Putin makes joke about Jews and money during Crimea visit
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Putin makes joke about Jews and money during Crimea visit

Russian president causes controversy after using antisemitic trope about Jews and money while visiting the annexed territory

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a joke invoking the antisemitic trope about Jews and money during a visit to Crimea.

During a visit with local residents and religious leaders on Monday, a local Jewish leader made a comment about financial difficulties.

“So the Jews have problems with finances!” Putin replied. “Only such a thing could happen in Crimea.”

He also said “todah rabah,” Hebrew for “thank you very much,” to the bearded, black-hatted Jewish man.

The exchange was first reported in English in a tweet by Washington Post Moscow correspondent Anie Ferris-Rotman, who included a video.

Also Monday in Crimea, Putin proposed inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to the opening of a synagogue in Sevastopol after offering to invite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to the opening of a Crimean mosque.

Putin also said that the Jewish community in Russia was making a large contribution to his country’s development.

“I hope that Jews in Crimea will play the same positive role,” he said. “Judaism is also among our traditional denominations, traditional religions, and I am very pleased that religious life is developing here in Crimea.”

Some 10,000 Jews live in Crimea, and the community has been deeply supportive of Russian annexation of the peninsula.

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