Russia deems US court’s Schneersohn library ruling illegal
“Under the Russian law, the Schneersohn library is an integral part of Russian cultural heritage and can’t be alienated,” an official with the embassy pointed out. He said the court’s decision violated the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
According to the ruling, Russia is to pay Chabad-Lubavitch, an Orthodox Jewish movement, a fine of $50,000 a day until it releases the collection of books and manuscripts that Chabad has been claiming as its own.
The US Justice Ministry has added its voice to Russia’s outcry, arguing fines would be counterproductive. The fine would be “contrary to our foreign policy interests,” a US official said.
The District Court of Washington D.C. has ruled that the Russian government should pay a fine of $50,000 a day to the Hassidic Jewish movement Chabad-Lubavitch as long as Moscow does not return the so-called Schneerson Collection.
The decision was reached by the presiding judge in the case despite objections from the U.S. Department of Justice.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department said the move "would be contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests and international norms."
At issue is a collection of historical books and documents which, according to many Hassidic Jews, belongs to one of their spiritual leaders, Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneerson.
Moscow does not recognize any claims to the collection, stating that it has always been in Russia and continues to remain in the country legally.
Voice of Russia, TASS