The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has accused Chabad of theft in the latest episode in Russia’s diplomatic row with the US over the ownership of the Schneerson Library.
In mid-January, a Washington court instructed Russia to pay a daily fine of $50,000 for failing to comply with a previous order to return the collection of 60,000 religious texts — held in Russia’s national library — to Chabad. The Russian Foreign Ministry called the decision “unlawful and provocative”.
Last week Mr Lavrov hit back again. He said: “The Chasids received some books from our Schneerson Library… over ten years ago. They have not yet returned them. This should be the subject of court action.” Chabad has been trying to regain its collection since it left Russia after the Second World War.