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 to 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.