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    CHIEF RABBI OF RUSSIA VOTES IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 14, 2004, RIA NOVOSTI - Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar of Russia has cast his ballot in today's presidential election. Addressing reporters at a Moscow polling station, he said he saw the vote as a welcome opportunity to contribute to the present and the future of his home country.

    The outcome of the polls is of importance to Russia's Jewish community as well as to the entire nation, the Rabbi noted. In his view, mutual respect of people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds is what a developed democracy is founded upon.

    "I'm looking ahead with optimism," he said.

    Leaders of all of Russia's mainstream faiths are taking part in the presidential vote this Sunday.

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