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Mayor of Moscow Seeking Advice on Refugees from Jewish Agency

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The mayor of Moscow, Gavriel Papov, has requested the Jewish Agency’s help in learning how to cope with an influx of refugees and migrants, the agency’s spokesman announced Wednesday.

The request was brought to Jerusalem by Soviet Jewish leader Mikhail Chlenov, who heads a five-person delegation to the Jewish Agency Assembly from the Vaad, the federation of Jewish organizations in the Soviet Union.

Moscow expects tens of thousands of ethnic Russians living in other Soviet republics to seek repatriation to Russia during the next few years, due to rising social and political tensions between Russians and native ethnic groups in various republics.

Papov wants to send municipal officials to Israel for training by the Jewish Agency. He also wants agency officials to come to Moscow to share their extensive experience in immigrant absorption, one of the agency’s primary responsibilities.

Simcha Dinitz, chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, said the agency would give this request sympathetic consideration, and would coordinate its response with the government.

Moscow has only low-level consular relations with Israel and has shunned diplomatic contacts on political matters. But there have been several non-governmental contacts recently, including cultural and scientific exchanges.

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