(Reuters) – A Russian court demanded on Thursday that the U.S. Library of Congress hand back seven precious Jewish texts to Moscow – and, in a tit-for-tat ruling, said it should pay a massive fine for every day it delays.
The so-called Schneerson collection, claimed by both Russia and the New York-based Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch group, has become a bone of contention in Russia-U.S. ties, at their lowest for decades due to the Ukraine crisis.
The Library of Congress has seven books of the collection, Interfax reported. Russia has 4,425 texts, including editions of the Torah and the Talmud, some of them dating back to the 16th century.
A Moscow arbitration court ruled that the Library of Congress should pay $50,000 in fines for every day the seven books are not handed over. Moscow reacted angrily when a U.S. judge ruled last year Russia should pay $50,000 a day for failing to send the rest of the collection to the United States.