… On 7 November 2002, a group of Helsinki Commission members and US congressmen wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing their “growing concern over the pattern of denial or cancellation of visas for foreign religious workers of minority faiths.” Such “"artificial impediments imposed by [Russian] federal authorities that prevent foreign religious workers from taking up their clerical responsibilities in the Russian Federation ultimately undermine the rights of individuals from these faiths to practice their religion.”
But for Russian officials and media these foreign religious workers are part of a foreign “religious expansion” that represents a threat to Russia’s “national security”.
Soon after his election in January 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin sounded a warning against the “cultural-religious expansion of neighbouring* states into Russian territory”, claiming they constituted a threat to national interests and security, and called for a “counteraction to the negative influence of foreign religious organisations and missionaries.”
* States that neighbor Russia have large Catholic, Muslim, Protestant and Buddhist populations.
Chabad's 'chief rabbi' of Russia Berel Lazar has still not commented on the Rabbi Goldschmidt deportation.