President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lauder, friends, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to Moscow.
We met already in 2003. The World Jewish Congress is a very well-known and influential international non-governmental organisation.
As far as I know, the organisation has existed for 80 years now and you do a lot to provide religious and secular support to Jews all around the world.
As you know, we here in Russia have very close and regular contacts with not only Russian Jewish organisations, but European ones too.
Russia’s Jewish organisations make a big contribution to our internal stabilisation, and we are very grateful to our friends for this.
Judaism is one of Russia’s four traditional religions and, like the other traditional religions, receives constant support from the authorities.
I know the Passover holiday begins soon, on the 22nd, if I recall rightly, and so I would like to begin our conversation today by congratulating you on this upcoming holiday.
President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder: Thank you very much. I am delighted to be here.
As you know, the World Jewish Congress represents a hundred communities throughout the world and is the umbrella organisation for all Jewish organisations.
Sometimes, we forget to say thank you, but now, I would like to say thank you, thank you for what you have done here for Jewish people. When I first met with you, there was still a great deal of anti-Semitism: there was a great deal of attacks on synagogues, there was officially some anti-Semitism, cemeteries were being defaced.
And we spoke about that, and you told me that you would change this. And you did, and today, there is a minimum of anti-Semitism. I understand that Jewish people live here very, very well, and our synagogues, we have received back synagogues that were taken away.
You have helped, you have made what is probably one of the best museums for Jewish people in the world. I’m also on the board of the museum and I must say, I send everyone to see it, and say, this is a perfect museum.
And I understand from Rabbi Berl Lazar that Jewish life here is getting better and better and stronger, and at a time when in Europe there is a great deal of anti-Semitism.
And again, it’s a pleasure to be here to see what you have done. Also in the case of Israel.