02/13/2012, 00.00
RUSSIA

Kirill and religious leaders "bless" Putin’s candidacy

Nina Achmatova
The Russian premier will take a day off to meet religious communities. For Patriarch Kirill he will be the president. Criticism in the media: religions must be independent from power.
Moscow (AsiaNews) – He would not to meet Western observers, or participate in a live TV debate with his main challengers at the polls for the presidential elections of March 4. But in order to speak with leaders of religious communities in Russia, on 8 February, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has taken a day off from "commitments of government," according to his spokesman. And religious leaders have formally endorsed the candidacy.

Hosted by the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill – who described the Putin era a "miracle" - the event has brought to the monastery of St. Daniel in Moscow, representatives of both the so-called 'traditional religions' (Orthodox, Buddhist, Muslim and Jews) and non (Catholics, Armenians and other Christian denominations). Kirill "blessed" the political ambitions of the Prime Minister, calling him the "candidate who certainly has the best chance to turn his candidacy into a real office."

The patriarch, who supported the demands for change expressed by the protesters who took to the streets against electoral fraud in December, urging the authorities to listen to the people - then thanked Putin for the "crucial role" played in moving the country out of crisis of the 1990s. Kirill then defined the last 12 years a "miracle" for the Church in Russia. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was president from 2000 to 2008, when he was appointed prime minister by the current head of the Kremlin, Dmitri Medvedev.

Even the rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, has effectively supported the third term of Putin, criticizing the large anti-government protests in the last two months. "The fact that the demonstrations were held on Saturday, suggests that this was not a Jewish event," he joked. Same support from the Muslims, with the President of the Council of Muftis, Ravil Gainutdin: "Muslims know him. We trust him. We wish him every success. "

The meeting at the monastery of St. Daniel has raised some criticism on Russian media. The religious information webside Portalcredo.ru carries the headline "The ore-electoral mobilization of confessions", accusing Putin – who has dropped in consensus – of exploiting the religious sentiment. "The religions bless the third term of Putin," Interfax wrote. "In these 12 years – the Russian news agency points out in a long commentary - religious organizations have gained a freedom and an unexpected support. They know that this 'symphony' was largely made possible thanks to Putin". "The fate of Russia depends very much on the fact that religious leaders recognize the historicity of the moment and understand their mission in it - continues the commentary - the criticism of power are not a threat to its existence, but a way to help make a better life ".
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