(JNS.org) Russian authorities are deporting Rabbi Asher Krichevsky, the Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in the southern Siberian city of Omsk since 2001.
According to reports, Krichevsky has also recently been subjected to fines and warnings regarding unhygienic food storage practices at a kosher grocery store operating under his authority.
Local news organizations reported that the reason for the rabbi's deportation is an accusation of spying for Israel, but Russian authorities have not confirmed that claim.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is known for having a positive relationship with the country’s Jewish community, and particularly with Chabad. Putin personally appointed Rabbi Berel Lazar as the chief Chabad rabbi of Russia. Earlier this summer, Lazar and other Chabad rabbis participated in a state-sponsored Holocaust memorial for the murdered Jews of Crimea, the same region in Ukraine that was recently annexed by Russia.
In a separate incident in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk—the scene of an ongoing conflict between pro-Ukrainians, pro-Russian rebels, and the Russian government—a Jewish man was killed on Friday. George (Eliyahu) Zilberbord, 47, was shot when retaliating against rebels who were trying to rob his neighbors’ house, the Ukrainian Jewish Committee and the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine said, according to the Jerusalem Post.