Thank the Rebbe’s Followers for Turning the Tide of The Russo-Ukraine War
The reason you don’t understand what just happened in Russia is because you don’t understand Chabad, its players, and the power they wield around the world.
Every so often I am reminded that I live an exceptionally colorful life.
So it was past week I received text messages, direct TMs, and a phone call from my friends within Chabad. Why they even left a message with my bank. Thank you for the blessings.
Whilst I was initially apprehensive and even frightened these outreaches amounted to blessing — and as with all blessings, a harbinger of the future. “The war is going to end,” one of my friends told me. I knew that Chabad had long opposed the war in Ukraine and that Putin’s rabbi — Berel Lazar — was planning to be in the United States soon. I tweeted about their having contacted me.
At their urging I informed my friends within the U.S. government and — sure enough — Prigozhin and his Wagner Group moved out of Ukraine and into Russia. Prigozhin’s Wagner Group provides security for much of the Chabad society operations throughout Africa.
After all, this past week was a holy day for Chabad. It marked the 29th anniversary of the death of the Rebbe Menachem Schneerson.
You probably didn’t notice that President Biden has signed two proclamations honoring the Rebbe or that his son Hunter Biden spoke with Chabadniks about getting back their library.
But I did.
The U.S. government has aligned itself with Chabad in its quest to rollback some of the nastiness of the Russian oligarchs and regime. Chabad has been a willing ally insofar as its rabbis feel that Putin hasn’t done enough to bring about peace between Ukraine and Russia.
I’ve heard that that was a major discussion in Brooklyn this past weekend. The event in Brooklyn was exceptionally well attended. By some estimates as many as 50,000 attended a remembrance for the Rebbe. Why here’s Berel Lazar, Putin’s rabbi. In Brooklyn!
Has he returned to Russia as yet? It seems doubtful.
The relationship has been strained and far more distant than it had in the past — literally.
“We are ready to do everything [needed] to find peaceful solutions,” Lazar said as recounted in the Jerusalem Post. He continued: “Because people who suffer are bad for everyone, everyone suffers when people around us suffer. We are all children of the one [and only] God and our desire is for all children to live in brotherhood, mutual understanding, and in friendship so that people respect each other.”
Did you catch that, dear reader? They’ll do everything? Like, say, encouraging Prigozhin, who is half Jewish, to march on Moscow?
If such a march were to take place, might there be some rules? Indeed there were. No killing of innocents. In his meeting with Putin in January Lazar quoted from the Talmud and said that “whoever saves a single life is considered by scripture to have saved the whole world,” and added that “we value the life of every person,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
Therefore, I repeat once again: we, as a Jewish community, not only in Russia, but all over the world, are ready to do everything [needed] in order to find peaceful solutions.” He concluded by stating that “maybe our people understand more than anyone what suffering is, so we are ready to do everything so that there really is only peace in the world, and people live a good life.”
You’ll note also that Chabad has been called a cult by some of Putin’s inner circle. This has not gone over well with Chabad. Nobody wants to be seen as a cult. A powerful religious order? Most definitely.
As Putin becomes weaker you can expect to see Chabad use the network that they’ve built to push for kindness and peace — and for mining rights. The Chabadbiks love extracting minerals and selling them. Sometimes they get in trouble, as occurred in Australia in 2013. To read about Chabad rabbi (and mining magnate) Joseph Gutnick is to understand that the world is very strange place.
This turn has made Russian intelligence very angry and you can see evidence for it in their “Neo-Nazi” active measures against a Chabad synagogue in the United States.
Netanyahu and Putin are in close alliance. But the Rebbe’s concerns transcended political alliance. He wants to bring about the Messiah.
You can watch a meeting between the Rebbe and a younger Netanyahu in 1990. Note how he dresses him down?
Chabad is really a coalition of Ukrainian-Odessa gangsters in conflict zones and liberal cosmopolitan secular Jews nostalgic for the shtetl. Chabad is increasingly powerful within the United States too. There are Chabad chapters in all fifty states. According to the 2020 Pew survey about American Jewish life, nearly one in five US Jews participate in activities or services with Chabad.
Senator Joseph Lieberman referred to Chabad being one of the great intelligence networks of our time. “I once said that it seemed to me that as somebody involved in national security matters, that Chabad was actually developing a larger worldwide organization than the CIA.” Chabad rabbi David Rabbi David Eliezrie speaks about the ties between Mossad and Chabad.
I personally wouldn’t mess with such an organization or take it less seriously than it deserves.
Both Trump and Putin are learning that when a librarian tells you to return a document (or a Chabad library) you do it. Don’t mess with the librarians.
And don’t ignore Chabad or it’ll shift the power from beneath you. Like Putin Prigozhin grew up in St. Petersburg. Unlike Putin Prigozhin’s father died. His adopted father was also Jewish. He’s purportedly now in Belarus — where Chabad was founded in 1775 — and which is itself something of Chabad hotbed.
Power is the ability to deliver an army within 200km of an imperial city.
The message is simple. We will confine you to your bunker and we, not the Chinese, not the Israelis, will take the resources. Those resources will flow West, not East.
Blessed are the peacekeepers.
The big loser? China, whose reliance on Likud agent Bibi Netanyahu, is now coming under serious political strain. Netanyahu is facing his own political reckoning now that Israeli superspy (and film producer) Arnon Milchan is testifying against him in a corruption trial.
“Let Chinese-Soviet Friendship Live Forever!” Hardly.
Even Xi is having second thoughts about his risky Russian bet. And Iran is purportedly targeting Chabad in Cyprus. The Iranians know what’s up.
A friend helpfully lays it out:
- a. Chabad/Prigozhin defected and then Putin began moving against them.b. It looked like they were defecting so Putin moved against them.
- Putin had Shoigu remove Surovikin and had Gerasimov put in his place and was beginning to move against Wagner.
- Chabad and Prigozhin see what’s happening and make their move.
- Chabad and Prigozhin defect and march on Moscow.
- Putin halts the approach by a. agreeing to remove Shoigu and Gerasimov and b. allowing Prigozhin to go to Belarus.
- Lukashenko agrees because he is a.) Chabad-aligned and b.) this relationship means he is out from under Putin’s control.
- Wagner can now operate with impunity from Belarusian territory and, of course, that means paying tribute to Belarus which is also something of a pariah state.
What’s this mean for Ukraine and the conflict? Well, last week I suggested that the war in Ukraine is in the end game.
Let’s pray it is sooner rather than later and thank the Rebbe’s followers for their double portion of kindness.
P.S. For those curious about Chabad might I recommend this great BBC documentary from 1988.