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News Brief

January 4, 2000
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Jewish observers both in Russia and in the United States are mixed about Vladimir Putin’s ascent to power as Russian president. Rabbi Zinovy Kogan, one of the leaders of Reform Judaism in Russia, said Putin has recently spoken very warmly about Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, saying Barak supports “Russia’s position over fighting terrorism in Chechnya.” But Micah Naftalin, national director of the Washington-based Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, said Putin “has risen to power on the back of a racist war which appeals to the worst xenophobic instincts of the Russians,” he said, referring to the Chechen conflict.

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