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A chief rabbi of Russia praised the government for its work in fostering the growth of the Jewish community.

Rabbi Berel Lazar of the Chabad-led Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia expressed his gratitude to First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during a meeting Wednesday at a federation community center in Moscow, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.

“New times have come for the Jewish community in Russia,” Lazar said. “We are grateful for the attention given to the community by the state and especially for a theological education of young people in Russia.”

Despite urging the government to “go on struggling with various manifestations of anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” Lazar focused primarily on the positive impact that he sees after nearly eight years under President Vladimir Putin.

“We see positive changes in the country. The society looks at us in a different way today,” he said. “Our lads become aware of it and feel themselves more comfortable in Russia than before.”

Medvedev, who is also the CEO of the state energy giant Gazprom, is seen as one of three front-runners to succeed Putin when he steps down in March due to constitutionally mandated term limits.

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