European Jewish Congress President Pierre Besnainou accused his rival in next week’s election for EJC president of being tainted by ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.Moshe Kantor, president of the Russian Jewish Congress, is an oligarch and considered a close ally of the Russian president. He is challenging Besnainou for the EJC presidency in what is considered an extremely close race.”What kind of legitimacy will someone who says nothing when Putin meets Hamas and Hezbollah leaders in Moscow have when he asks the E.U. to sanction these organizations?” Besnainou said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.Kantor claims not to have particularly close ties to the Putin government. In an interview last week with JTA, he said, “Seriously, I have no relations with Mr. Putin,” before adding, “To be efficient in Russia, you should have reliable, systematic communication with the Russian administration.”
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