Bintel Blog

From Russia, With No Love

By Gal Beckerman

Well, there go my plans of drinking vodka in St. Petersburg this month with Natan Sharansky and the rest of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors…The quasi-governmental body in charge of Jewish immigration to Israel announced yesterday that its plans to hold one of its board meetings in the canal-lined city (Peter the Great’s window to the West) has been canceled only three-weeks before it was to take place. The problem, according to Jewish Agency officials anonymously quoted in various news sources, is that the Russians suddenly balked at the idea of an international Jewish meeting. They said the Agency only has legal status as a local NGO.

But I suspected, and Anshel Pfeffer of Haaretz is the first to really confirm, that the real problem goes by the name of Leonid Nevzlin.

I profiled Nevzlin three months ago. He’s the former partner of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the head of Yukos Oil who is now sitting in jail for various financial crimes. The consensus seems to be, however, that his biggest transgression is having posed a political challenge to Vladimir Putin. While Khodorkovsky became a target of Putin’s attempt to reclaim governmental power after the tumultuous ‘90s, Nevzlin got out just in time. After he escaped the country in 2003 and emigrated to Israel he was charged for ordering contract killings of Yukos’ enemies (for which he was tried and found guilty in absentia in 2008). In Israel, Nevzlin has rebranded himself, becoming a prominent Israeli philanthropist through his foundation, NADAV, and its many charitable projects to promote with Nevzlin calls “Jewish peoplehood.”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Nevzlin, Sharansky, St. Petersburg




Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.