President Vladimir Putin: Allow me to make a couple of remarks.
The Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe noted in her address that I am at home here, at home here in this hall. Indeed, I am often here, not as much as I would like, but just a few days ago I had the pleasure of being here at an international meeting of religious leaders.
Listening to what you, my professional colleagues, have been saying here, I have the impression that this is a very similar audience, and not just in terms of the number of participants but also in terms of what is being said.
It is understandable why this is so. Religious leaders are largely involved in ensuring the observance of religious and moral laws, both in the usual sense of these terms and in the sense of what we in our legal language would call codes of behaviour – written in the Holy Scriptures, in the Bible, the Talmud, the Koran and other holy writings.
The difference between them and legal norms is that they are not backed up by all the instruments of state enforcement, though for true believers these religious laws have greater significance than our laws, written on paper and reinforced by the power of the state.
Why is this so? The answer is well known and our colleague from Cyprus gave it indirectly. Since ancient times we in Russia have had the clear response: “Victory lies not with those who have force on their side, but with those who have truth on their side”.
If we can ensure that laws and their application have a moral foundation, not just in theory but also in practice, then we will be able to achieve the most important objective, and that is to have the support of our citizens whose interests it is our duty to protect.
I would like to wish you success in your practical work and at this conference that has brought you all here to Moscow.
Thank you very much for your attention and I wish you all the best.