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    » 01/25/2012, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    Orthodox Church in support of Putin: yes to crack down on immigration

    Nina Achmatova

    The spokesman for the Patriarchate welcomes the proposal by the presidential candidate to introduce Russian language tests for immigrants and to toughen laws.
    Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Russian Orthodox Church has expressed its support for the proposal of the Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin for a crackdown on immigration in Russia. This according to spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, who is increasingly under the spotlight since the Church has emerged as a possible moderator between the opposition calling for a "Russia without Putin" and the central power, that wants to perpetuate the status quo.

    "It is positive that the issue has been raised and that is to say that illegal immigration must be curbed with more stringent rules," said Chaplin, head of the Patriarchate Department for Relations with society. "I think most people will support these measures, which will become proposed laws in the near future," he said in an interview with Interfax.

    If elected president on March 4, Putin has proposed examinations in Russian language, history and law for immigrants to get a residence permit. Leveraging on "national and religious identity", the premier has also proposed stricter rules on immigration and internal trials for those who violate criminal laws.

    It is a sensitive issue in Russia. Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev, have addressed it several times in the last year, after tensions between football fans in December 2010 transformed itself into a real urban warfare involving nationalists and Caucasian immigrants. According to experts, the prime minister is trying to rally support among nationalists who support the protest movement against electoral fraud in the law of 4 December.

    Putin has distanced himself from the nationalists, however, warning that the attempt to build a mono-ethnic nation is "the shortest route to the destruction of the Russian State and people." Chaplin agrees with the head of the government that there must be no room for hatred or hostility based on ethnicity. "Representatives of different countries are already suffering today and this hostility is an issue that should be treated with utmost care, because it can lead to conflicts threatening the future of Russia," warns the representative of the Patriarchate.

    Even though immigration is the lifeblood for the Federation which for decades is languishing in "demographic coma”, it has become a source of strong tensions. Thanks to immigration, experts believe in 2011 Russia reversed the demographic trend from negative to positive, for first time in over 20 years.
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    See also

    21/06/2010 RUSSIA
    Moscow issues code of conduct for immigrants to facilitate integration
    Among the rules: do not kill animals in public, speak Russian and do not wear traditional clothing of countries of origin. The Code will be completed by the end of 2010. For Gavkhar Dzurayeva, head of the migration Centre, it is absurd "to reduce integration to a matter of clothes, eating habits and behavioural problems and be silent on the exploitation of migrant workers.

    07/01/2005 RUSSIA
    Orthodox celebrate Christmas
    The Orthodox Church and other Christian denominations play a crucial role in society, says Putin. Some 11,000 people attended Midnight Mass at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow.

    17/05/2007 RUSSIA
    80 years on, Putin blesses the end of the schism within the Russian Orthodox Church
    Patriarch Alexi II and the head of the Church abroad, metropolitan Laurus, today signed an act of canonical communion putting an end to the division between the two communities. Before a congregation of hundreds the first communal liturgy was celebrated today in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour cathedral, with Putin in the front row.

    01/02/2005 RUSSIA - PALESTINE
    Peace begins in the Holy Land, Russian Patriarch tells Palestinian President
    On an official visit to Russia, Mahmoud Abbas signs a joint statement with Putin to implement the road map.

    15/03/2004 Russia
    Putin: founder of "New Russia"
    Russia's re-elected president is the most convinced advocate of "New Russia", as he strives to synthesize a new national identity for his country –one which is part communist and part czarist, half religious and half agnostic. It is an identity that is populist and at the same time liberal. His presidency marks the beginning of the Putin-generation.  



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