Mikhail Gorbachev, the iconic Soviet leader who ended the Cold War, has embraced the Jewish revival his policies helped set in motion, telling Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar that “Russia is good for the Jews and Jews are good for Russia.”

The former Soviet president made the remarks after Lazar invited him to visit the new Jewish museum opening soon in Moscow. Built under the auspices of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the Former Soviet Union, the museum will offer visitors a virtual tour through Jewish history, with a special emphasis on the oppressions of Communism and the efforts by many to clandestinely keep Jewish life strong.

With the fall of the Iron Curtain under Gorbachev, Jews no longer had to practice their faith in secret. Before long, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries under the direction of Lazar took up outposts throughout former Soviet lands in order to establish schools and reinvigorate synagogues.

“Thanks to Mr. Gorbachev, millions of Jews were able to emerge from hiding, openly reveal their Jewish identity and practice their Judaism with pride,” read an FJC statement.

For his part, the statesman said that he is following the rebirth of Jewish life.

“I am proud that the current situation is something that came about through my doings,” he said.