The main goal of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) is to provide for the interests of Russian Jews and society at large, said Mikhail Gluz, the chairman of the FJCR and People's Artist of Russia. He spoke at the 2nd Congress of the FJCR, which opened in Moscow on Monday. Mr. Gluz stressed that "changes in recent years have created unique conditions for the development of Jewish culture, which is now supported by the state." The FJCR chairman highlighted that Russia's Jewish community "has formed a very close partner relationship with the federal government and the authorities in a number of the country's regions." Sergei Abramov, the deputy head of the presidential administration, read a message of greeting from the Russian president to the congress participants. The message said, in particular, that "the congress is inspired by the idea of restoring ethnic and religious traditions." Vladimir Putin also stressed the need to unite the efforts of the state and society to oppose terrorism and extremism. At the same time the President noted that "manifestations of anti-Semitism should be repulsed in the most resolute way." Russian Minister of Culture Mikhail Shvydkoi delivered a welcoming address at the congress. He emphasised that the Ministry o! ! f Culture will back all FJCR's initiatives to revive Jewish culture. Israel's Ambassador to Moscow Natan Meron also spoke at the congress opening ceremony and said that "today relations between Russia and Israel are better than ever." Representatives of the presidential administration, embassies of various countries, as well as the Muslim community and Russian Orthodox Church are taking part in the work of the congress. Chief Rabbi of Russia Berl Lazar is also present at the congress.