Russian Church: Medvedev-Putin agreement instance of “kindness and integrity”

Moscow, September 26, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church hailed President Dmitry Medvedev’s proposal on Saturday that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin run for president as an instance of “kindness and integrity”.

“When else has it happened in Russian history that supreme power in the country was handed over in such a peaceful, dignified, honest, friendly way? It is a genuine example of kindness and integrity in politics, an example that, I believe, would have been a source of envy for our predecessors and people who lived in the Soviet period and, moreover, should be a source of envy for the people of the majority of countries in the world, including those that try to lecture us,” head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told Interfax-Religion.

“However, in a country where peace, welfare, and even the lives of millions of people depend on the person who heads the vertical structure of authority, the handover of power must be extremely responsible, it must rule out any head-on clashes, not just between individuals but between large social groups that such individuals may persuade to take their side,” the priest said.

The congress in Moscow of the United Russia party where Medvedev and Putin made their announcements was an event “where many strata of society were represented, many of its active and thinking members, [who] expressed sincere and unanimous support” for the Medvedev-Putin statement, the priest added.