Despite tensions in the region, the numbers of pilgrims to the Holy Land from Russia are increasing, rather than shrinking, Archimandrite Mark, deputy chairman of the external Church relations department of the Russian Orthodox Church, told a news conference in Moscow. From June 19 to 26, he had made a trip to Israel with a group of Orthodox journalists to Israel.
Unlike pilgrims from other countries, none of the Russians refused to go, the archimandrite emphasised. He pointed out that each of the pilgrims had written an application waiving any claims.
According to available information, more than 500 people went to the Holy Land from Moscow during Easter. Last year the pilgrims numbered 250-300.
Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, as it appears, will be either convoyed to a remote Russian colony or kept in the detention center