Yevgeny Satanovsky, a businessman with a doctorate in Middle East politics, was elected president of the Russian Jewish Congress earlier this month, replacing Leonid Nevzlin, who recently was made a member of the upper house of Russia's Parliament.
, 42, faces a tough task in trying to re-energize the RJC
"Satanovsky, with his personal dislike of some Lubavitch leaders, will bring about, I am afraid, a total war between the RJC and the federation," said Mikhail Turovsky, a Jewish studies professor in Moscow.
does not want to exacerbate the conflict between the RJC
and the federation, but that Jewish groups should try to stay away from those in power - the opposite of the federation's strategy.
No one is more dedicated to the rebuilding of Jewish life than Yevgeny Satanovsky," said the head of the JDC's Moscow office, Joel Golovensky.
goals are threefold - to rebuild the finances of the RJC
, integrate the Russian Jewish community into world Jewry and become active in Israel.
detractors would admit he
has several factors in his
Long active in the Jewish community, Satanovsky knows the world of Russian Jewry from the inside - unlike Goussinsky and Nevzlin, who made huge fortunes during the regime of former President Boris Yeltsin and only later decided to become active in the Jewish community.
Satanovsky, who is married with two teen-aged children, became a Jewish activist in 1983 after reading underground lectures on Jewish history.
"Jewish activities became part and parcel of my life.
Jews and Israel are in fact the only things that really interest me," he
claims that the late Lubavitch rebbe, Menachem Schneerson, blessed his
business ideas and gave him a one- dollar bill to invest in steel engineering.
Armed with these two things, he
managed to make millions of dollars.
Much of his
firm's profits go to Jewish projects, he
After the election, Satanovsky announced he is quitting business to work full-time at the RJC.