Dalai Lama not banned from entering Russia: Putin


File photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Buddhist monks.

DHARAMSALA, 18 May: Russian President has said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not prohibited from entering Russia.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the remarks at a meeting with activists from the All- Russia People’s Front held earlier this week on 16 May, reports the United News of India.

According to the report, when the Russian President was asked whether a visit by the Dalai Lama to Russia was possible in the future by an activist, he has said, “The Dalai Lama is not banned from entering Russia. We do not have a large number of Buddhists living in Russia, and we treat everyone the same- the Christians and the Jews, the representative of Islam.”

Putin has concluded by stating that Russia will think about it. “But, nevertheless, we will think about it.”

Russia, the world’s largest nation has a population of 14.45 crores and It is estimated that between 700,000 and 1.5 million are Buddhists, mainly in the republics of Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva.

The Tibetan spiritual is also highly revered by the Russian Buddhists as their spiritual leader.

The Dalai Lama’s annual Buddhist teaching for the Russian Buddhist was held recently at Tsug-lag-Khang, the main temple in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala.

Over 1,100 Buddhists, mainly from Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva attended the teaching held over 10-12 May. It was the 10th anniversary of the annual teachings for Russians by the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan Nobel Laureate has in the past, expressed his desire to visit Russia as wished by many Buddhists from the country and also due to the growing
interests in Tibetan religion and culture among the white Russians.

“Many Buddhists in Russia always want me to come there. I am very eager to visit old and new friends in Russia, and share my thoughts with the people,” His Holiness said at a press conference with a group of around 27 Russian journalists at his residence on 2010, according to a report on CTA’s official webpage Tibet.net. dated 30 Nov 2010.

However, the octogenarian Tibetan leader’s overseas trip has dwindled lately owing to barriers of age and politics. The Dalai Lama now takes the comfort of the technology to address his devotees internationally without having to take long flights.

The Tibetan Nobel Laureate made his first visit to the region (then Soviet Union) in 1979, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1994, the Dalai Lama gave an address to Russia’s Duma, parliament.

As Russia’s economic ties with China grew became increasingly important, the Dalai Lama’s Russian visas slowed and, after 2004, stopped.

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