David Gurevich, former officer-in-charge for the City of Jerusalem on Christian affairs, will discuss the history of Russia’s presence in Jerusalem, and provide behind-the-scenes insight into President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to restore Russia’s past glory in the Holy City.
In the middle 19th century, the Russian Czar established a mini-Russian town outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The official purpose of the so-called 'Russian compound' was to serve the sheer number of Russian pilgrims who flocked to the Holy Sites. However, 'behind the scenes' the Russian Empire aimed to head the race of the Western influence in Jerusalem. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russian property became a stone of contention between the USSR and the Russian (pro-Czarish) Church Abroad. Nowadays, 170 years after the Russian activity emerged and common Russians are interested more than ever in religion, Israel found itself negotiating President Putin's attempt to restore the times of the previous glory.