Looking to rent an apartment in Tel Aviv? Your landlord could be Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A 1.5 bedroom apartment on the city’s Pinsker Street owned by the Russian leader is now for rent, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Monday.
The apartment had belonged to Mina Yuditskaya Berliner, a former schoolteacher of Putin. The Russian president gave her the apartment as a gift and when she died in December, she bequeathed it back to him, care of the Russian embassy.
Yuditskaya Berliner, who taught German to Putin at a St. Petersburg high school, immigrated to Israel in 1973.
After not seeing each other for years, the two were reunited in 2005, when Putin met his former teacher during a visit to Israel.
Yuditskaya Berliner described her meeting with Putin in a 2014 interview with the Ynet news site.
“As we were walking to have tea, he told me: ‘You see, I’m bald now,’” she said. “I replied: ‘I can see that.’” At the reception, Putin introduced her to then-Israeli president Moshe Katzav.
After the meeting, Yuditskaya Berliner, who is a widow, began receiving gifts: a watch and Putin’s autographed 2000 biography. 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.
“I told him all I needed was a flat that would be near the bus station, the market and to kuppat holim,” she said, using the Hebrew term for a health maintenance organization. “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.
She described Putin as a diligent student who, despite skipping classes to attend wrestling matches and practice, had a good command of the material taught to him.
JTA contributed to this report.