Putin's Beloved German Teacher Dies Aged 96 in Tel Aviv

Mina Juditskaja Berliner was so revered by Putin that he gifted her a Tel Aviv apartment in 2005

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on December 14, 2017.
Alexander Nemenov/AFP

Mina Juditskaja Berliner, the woman who taught Russian President Vladimir Putin how to speak German, has died at the age of 96 in Israel.

Berliner - who was so revered by the Russian president that he gifted her a Tel Aviv apartment in 2005 - was buried on December 7 in Petach Tikva, according to an obituary.

The Russian diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv refused to comment on Sunday about reports that the Russian Embassy helped organize the funeral and that an official Russian representative was present at the ceremony.

Berliner taught Putin the German language at a high school in St Petersburg.
"He was a good student," she told dpa in 2014. "He has always learned vocabulary and grammar well."

Putin reunited with his former language teacher in 2005 in Jerusalem, where Berliner said they had had had a meeting in the King David Hotel.

After the meeting, Putin began to give her presents, and a Russian government employee, on Putin's behalf, later helped her find a small apartment in Tel Aviv and paid for it. Real estate in Tel Aviv is among the most expensive in the world.