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    PATRIARCH ALEXIS II CONGRATULATES VLADIMIR PUTIN ON HIS VICTORY

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    MOSCOW, March 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II congratulated Vladimir Putin on his victory in the presidential elections.

    The patriarch is convinced that voting for the incumbent President, Russians made the right choice.

    "I was satisfied to learn the news of your reelection. I am convinced that our compatriots made the right choice," reads the Patriarch's message of congratulation.

    "Russia is a great country with a unique history and culture. Today its leader should possess not only outstanding administrative abilities and managing experience but also to give people hope for a worthy future," Alexis II stressed.

    "Fulfilling our Christian duty, we prayed and will pray for you as for our President," the Patriarch said.

    "I am sure that many believers voted for you hoping that the Church will hold proper place in Russia's public life," he noted.

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