The IRGC has every reason to remain loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has deepened his military alliance with Iran in tandem with his aggression against Ukraine. Russia has been a key diplomatic and strategic ally of the Iranian mullahs, understanding very well their capacity to sow unrest in a region that has been dominated by U.S. interests for nearly a century. Their alliance was on show first during the Syrian civil war of the previous decade, where Putin and his IRGC acolytes butchered tens of thousands of civilians in order to maintain President Bashar Assad’s grip on power, and more recently, in Ukraine, where Russia has deployed hundreds of Iranian-manufactured attack drones to deadly effect against civilian and military targets.
It’s probably safe to assert that back in February 2022, when Putin launched his bloody invasion, no one in Moscow or Tehran imagined that the IRGC would be offering to defend the Kremlin from disgruntled mercenaries less than two years later. The fact that such a thought is even thinkable speaks volumes about the weakness creeping into the Russian dictator’s office.
The message of both rabbis to their Russian brethren was simply this: Whichever way this situation plays out, it’s going to be very bad for you. “I didn’t have a platform for this, I just tried to tell them through social networks: get out of there, because it might be too late,” Rabbi Moshe Azman reflected on his efforts to reach the Jews of Russia in an interview with a Ukrainian outlet. Separately, Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich opined that Putin’s much-vaunted philosemitism may be a phantom. “Putin has been president or prime minister in Russia for 23 years. Over the years, he expelled 16 rabbis from Russia,” Rabbi Bleich observed in his interview. “As Putin says that he loves Jews so much, I have a question: If you love Jews, why have this attitude towards rabbis and towards the community? Why is there often such antisemitism from the Russian authorities?”
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
Edited by Bilal Zafar Ranjha and Newsdesk Manager