Dalai Lama can visit Russia only as religious figure

The Dalai Lama can visit Russia, but only as a religious figure not a politician, Igor Rogachyov, the ambassador of Russia to the People's Republic of China, said at a press conference in Moscow.

According to him, Russian Buddhists made another request to allow the Dalai Lama to come to Russia.

"The Dalai Lama has been knocking at our door for the umpteenth year asking to be let to come at the request of our believers," Mr. Rogachyov noted.

He recalled that every year in late spring, Russian Buddhists from Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva make requests to let the Dalai Lama come to Russia. Until now, such requests were declined.

As of today, the relevant decision has not been made yet. "Now the issue has been suspended," Mr. Rogachyov stressed.

"On the one side, we should heed the interests of our Buddhists and, on the other, we are categorically against the Dalai Lama being engaged in political activity in Russia," Mr. Rogachyov said.

The Russian ambassador referred to the Dalai Lama's regular tours of various countries and his meetings with prominent politicians. "The Dalai Lama will definitely not to come to Moscow," Mr. Rogachyov said.

"The Dalai Lama will ask for meetings with Russian officials in the republics that are predominantly inhabited by Buddhists - we cannot agree to this," he said.

"If he is allowed to visit Russia, all meetings should be with religious figures," the Russian diplomat stressed.

Presently, the Dalai Lama is in Canada where he is conducting Buddhist teachings. Last week several dozens of Russian pilgrims flew from Moscow to Toronto.

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