Russian church head calls for dialogue after protests

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Russian church head calls for dialogue after protests

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Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been urged to respond to mass protests against last month disputed parliamentary election.

In an interview to mark Christmas Day in the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriach Kirill urged authorities to be more open in the face of growing concerns over vote-rigging allegations.

“If the authorities remain insensitive to protests, then that is a very bad sign: a sign that the authorities are incapable of adjusting themselves.

People need to know how to express their grievance. Not to give in to provocations and destroy the country. We have reached the limit of dis-unity and the authorities have to correct their course through dialogue and pay more attention to society, he warned.”

The carefully balanced tone of the interview contrasted with the Church’s earlier comments that criticised protesters. A major demonstration is planned for early next month ahead of a presidential election Putin hopes to win.