Pinsker Street in downtown Tel Aviv could theoretically get a new, famous tenant – but chances are he’s not going to grace the beach-front city anytime soon.
After all, Vladimir Putin is often busy working his day job as president of the Russian Federation.
According to a Ynet report on Monday, the Russian Embassy, on behalf of Putin, came into possession of a one-and-a-half bedroom apartment in the heart of the city following the death of Mina Yuditskaya Berliner.
Berliner was Putin’s high school teacher during his youth in St. Petersburg, Russia, and immigrated to Israel in 1973. Putin and his teacher were reunited in 2005 when the Russian president visited Israel. She had asked the Russian Embassy whether she could attend a reception in Putin’s honor and joined World War II veterans for their meeting with Putin in Jerusalem. Afterwards, he invited her to have tea with him in private.
Shortly after the meeting, she began receiving gifts, including a watch and Putin’s biography, autographed. Shortly after that, an employee of the Russian government showed up at her doorstep and took her to see some apartments in the center of Tel Aviv, she told Ynet in 2014.
“I told him all I needed was a flat that would be near the bus station, the market and to kupat holim,” she told Ynet, using the Hebrew term for a health fund. “It all happened fast from there on. A few months later the movers came to my [rented] apartment in Florentine [in southern Tel Aviv], packed everything up and moved me,” she said.
The rest, they say, is history, and Putin, through the Russian Embassy, bought her the Pinsker Street apartment.
Last December, when Berliner passed away, the Russian Embassy sent a representative to attend the funeral ceremony and help with the costs, Ynet reported. In her will, she returned the apartment to the embassy on behalf of the Russian leader.
Should the Russian president need somewhere to kick his feet up, there’s a quaint apartment in Tel Aviv with his name on it.
Cnaan Liphshiz/JTA contributed to this report.