Skip to comments.At Putin's side, an army of Jewish billionaires
Posted on 07/03/2012 2:35:22 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
When the air-conditioning broke down at the reception for the unveiling ceremony of the Red Army monument in Netanya on Monday, it didnt matter if you were a billionaire, multimillionaire or broke.
Everyone suffered the same.
In one corner sat Mikhail Fridman, the seventh-richest man in Russia, whose fortune is estimated at $15 billion by Forbes. He stayed hydrated in the sweltering heat by sipping a glass of water.
In another stood Moshe Kantor, the chemicals tycoon who Forbes said was worth $2.3b. He repeatedly removed the beads of sweat from his head with a napkin.
The two men were part of a group of two dozen or so affluent Russian-speaking businessmen who came to the ceremony where President Vladimir Putin was the guest of honor. Some, like Fridman, flew in especially from Russia. Others, like Kantor, drove from nearby Herzliya, where many businessman from the former Soviet Union including Leonid Nevzlin and Gabriel Mirilashvili, to name a few, have made their homes.
For many members of this class of ultra rich Putins arrival in the country was an opportunity for them to brush shoulders with one another and to mingle with friends and officials from the motherland. The richest man in the room filled with rich men was probably the media-shy Fridman, who declined to speak to The Jerusalem Post.
I am a private person, he said, displaying seemingly good English.
Other faces were more familiar to locals. Lev Leviev, the diamonds and real estate mogul who is a bit of anomaly in this world, was on hand. Although born in Uzbekistan, then part of the Soviet Union, he immigrated to Israel as a teenager in the 1970s and made his money in the Jewish state. Only after the markets in the former Soviet Union opened did the Israeli, whose worth was estimated at about $1.7b. earlier this year, invest extensively in natural resources and property in that part of the world.
Not everybody in the room was a billionaire. Some were worth a mere couple of hundred of million dollars.
Alexander Levin, a Ukrainian businessman who was among those who donated to build the monument, is one of latter.
The real estate developer, who last year set up the World Forum for Russian Jewry, an advocacy group based in New York, explained why he it was an important cause.
My two grandparents were killed during World War II so its very important to us, he said. We are paying just a little [in comparison to what they paid].
How much is a little? Levin said the exact sum was not important but that it was a lot of money.
Members of United Israel Appeal-Keren Hayesod, which raised the money to build the marble and concrete monument overlooking the azure Mediterranean Sea, were also tight-lipped.
We organized a group of 10 to 15 top businessmen who raised the money that helped transform this dream to reality, said Gadi Dror, the UIAs director of the eastern region. We do not go [into the] figures because they [the donors] prefer not to but it is meaningful amount.
A source later said each businessman had donated at least $100,000.
Watching the group of mega-wealthy interact, one cannot help but wonder how so many affluent businessmen in the former Soviet Union are Jewish.
German Zakharyaev, vice president of the Russian Jewish Congress, cited two main reasons for that. First, Jews are few among many.
We are a minority and as such we have to be strong [if we are] to preserve our customs, said the businessman who, as a member of the Mountain Jewish community of the eastern Caucuses, is a minority within a minority.
This is something in our commandments that we have to keep our Jewishness and be united in the Diaspora.
Second, he said, Jewish businessmen are hard workers.
We think a lot and we sleep a little, he said.
Oy vey iz mir!
Putin needs $100+ oil to pay Russia’s bills. He needed saber rattling to get it back up there.
He got what he went for.
The majority of Russian Jews supported Putin in his election. The Jewish group I worked with surveyed Jews and found that the majority felt they had more personal and economic freedom in Russia under Putin than in the past.
The fact that rich Jewish entreprenuers are backing Putin confirms the fact that Jews like Putin. Even Netanyahu is working with Putin and Gozpram on laying lines from the Mediterranean gas fields into Cyprus to bypass the untenable Turkish pipeline.
This is good for our Israeli friends.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
Unless you have kept up with affairs and understand the role Russia plays in Iran and Syria. Nuclear weapons in Iranian hands is simply not a good for Israel.
How did the non-sequitur nuclear weapons get into this discussion?
I’m commenting on Jewish rich folks getting involved with Russia and Putin. One of Georgia’s wealthiest citizens, who happens to be Jewish and good pal with Putin, is making some financial and political moves that would favor israel.
There’s the pipeline deal at the Tamar reserve with Noble Energy where we see Netanyahu playing patty-cake with Putin. In addition, about 30 percent of Israel is populated by Russian Jews. That’s got to play into Netanyahu’s political calculations.
We’re seeing geopolitical manuevers between Russia and Israel that neither you nor I understand. I just find it fascinating that all these rich Jewish folk are making some kind of move to influence Russia. For what reason, I don’t know. I do believe, however, that whatever they’re doing and for whatever reason, it’s not likely meant to harm Israel. There’s some heavy-duty chess playing going on, IMO.
I’m just sitting back, watching and speculating.
When the USSR collapsed and became Russia, much of the assets were bought up by high-ranking Communist Party members (who, for obvious reasons, were the only people with money under Communism). The old Communist elite became the new Capitalist elite.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.