Guarded by heavy security, Russian President Valdimir Putin arrived on Mount Athos to take part in celebrations marking 1000 years of the settlement of Russian monks on the peninsula.
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The Orthodox Church is enjoying a huge revival in contemporary Russia with more than two thirds of the people or 100 million now nominally Orthodox. Greece is also an increasingly popular destination for Russian tourists interested in pilgrimages.
Putin will be hoping his trip to Athos relayed live on the internet and TV will boost his popularity at home, and also abroad as Russia faces unprecedented challenges and is in search of allies.
The Greek government of Alexis Tsipras has aligned itself with the opponents of Russia, by fostering close relations with Iran, whose policies have helped undermine the price of oil, by setting up a new gas pipeline into southern Europe to bypass Russia and by imposing sanctions on agricultural exports to Russia.
The Russian oil dependent economy has been destabilized by the engineered plunge in oil prices as well as by European sanctions, applied after the Kiev regime, foisted into power with the help of Billionaire George Soros, attacked Eastern Ukraine.
Eastern Ukraine is ethnically Russian, but western mainstream media and the European Union have portrayed the ethnic Russians attempting to defend themselves against a fascist invasion, led by the neo Nazi Azov battalions financed by oligarchs, as the aggressors.
Another acute threat to Russia is the huge build up of Nato troops on Russia’s eastern front.
More than 5,000 tons of U.S. Army Europe ammunition arrived at a port in Germany last week, reports NBC.
“Some 415 containers, with a variety of small arms, combat vehicle ammunition, artillery rounds and similar munitions, were loaded onto trains at the north Germany port of Nordenham and taken to a U.S. Army depot in Miesau.”
The amunnition will be distributed to NATO forces conducting “manoeuvres” along the alliance’ eastern frontier with Russia.
Germany has also boosted its troop numbers and is investing in new tanks and weapons systems.
Soros has urged European countries to take on vast new debt to finance a war against Russia
Globalists are anxious to ignite a third world war to distract attention from the implosion of economies under the private creation of money.
Against this background, Putin will, no doubt, be hoping to soften his image also in the West by appearing as one of the humble “faithful” attending church services and showing homage to the church.
In reality, the Russian Orthodox Church is largely subordinate to politics. The current head of the church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Rus’ is considered to be authoritarian and reactionary.
In the past few years, the Russian Orthodox Church has received hundreds of millions of rubles in grants as part of a federal program aimed at “strengthening the unity of the Russian nation”.
The money has been used to renovate churches, Cathedrals and monasteries such as the “Mount Athos of the North” in Valaam.