The president of the World Jewish Congress has thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his efforts to fight anti-Semitism in Russia.

Ronald Lauder told Putin during Tuesday's meeting that the Russian leader had kept the promise he made during their last meeting, in 2003, to fight anti-Semitism. Lauder noted that at the time synagogues in Russia were coming under attack.

The American businessman, speaking through a translator, said anti-Semitism was down to a "minimal level" in Russia, while in Europe it still "raises its head."

Putin said "Russian Jewish organizations make a significant contribution to political stabilization in Russia, for which we are very grateful."

Putin caused a stir in January when he proposed that Jews feeling under threat in Europe should come to Russia, where they would be accepted.