Senior Russian Official: “Chabad Is A Cult:” Rav Lazar Issues Scathing Response

HaRav Berel Lazar with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A senior Russian official wrote a blatantly anti-Semitic article claiming that the activities of Chabad in Ukraine are cult activities, Israel’s Reshet Bet reported on Wednesday.

Assistant Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Alexei Pavlov, wrote that Ukraine must be “de-Satanized,” from “neo-pagan cults” including Chabad. He also claimed that “the main life principle of Lubavitcher chassidim is the supremacy of the cult’s supporters over all nations.”

Chief Rabbi of Russia Rav Berel Lazar published a scathing response letter on Wednesday morning that was published on media outlets throughout Russia, stating: “What is really happening in the religious life of the neighboring country, I don’t know for sure – but unfortunately, the article espouses a position that is difficult to grasp other than an insult to millions of believing Jews, including most of the Jews in Russia.”

“First of all, it should be noted that the Lubavitch chassidus is not a cult but an accepted path of Judaism. Moreover, today it is the largest movement within Chassidus. It should be noted that 90% of the Rabbanim working in Jewish communities in Russia belong to Chabad, and I myself am also a Lubavitcher!”

“As for the Chabad ideology, contrary to the fabrications of Mr. Pavlov, it resolutely rejects idolatry, and at the same time, respectfully supports all religions that teach belief in one G-d. In order to understand this, it is enough to become familiar with the practice in Chabad communities in Russia and around the world that a considerable part of the social, cultural, and educational projects of the movement are intended not only for Jews, but for everyone – and this can be seen in the Jewish Museum and the Tolerance Center that we established in Moscow, which is regularly visited by groups of visitors regardless of nationality or religion, and the vast majority of students who visit it are not Jewish at all.”

“You can deem Mr. Pavlov’s statements as nonsense, vulgar anti-Semitism and overlook it, but this is a new type of old blood-soaked slanders and if they are uttered by a member of the Russian Security Council, this constitutes an enormous danger, and therefore, we demand an immediate and unequivocal response by society and the state authorities.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. “Lubavitch chassidus…is the largest movement within Chassidus.”

    Satmar is larger than Lubavitch.

    Perhaps Gur, and some other group(s) too.

    Lubavitch is big in PR, and are more spread out, so that can make them seem larger than they actually are, but people must look past their advertising to get to the truth.