Anatevka, named after the village from the musical, was founded in 2014 by Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, primarily as a refuge for Jewish families displaced by Russia’s five-year war against Ukraine in the country’s eastern Donbass region that has killed around 13,000 people.
The Anatevka project was also at the center of an aborted effort — brokered by Giuliani’s associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — to get the former mayor of New York to come to Ukraine in May for a meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky, then the president-elect, whom he planned to push for investigations that would help President Donald Trump politically. Among the village’s funders are a former pro-Russian Ukrainian presidential candidate, a notorious Kazakh oligarch — and Fruman.
Fruman and Parnas stand accused of funneling money, much of it allegedly foreign, into Republican campaigns in the United States. The two men pleaded not guilty to four counts of campaign finance violations in a federal court in New York City on Wednesday and are now awaiting trial.
Meanwhile, another aspect of their alleged influence campaign has gone relatively unexamined.
For at least two years, Parnas and Fruman made donations to, and solicited financial support for, Jewish charitable causes as part of an international effort to build ties with influential politicians, according to interviews and records obtained by BuzzFeed News and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.