Christmas In Russia with Putin

The Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar and celebrates Christmas on January 7.
Putin's christmas (1)
This year, the Russian president Vladimir Putin  celebrated the holiday in Russia’s Otradnoye village near the southern city of Voronezh, where he attended a Christmas service at a local church.
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The Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin in the Otradnoye village, accommodating some 450 people, was crowded during the Christmas Eve service.

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Putin sent his greetings to the congregation and personally thanked Archpriest Gennady Zaridze, the rector of the church, who helped to restore the building and open a church-run orphanage.

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The church in Otradnoye is among the country’s cultural heritage sites. Construction work began in 1893 and lasted eight years. In 1930, the church was closed and used as a grain storage facility. The restoration began only in 1991.

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The Russian president noted the great role of the Russian Orthodox Church in establishing high moral values, bringing up young generations and preserving the country’s rich cultural and historical heritage.

Putin's christmas (2)

“In Russia today there is a mix of exalting nationalism, exalting the church and Christian values,” “They are now replacing the red star with the cross, and they are representing themselves as the ultimate barrier against the Islamization of the continent.”
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In keeping with tradition, there’s a giant Christmas tree outside of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. But for the first time, the tree wasn’t purchased by local businesses and parishioners. This year it was a gift from the Russian government. A Russian diplomat called it a symbol of unity between Christian peoples.
Putin's christmas (3)

President Putin  also recited a list of economic statistics. “In the first ten months of this year, the gross domestic product grew by 0.7 per cent, and the final figure may be around 0.6 per cent,” Putin said. “The trade surplus grew by $13.3 billion, to reach $148.4 billion.”  “Unemployment is also low: at times, it dropped to below 5 percent, and now it is around 5 percent, possibly 5.1 percent. The agro industrial complex is developing. … As you may know, this year we had a record crop of 104 million tonnes.” Despite foreign sanctions and the collapse in the price of oil, things aren’t yet disastrous in the Russian economy even if some western leaders do not like this. He noted that some tough challenges lay ahead, and raised the possibility of budget cuts. Last week, the Russian President officially banned government workers there from taking any vacation or personal leave time during the entire month of January. Employees at Russian companies and government officials are typically entitled to time off between January 1st and January 12th. Not this year. He also offered an assurance that the bad times wouldn’t last for long. Even in the worst-case scenario, he said, the Russian economy would be expanding again within two years. ”A growing world economy will require additional energy resources,”Putin’s guess that things will pick up by the end of 2016 is as legitimate as anybody else’s. While he was speaking, the Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, was also saying, in Riyadh, that the current collapse would prove to be temporary.

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And Russia’s “tough stand … in the Ukraine” was “a message to our partners that the best thing to do is to stop building walls and to start building a common humanitarian space of security and economic freedom.” Russia, he added, was like a bear defending its patch of the forest, or taiga: “Sometimes I think that maybe it would be best if our bear just sat still. Maybe he should stop chasing pigs and boars around the taiga but start picking berries and eating honey. Maybe then he will be left alone. But no, he won’t be! Because someone will always try to chain him up. As soon as he’s chained they will tear out his teeth and claws. In this analogy, I am referring to the power of nuclear deterrence. As soon as—God forbid—it happens, and they no longer need the bear, the taiga will be taken over.”

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Now according to a new poll Putin he still has strong support among ordinary Russians, whom he praised, saying, “As far as élites are concerned … there is élite wine, élite resorts, but there are no élite people. You know what a Russian élite is? A peasant, who has borne the work of the country for centuries.”

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