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No visa for Dalai Lama, says Russian Envoy

June 17, 2010

By Tenzin Tsering
Phayul
June 16, 2010

Dharamsala, June 16 -- Taking a U-turn from his
reported affirmation of Dalai Lama’s visit to
Russia, Russian ambassador to India, Alexandr
Kadakin has assured China that the Tibetan leader will not be granted visa.

Kadakin was earlier reported as saying that the
Dalai Lama will visit Russia as a religious
leader and that Russia has many citizens who
follow Buddhism. “There are Buddhists in Altai
region, in the Altai Mountains. We have great
followers of Buddhists in Russia and they also
want to see their spiritual leader," Kadakin was quoted by ANI.

However in an interesting turn of events that
started with Russian foreign minister Sergey
Lavrov offering Russia’s help in assisting
towards successful dialogue process between
Chinese and the Tibetan sides last month, and
then to the alleged acknowledgment of Dalai
Lama’s visit to Russia by Kadakin on June 4, the
Russian ambassador recently met with this Chinese
counterparts in Delhi and described his earlier
affirmation of Dalai Lama’s visit to Russia a
“mistake” in the transcript of his interview that
was sent to an Indian media agency.

In his interview to Voice of Russia, Kadakin
explained the "mistake" in his earlier interview
on June 4 as the cause of the confusion and
clarified Russia’s position on Dalai Lama saying
“under the present circumstances, Russia can not
give a visa to the Dalai Lama because his
pastoral functions have acquired a political
tinge.” He added that “Russia treasures strategic
partnership with China and has no intention of
damaging it. For this reason, Russia’s advice for
the Dalai Lama is to improve relations with
Beijing and stay away from politics. For now, a
visit by the Dalai Lama and his visa is out of the question.”

Russian foreign minister Lavrov had recently made
remarks on the Dalai Lama that earned him
appraisal from the Chinese side. In particular
his address to the Federation Council, Russia’s
Upper house of parliament he reportedly called
the Dalai Lama a symbol of “Tibet independence”
and added that “Beijing has well-founded reasons
for saying it will not have contact with the
Dalai Lama as long as he makes provocative
statements and engages in political activities.”

Dalai Lama has visited Russia several times, the
last being in 2004 when he went to Kalmykia to
consecrate a site for a Buddhist temple. The
spiritual leader was awarded the "White Lotus
Order", the Russian Republic of Kalmykia’s
highest civilian honour by Kalmyk President Mr.
Kirsan Nikolayevich llyumzhinov in 2006, in
Dharamsala. But since 2007, Russia has not
allowed the Tibetan leader to visit the country.

In April, Russian senators representing Russia's
Buddhist regions in the parliament sent a letter
to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov asking
about the possibility of issuing a Russian visa to the Dalai Lama.

Russia has nearly one million Buddhists in its
three regions of Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva
representing around 0.5 percentage of the Russian population.

Beijing accuses the Tibetan leader, who won the
1989 Nobel Peace Prize of trying to "split the
motherland" and calls him a "separatist," an
allegation the Tibetan leader however denies
saying he seeks a genuine autonomy for Tibet
consisting of the three traditional provinces of Tibet.
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