PUTIN SIGNS LAW TO ADMEASURE LANDS TO RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS

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MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law to give land to religious organizations.

"The state keeps paying historical tribute to the church," the head of state said at the meeting with representatives of the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Kremlin.

"On the opening day of the Council I informed Alexis II that I had signed the law on amendments to the Russian land legislation. We have formed a legal basis to let religious organizations receive land for their needs free of charge," Mr. Putin noted.

The President deems it rational to return the church property seized in 1918 but believes that this problem needs an accurate solution.

In his opinion, the seizure of the church property after 1918 was "both immoral and illegal".

"The signed law on land confirms my position on this issue but this should be done accurately," the head of state noted.

In his words, this move should not cause negative public response. Moreover, historic monuments should not be damaged.

"If we hand them to the church today it will not be able to provide their restoration and keeping because it was bleeding before the last decade," Vladimir Putin said.

"But we should solve this problem and the Holy Patriarch and I will be promoting its solution," he added.

On his part, Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia thanked the President for the signing of the law, which solves the church's land problems.

"I expect other disputable questions raised at the Council to be settled," His Holiness stressed.

Russia will be developing relations with the brotherly Ukrainian nation regardless of the election results in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin said commenting on the speech of Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Vladimir.

The Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church came out for the legalization of the military clergy.

"The partnership between the state and church inthe sphere of interaction with the Armed Forces and law enforcement bodies should be raised to a new level. We need the development of legislation, in particular, legalization of the military clergy. It meets historical and world practice," reads the Council's statement on the internal life of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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