Buryatia: Kalmyk President Hopes Dalai Lama Will Visit Russia
Kalmykia is awaiting a visit by the Dalai Lama, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said, president of the Republic of Kalmykia.
"Church is separated from the state in our country, but as a person professing Buddhism, I wait for Dalai Lama's visit," Ilyumzhinov said at a news conference at Interfax in Moscow.
Elista, the capital of Kalmykia, expects the Dalai Lama to consecrate a temple there.
Buddhists in Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva, three Russian internal republics with predominantly Buddhist populations, asked the Russian Foreign Ministry to issue an entry visa to the Dalai Lama. "Neither the Dalai Lama nor Buddhist organizations in our republics have received an official response. We are awaiting an official response," Ilyumzhinov said.
The Dalai Lama was denied a Russian visa several times in 2007-2009. He paid a brief pastoral visit to Kalmykia in 2004 and consecrated a land plot for the construction of a Buddhist temple.
Kalmyk Supreme Lama, Telo Tulku Rinpoche, told journalists on Friday that Russian authorities declined a request by the Kalmykia Buddhist Association for granting a Russian entry visa to the Dalai Lama.
The Kalmyk Supreme Lama said he had received a letter from Moscow saying that "the Dalai Lama's visit to Russia would be taken by Beijing especially sensitively in the current year marking a jubilee of China's and our common victory in WWII."
The letter also says that the possibility of the Dalai Lama's pastoral visit to Russia could be considered later, as soon as there are signs that tensions in his relations with Chinese officials have decreased, he said.