Disconcerting kowtowing

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II. Has hailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to present Dmitry Medvedev as his preferred successor as a "well-considered decision". At the same time, in a television interview Thursday, the church leader asked "the selflessly serving" head of state to remain in power as prime minister. Meanwhile, most promising opponent Kasparov announces his withdrawal. Russians to elect new president in early March.

Putin cannot run for a third term in office, according to Verfang. It is certainly a difficult decision for a man who has been president and "national leader" for eight years to step down to the second rank, Alexij said. "But I have known Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin) for a long time and know that he is free of personal ambition and pride, but has always served his country selflessly," the patriarch said. Therefore, he said, he is sure that Putin will make himself available as head of government for the "good of Russia".The Russian Orthodox Church has been taking an active part in day-to-day politics for some time now. In August, it had presented its own development model of economy and politics in Russia with the "Russian Doctrine. Moscow Patriarchate always rejected accusations of increasing merger of state and church. So far, however, church representatives had not openly propagated the Kremlin's policies, despite obviously good relations with the Kremlin.

Opposition politician Kasparov gives a Opposition politician and former world chess champion Kasparov has quit as a contender for Russia's presidency. He declared that his campaign ends this Thursday. He added that he had not been able to find a meeting place for all his supporters in the whole of Moscow. Kasparov added that his Other Russia alliance was not fighting for power, but for real elections to be held. To be eligible as candidates for the presidential election in March, candidates not represented in parliament by a party must be officially supported by a group of at least 500 supporters.

German government deplores growing anti-Semitism Meanwhile, the German government has expressed concern about an increase in anti-Semitic, racist and xenophobic incidents in Russia. "There is a gap between human rights professions and reality," a government representative told the Bundestag's human rights committee, according to the parliament's press office on Thursday. Because of vague formulations in the anti-terror laws, the authorities would have a lot of leeway in criminal prosecution. The representative of the German government described the conditions in the Russian penitentiary system as shocking.

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