Mr Ivanov noted in his opening remarks that Russia developed right from the outset as a country in which different ethnic groups and religions lived together. Now, as the modern world faces new global challenges, and destructive forces are using religion as a means for carrying out their own political objectives, including extremist goals, partnership and cooperation between Russia’s traditional religions are especially important.
A great deal therefore depends on religious leaders taking an active and, most importantly, consolidated position, and on the traditional religions’ ability to work together to preserve Russia’s sovereignty and unity and defend in common the values that most Russian citizens share.
The meeting’s participants adopted a number of specific recommendations to the Government and the federal and regional executive authorities on organising a support structure for promoting interfaith dialogue in Russia and the CIS countries.
The meeting also examined opportunities and work areas for Russian-Chinese cooperation on religious matters. Cooperation between the two countries in this area received a boost with the visit by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to China earlier this year. The council’s recommendations on cooperation with China on religious affairs will be passed on to the Chinese authorities.
Taking part in the council’s meeting were representatives of the main Russian religious organisations and the federal authorities, as well as scholars and experts.