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Vladimir Putin:"Russia needs efficient public migration policies to settle its demographic and certain other problems"
Immigration-in particular, from China-makes a formidable social problem in Russia as in a majority of other post-industrial countries, said Mr. Putin as he was addressing delegates of the current Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church at a Kremlin conference. "The Russian community is badly wary of Oriental colonisation by the Chinese. Chinamen are famous for diligence, and so are willingly taken on jobs Russians can cope with. That is the situation, for instance, all over the Trans-Baikal country," said Eustathius the Bishop of Chita in East Siberia. President Putin commented his complaint by saying: "Almost all demographic problems are settled thanks to immigrants." As he acknowledged, "Russia has not worked out an efficient migration policy to this day, while other countries who cope with their demographic problems through encouraging immigration have tough and consistent policies. Authorities know whence immigrants are coming, and what they are doing in the host country." The President went on to insistently call for an end to illegal migrations. "The matter must benefit this country," he stressed. Here, he appealed to the gathering of Church dignitaries to try their hand at Christian conversions of Chinese guest workers. "That's an honourable field of pastoral work," he remarked. Mr. Putin hopes the Church will contribute to the Russian unity cause. "The state highly appreciates the historical deserts of the Russian Orthodox Church, and now relies on your assistance to propagate humanism and buttress national unity," he said. "Today, your experience of dialogue between religions and work for an accord between Christian denominations is topical as never before," added the President, and substantiated the point with the following: "The Orthodox Christian clergy has been coming up for centuries as a cementing force in Russia's multiethnic community. This clergy has been cherishing the long-established peaceful coexistence of the various cultures and religions, and promoting united Russian statehood." Secular authorities vitally need reliable and influential allies on the anti-terror cause, Vladimir Putin went on. Of no smaller importance is Church contribution to social welfare programmes-suffice it to mention aid to children in parental neglect, efforts against drug addiction and trafficking, shelter establishment, and assistance to seniors and limited-abilities people. "The Church has ample and precious traditions of charity, and they are welcome in that sphere. Of this, I am convinced," said the President
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