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Orthodox monks favour Medvedev

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2008

      Orthodox monks favour Medvedev
      Web posted at: 3/3/2008 11:35:2
      Source ::: AFP

      SERGIYEV POSAD, Russia • As bearded Orthodox
      monks queued to vote in Russia's most famous
      monastery yesterday, the head of the polling
      station — a seminary student —bent down to kiss their hands.

      Dozens of monks, icon painters and seminary
      students cast ballots in the vaulted chambers of
      a 19th century seminary in the Trinity-Saint
      Sergius monastery, 70 kilometres outside Moscow.

      The election will almost certainly see the
      Kremlin's preferred candidate Dmitry Medvedev, a
      convert to Orthodoxy who has had the public
      backing of Patriarch Alexy II, become president.

      "Most of the students are going to vote for
      Medvedev. He favours the church. That means he
      also favours God," Alexei Melnikov, 19, a
      seminarian wearing a buttoned-up black uniform, said after voting.

      "He will create a good society. Our hopes are
      with him," he said. As hundreds of faithful made
      their way to Sunday services in the swirling snow
      outside, Father Savva, a canon law teacher, said
      believers would favour Medvedev as he was seen as
      more religious than the other candidates.

      The choice did not appear so obvious for Yury, an
      embittered 69-year-old resident of the northern
      city of Saint Petersburg, the imperial home city
      of both Medvedev and his mentor President Vladimir Putin.

      "I'll trust you with a secret. I wrote on my
      ballot paper 'We want honest elections,'" Yury
      said outside the prestigious Mariinsky ballet.
      "It was the only way to express my opinion. I am not scared of anything."

      International observers have criticised the
      elections, which have seen liberal opposition
      candidates barred from the poll and blanket coverage in favour of Medvedev on

      state television.

      Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov appeared
      to be the favourite at the derelict collective
      farm of Buzharovo some 60 kilometres outside
      Moscow, where nostalgia for Soviet times was in the air.

      "I voted for Zyuganov," said 35-year-old Natalya
      Klimova, who works at the village pharmacy. "I want a return to the past.”
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