Moscow's Chief Rabbi – an opponent of Chabad, Putin's pro-Stalin, anti-democracy movement, and Chabad's self-appointed 'chief rabbi' of Russia Berel Lazar – was barred from returning to Russia after a trip to Israel by Russian border guards. The AP and Ha'aretz report:
The chief rabbi of Moscow's main synagogue said Russian border guards had denied him entry to the country on Tuesday when he returned from a trip to Israel.
Rabbi Pinkhas Goldschmidt, speaking on Ekho Moskvy radio, urged the authorities to review his case and let him return to Russia.
He said the border guards told him that his Russian visa had been annulled, but gave no further explanation. He flew back to Israel after being denied entry.
Goldschmidt, chief rabbi at the Moscow Choral Synagogue, said he hoped the incident was a misunderstanding.
Adolf Shayevich, Russia's chief rabbi, said that his Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations and Associations asked the Foreign Ministry for an explanation of what happened to Goldschmidt but had not yet received an answer.
"It was unexpected for all of us, since he never has had any problems," Shayevich told Ekho Moskvy.
It seems clear – Putin bans a political opponent and does a favor for Chabad at the same time. And the Jewish media? If past examples are any indication of the future, expect near silence. What you do read will probably contain a quote from Lazar supporting Goldschmidt. Lazar may even 'intercede' with the Foreign Ministry. Then, if Goldschmidt is allowed back in, Lazar can claim to have helped. And if not, Lazar did his 'best.' But Chabad's long campaign to crush rabbis not under its direct control will not be reported in any detail. Too many uncomfortable threats come with printing uncomfortable news.
UPDATE: Miriam Shaviv has Ma'ariv's take – which largely agrees with mine – here.