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Russian community to recognise Roman Abramovich for Jewish philanthropy

Chelsea FC owner recently launched campaign to combat antisemitism

    Roman Abramovich at a Chelsea match at Stamford Bridge last month
    Roman Abramovich at a Chelsea match at Stamford Bridge last month (Photo: Getty Images)

    Russian businessman and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich is to be recognised for his philanthropy by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR).

    The award follows his donations to Jewish causes in Israel, Russia and around the world totalling more than £360 million.

    His club Chelsea FC has run a prominent “Say No to Antisemitism” campaign, personally initiated by Mr Abramovich, since February.

    The campaign sees the club partner with the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Community Security Trust, Kick It Out, the Jewish Museum, the World Jewish Congress and the Anne Frank House to challenge antisemitism in football.

    FJCR, which aims to maintain Jewish communities in Russia, will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year.

    This will be marked by a number of events to commemorate important milestones achieved during the past two decades, including a special recognition for Mr Abramovich, who chairs its Board of Trustees.

    Mr Abramovich’s award will be signed by FJCR president, Rabbi Alexander Boroda, and Russia’s chief rabbi Berel Lazar.

    Rabbi Boroda said in a statement: “With the upcoming 20-year anniversary, we wanted to specially recognize those who have been vital to our work and to the Jewish community.

    “Much of the work we do has been made possible thanks to Mr Abramovich, and we are deeply thankful for his continued support.”

    Noting that the centre seeks to serve the younger generations with various cultural and recreational services, he added: “We are Orthodox but the community centre is not just for religious people.”

    The federation says it provides humanitarian help to disadvantaged members of the communities, reaching more than 120,000 people in Russia.

    It provides support with charity lunches, medical assistance and assistance to families with many children.

    He described how 80 per cent of the developments in Jewish life in Russia are thanks to Mr Abramovich, adding: “He never talks about it but I want to because people don’t understand who is the source of it is – and it is him. We have more than 160 communities in all of Russia and Roman supports them all.”

    Chief Rabbi Lazar said: “We have experienced a strong reappearance of Jewish communities in Russia over these past 20 years, and much of it has been made possible thanks to generous contributions like the one of Mr Abramovich.

    “This has allowed us to carry out educational and cultural work helping Jewish communities across the country.”

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