Kalmykia hopes Dalai Lama to visit soon

Interfax, June 6, 2006

Moscow, Russia -- Kalmykia's President Kirsan Ilumzhinov hopes that the Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai Lama will visit the republic soon. "In Kalmykia we are preparing for his visit," Ilumzhinov said at a press conference in Interfax on Tuesday.

<< Europe's largest Buddhist temple is located in Elista, Kalmykia

"July 6 is the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and we, Russian Buddhists, naturally would like the Dalai Lama to mark his anniversary in Russia," said Kalmykia's leader.

He said Russian Buddhists expect that the Dalai Lama will visit Elista's temple. "We hope that the Dalai Lama will dedicate it," said Kalmykia's leader.

He said that the Union of Buddhists of Russia had sent an invitation to the Dalai Lama. "Yet he was not issued a visa at the Russian Embassy in India," Ilumzhinov said.

Moreover, the Dalai Lama has not received an invitation to take part in the World Summit of Religious Leaders in Moscow to be held in the Russian capital in early July. "At the moment His Holiness the Dalai Lama has not received an invitation to participate in the summit," Ilumzhinov.

The Dalai Lama was last in Russia on November 29-December 1, 2004. He visited Elista, Kalmykia's capital, where he sanctified the construction site of the Buddhist temple. The Dalai Lama had no official meetings.

He made another unofficial visit to Russia in 1992. At that time he visited Buryatia and carried out divine service at Ivolginsk Datsan temple.