Medvedev praises Russian Buddhists' social role

Interfax, 22 February 2012

Moscow, Russia -- President Dmitry Medvedev has credited Russia's Buddhist community with effective work to build ethnic and religious harmony in the country.

"The values of Buddhism and the traditions of peoples professing it, which span many centuries, are an inseparable part of the culture and history of our country," a statement from the Kremlin quoted Medvedev as saying in a message of greetings to the community in connection with Sagaalgan, the Buddhist New Year holiday.

"The Russian Buddhists carefully preserve the legacy of their ancestors and work for the spiritual and physical health of the young generation. All this helps strengthen mutual understanding between different ethnic and religious groups," Medvedev said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in his turn, has credited Russia's Buddhist community with an effective public role and has said it has "extensive opportunities for the revival" of their traditions.

"The Buddhist organizations of Russia enjoy extensive opportunities today for the revival of traditions that span many centuries. Temples and religious educational institutions continue to be built. There are Buddhists among members of influential Russian public institutions. Buddhists carry out significant work to maintain interethnic dialogue and build up their interaction with bodies of government. They make a large contribution to friendship and mutual understanding between people," a Cabinet statement quoted Putin as saying.