Russian President Vladimir Putin purchased a Tel Aviv apartment for his beloved high school German teacher over a decade ago. After her death in 2017, she returned the apartment to the Russian embassy in her will.

Putin and Netanyahu in 2011

Putin and Netanyahu in 2011 Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apartment in Tel Aviv is now vacant, the Israeli Ynet newspaper reported on Monday. Putin purchased the apartment in 2005 for his former high school teacher who immigrated to Israel in 1973. Putin’s beloved Jewish German teacher, Mina Yuditskaya Berliner, died two months ago and in her will, she bequeathed the apartment back to Putin.

In 2005, Berliner read in a local Israeli newspaper that Putin was coming to Israel for a visit. She went to the Russian embassy in Israel and left her information in the event that she could meet with Putin. Berliner was then invited to an event with survivors and veterans of World War II where Putin would be, and he recognized her right away. He invited her to stay for a meeting in which they reminisced.

A Russian diplomat came to Berliner’s home after Putin had returned to Russia and informed her that Putin had bought her a one-and-a-half bedroom apartment on Pinsker Street in Tel Aviv. Berliner told Ynet a few years ago that she cried when she found out about the apartment. Putin had also gifted her a watch that had “From the President” inscribed on the inside in addition to an autographed copy of his autobiography.

When Berliner passed away, the Russian embassy sent a representative to the funeral and paid for the ceremony.