Russia’s minority Catholic Church has pledged to help build a civil society after the nation’s 18th March election and called on President Vladimir Putin to “justify voters’ confidence” after his victory.
“Our Church always stresses its readiness to work with the Russian Federation’s secular powers on important issues, such as building a civil society and forming healthy life patterns,” said Mgr Igor Kovalevsky, secretary-general of the Russian bishops’ conference. “Although we don’t currently face any special barriers to our service on Russian territory, we suffer the same problems as the rest of society with bureaucracy, corruption and the ambiguous implementation of laws.”
In a 21st March interview with Catholic News Service, Mgr Kovalevsky said Russian Catholics would not “draw political conclusions” from the election, which Putin won with more than three-quarters of votes on a 67 per cent turnout. He also said Catholics were not expecting “great revolutionary changes” during Putin’s fourth six-year term.
The head of the Russian bishops’ conference, Bishop Clemens Pickel of St Clement Diocese in Saratov, told Putin in a 20th March congratulatory message that Catholics prayed he would “cope adequately” with coming challenges and “justify the confidence of voters.”
Picture: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with medalists of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Paralympics after a ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow. Putin will lead Russia for another six years, after securing an expected victory in the 17th March presidential election. (CNS photo/Yuri Kadobnov, pool via Reuters).