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Russian Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has urged the Orthodox faithful to vote in the upcoming Russian presidential election.
“The religious leader has been Putin’s ally since the Russian leader’s return to the presidency in 2012. Kremlin officials are hoping for Putin to win 70 percent of the vote amid a 70-percent turnout in the upcoming elections on March 18, amidst fears that a low voter turnout may weaken his mandate,” reports The Moscow Times.
Patriarch Kirill told the state-run television station Rossia 1 that voting was “intrinsic” to the church. “That’s why I would call on everyone, including Orthodox people, to definitely participate in the upcoming presidential elections. It’s very important.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to win another six year term in March. Opposition figure and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny has called for a boycott of the poll. Navalny was prevented from running against Putin by the Russian election commission due to a previous embezzlement conviction that Putin opponents say was politically motivated.
The Kremlin has fostered a close relationship with the church in Russia and many times both support the same narrative for Russia’s future.