The JTA reports:
A chief rabbi of Russia came out in support of Vladimir Putin as prime minister.
Rabbi Berel Lazar of the Chabad-led Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia called the possibility a “great present” in an interview with the Interfax news service.
Anointed presidential successor Dmitry Medvedev went on state television Tuesday to ask Putin to head his government following elections in March.
“When president, Vladimir Putin has showed that he is equal to any task,” Lazar told Interfax. “If Putin considers the scenario offered by Dmitry Medvedev realistic, it will surely be a great present if the government is headed by the most efficient statesmen in Russia.”
Lazar's remarks stand in contrast to a statement he made Monday about the role of religion in politics. Following an endorsement of Medvedev by Putin that virtually guaranteed him the presidency, Lazar told Interfax that it is not "the matter of religious figures to agitate for any candidate."
Lazar is an embarrassment to Chabad and to Jews.
What motivates this man? Is it simply hunger for power? Or is it something, some scandalous bit of information, Putin has on Lazar or, perhaps, on Chabad or the late rebbe himself?
I think Lazar's lap dog mentality began with the former but has been cemented with the latter.
What does Putin have on Chabad?
I don't know. But I suspect one day, perhaps much sooner than Berel Lazar wants, we'll all find out.