Mr Putin stressed that the Russian state depended more than any other on peace between religions and denominations, and the cultural diversity of its many ethnic entities demanded the utmost tact.
He said that the recent census had registered more ethnic entities in Russia than before, and explained that people were no longer afraid of declaring their faith and ethnicity.
An equal dialogue with all ethnic and religious communities was the authorities’ essential duty, the President said. Chuvashia exemplified such a dialogue, with everything done for people of all religions and denominations to feel free, and with the Chuvash language taught at school on a par with Russian.
Mr Putin called for the preservation and promotion of the centuries-long unity of Russian peoples, and said that there was every reason today to regard the Russian population as one well-knit nation.