Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: "The 14th Dalai Lama prays for his arrival in Russia"

PoliticsRussian Buddhists, whose number is estimated at 1.3 million, pray for the pastoral visit to our country of the spiritual leader of Buddhists, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. And it is understood. Many Hollywood stars, leading politicians and businessmen are eager to meet with him. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and other high awards. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, the embodiment of great compassion, the Great Teacher.


The truth is that Buddhists worship the Dalai Lama as the greatest reincarnation of many spiritual leaders who have chosen to re-birth in order to open the way to the enlightenment of people. 

In 1979, the 14th Dalai Lama made his first trip to the Soviet Union. In 1990, a year after the Nobel Committee awarded him the Peace Prize; the Soviet Union awarded the Dalai Lama with one of the highest awards - the Order of Friendship of Peoples.
Totally, the Dalai Lama visited Russia in 1979, 1982, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996 and 2004. In the post-Soviet period, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama made three pastoral visits to Russia in 1991, 1992 and 2004. The result of the spiritual leader’ meeting with believers of the Buddhist regions of Russia was the revival and strengthening of the spiritual foundations, the spread of peace and non-violence, the preservation of public peace and harmony.
It can be safely asserted that the relations between the USSR, Russia and the 14th Dalai Lama have always been the warmest and closest. They remain the same, to this day. After all, it’s clear that the Russian leaders are not against the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to Russia and never were. This applies to both secular and spiritual leaders of the country.  
The problem with issuing visas to the 14th Dalai Lama arose in Russia as China grew, and China's influence on the economy of our country increased. With the growth of economic interaction, China began to strongly object against the visits of Buddhists spiritual leader to Russia.
China's objections were based on his role as head of the Tibetan "government in exile" - a group defending the independence of Tibet, now an autonomous region within China. Russia, which was fighting the Chechen separatism in the early 2000s, met the wishes of the Chinese government at that time. Thus, since 2004, the 14th Dalai Lama XIV is not allowed to visit the Russian Federation and is deprived of the opportunity to communicate directly with his spiritual students.
Since Tibetan Buddhist followers in Russia are anticipating the meetings with the 14th Dalai Lama in Russia, and due to the fact that the number of adherents of Buddhism is constantly growing, it has become imperative to re-establish communication with the spiritual leader of Russian Buddhists. Due to impossibility of inviting His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Russia, the annual meetings of the 14th Dalai Lama with Russian Buddhists were held abroad: in India and, since 2014, in Latvia.
Over the years, many people took part in these meetings, however, the vast majority of believers cannot afford to travel abroad, and therefore hundreds of thousands of Russians today are deprived of the opportunity to receive a blessing directly from their chief spiritual master. The forced break with the spiritual leader is hard for Russian Buddhists.   
Despite numerous requests from believers, the Russian authorities continue to refuse to issue visa for a pastoral visit of the 14th Dalai Lama, habitually referring to China's special position in this matter. There is no doubt of power of modern China, which turned into an economic giant. Of course, China is a complex partner.
Difficulties in bilateral relations will increase because each party seeks to protect, primarily, its own national interests as it sees them. However, the current situation has changed greatly and can no longer be described as "everything that is beneficial to China is beneficial to Russia." The world is changing rapidly and the need to follow the wishes of China concerning the 14th Dalai Lama is questionable today.
In recent years, the world has radically changed the main priorities in international relations. These changes seriously affected the Russian-Chinese relations. The most striking example was the message of the head of the Central Bank of Russia in China, Vladimir Danilov, who said that Chinese banks refuse to transact with Russian banks due to US and EU sanctions. According to him, "The problems are related to a number of Chinese banks’ expanded interpretation of third countries’ restrictive measures."
Leading researcher of the Centre for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Konstantin Vladimirovich Blokhin, commenting on the current situation, explained that, today, from the economic point of view, the US is more important for China, and Russia is of interest to China as a military and political partner only. Thus, the expert acknowledged that as far as China is concerned, its relations with the United States and other economically developed countries are more important than relations with Russia.
Therefore, the potential of the Russian economy is not of interest to China. There were problems with the export from Russia to China and the Russian investments in the Chinese economy. However, the situation is worsened today, when China is ready to fully support sanctions against Russia imposed by the United States and its allies.   
But we must not lose sight of the fact that Russia has changed much since the beginning of the 2000s. The Chechen war is over. Today, the city of Grozny has become even more beautiful than it was in the pre-war period. The peace returned to the Russian North Caucasus. So, to say that todays China is our ally in the struggle with any kind of separatists would be a great exaggeration. Rather, it can be said that the situation has completely changed, and the former obstacles to the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama are a thing of the past.
In addition, it should be noted that, in July 2012, the Dalai Lama once again stressed that, contrary to the statements of the Chinese authorities, he does not seek Tibet's independence but stands for its democratic autonomy within the PRC. "I repeat: we do not seek independence, we do not seek independence," are the words of His Holiness.
Before his 75th birthday, the Dalai Lama formally renounced his post as head of the Tibetan "government in exile." Today, he is the head of Tibetan Buddhism of the world. Thus, it seems that the Chinese government’s objections against the pastoral visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to Russia are groundless. The Dalai Lama today is a private person.
Another reason why the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama might be useful is the sudden crisis in Ukraine related to creation of an independent autocephalous Orthodox Church there.
Experts argue that the Tomos of the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church will have serious consequences for Ukraine and for Russia. And, probably, for Russia even more so than for Ukraine. After all, the loss of a third of parishes and actually half of the Orthodox world will be a very big blow to the Russian Orthodox Church.
A visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to Russia may show that the Russian authorities are ready to accept one of the world's highest religious leaders as a true friend of our country. That’s why Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who recently returned from Dharamsala after his meeting with His Holiness, said: "The 14th Dalai Lama prays for his arrival in Russia."

Sandzhi Buvaev