Interfax reports on the "reason" behing the banning of Berel Lazar's rabbinic rival, Moscow's Chief Rabbi Pinkhas Goldschmidt, from Russia by the Putin government:
Moscow, September 28, Interfax - The Russian Foreign Ministry is investigating the motives behind a decision to cancel an entry-visa issued to Moscow Choral Synagogue Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, ministry spokesman Mikhail Troyansky told Interfax on Wednesday.
"At the moment, we are investigating the circumstances surrounding the annulment of Rabbi Goldschmidt's visa", Troyansky said.
A Moscow source told Interfax that Russia recently adopted new visa regulations for foreign clergymen.
The new rules allow clergymen from abroad to come to Russia for religious activities only at the invitation of an officially registered centralized religious organization, he said.
The source said that Goldschmidt is reported to have been invited to Russia by a business group.
Sources in Moscow told Interfax that Goldschmidt, who arrived at Moscow's Domodedovo airport from Israel on September 27, was not allowed to enter Russia and was forced to return to Israel.
Putin only recognizes Chabad and its front group the Federation of Jewish Communities (FJC). That would appear to mean that Rabbi Goldschmidt, Moscow's long-serving Chief Rabbi and a pro-democracy opponent of Putin and Lazar, would only be allowed back into Russia if he is officially invited by Lazar's Chabad-controlled FJC.
Putin is an anti-democratic thug. Lazar and Chabad are his lap dogs. So far, the Jewish media is silent.
UPDATE: Miriam Shaviv has an interesting take on this development here.