Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to hand over to a U.S. group a venerated collection of Jewish books and documents, as ordered by a U.S. judge.
Putin said February 19 that the Schneerson Collection “belongs to Russia.”
He said handing over the writings could open a “Pandora’s box” of similar requests.
Putin suggested the collection could eventually be given a permanent home in the new Jewish museum in Moscow.
A U.S. judge in January ordered Russia to pay $50,000 a day in fines for failing to honor a 2010 U.S. ruling to hand over the historic collection to Chabad-Lubavitch, a Hasidic Jewish group in New York.
Ownership of the writings, now held by the Russian state library and military, has been contested for decades.
Based on reports from Reuters, AP and AFP