of all, the “center” is a synagogue, and already some infrastructure is attached to it, including a commercial one – an assembly hall, a hall with exercise equipment, a kosher restaurant. At the end of his last article, he noted that independent observers, based on unofficial information, asserted that the current city leadership and the new mayor, Aleksey Demkin, were faced with the fact that the project grossly violated the requirements of the City Planning Code. A plot of municipal land was provided by the previous head of the city for free as a “charity object”, however, they say that in reality, Beit HaBaD does not imply charity, analysis of the documents showed that the purpose of the object is cult and partly commercial. The leadership of Perm, in particular the mayor Alexei Demkin, found itself in a difficult position and, in the long term, under the threat of being held accountable for violating the law. However, as I especially noted last time, there were reasons to believe that this hitch was temporary – powerful hidden forces would continue to put pressure on the city and regional authorities. “Let’s see what will be more significant for the Permian authorities – the opinion of the Permians and the norms of the law or the behind-the-scenes games of the Lubavich Hasidim?” – I concluded last time.

The behind-the-scenes games turned out to be stronger than the Law and the opinions of residents.

Recently, on July 8, the Perm mayor’s office still allowed the construction of the Jewish Charitable Center, the building is planned to be built on Engels Street, 25. In the near future, the “community” will begin to prepare a site for construction on the land plot previously provided to it for these purposes, the deadline is also called object: in about 2–2.5 years.

It should be noted that the current governor of the Perm Territory Dmitry Makhonin, who in 2016 ran for the State Duma from the Yabloko party (did not become a deputy, of course), did not begin to understand violations of the law, despite numerous official statements and requests addressed to him on the part of social activists. As a result, he gave the go-ahead for the construction of the Jewish Center. Yes, the Perm people are unlucky … and with the governors too, not a single principled one, everyone is so malleable to backstage games …

Public figure Roman Yushkov in a conversation with the journalist noted: “From the project itself it is very clear that this will be a synagogue that will fully serve the interests of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community“ Chabad Lubavich ”… to drive Perm schoolchildren? Meanwhile, the land was allocated free of charge by the city administration specifically for the “charity object”, so the whole situation smells very bad from the point of view of both legal and criminal … It is in this center, and not in some random premises such as the Perm puppet theater, as before , extravagant Jewish rituals will take place … For example, on Yom Kippur the rite of “kaparot” will be organized, that is, the sacrifice of roosters with a slow ritual release of blood from them. And on Purim, there will be ritual gallows with a hanged Haman doll, embodying all the enemies of the Jewish people? Will Jewish kids be given cut-off human ears? Probably, the mayor Demkin will be invited to celebrate, and the governor Dmitry Makhonin “…

Interestingly, “roosters” and “cookies in the form of cut off human ears” – what is it like? Where are the Perm structures of the “Center” E “” of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor’s Office, and other law enforcement agencies? Why don’t they see this as a potential violation of the law? In practice, on the contrary, as mentioned above, these structures do everything in order to bring to justice those who pay attention to this.

I will continue the topic. For now, I will just say that in this perspective, Perm leads to vague analogies with the Ukrainian Dnieper (Dnipropetrovsk), and the figure of Kolomoisky in this regard, whose patrimony is the Dnipropetrovsk region. There, in Ukraine, there is also the character Shmuel Kaminetsky – the chief rabbi of the city of Dnipro and the Dnipropetrovsk region, a bright representative of Lubavitcher Hasidism (Chabad), closely connected with Kolomoisky, with everyone who emanates from here. The list of interesting people, including Russian ones, does not end there. I mentioned this two years ago in the article “Oi-vey, or Where is Chabad leading?” There is Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky, here is Rabbi Zalman Daich … So, isn’t Perm in Russia for certain global forces a kind of Dnepropetrovsk in Ukraine? An interesting “foothold” of Hasidism turns out. And let’s not forget that Berl Lazar in Russia is, to put it mildly, a proactive representative of Lubavitcher Hasidism.

Andrey Soshenko

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