Fourteen million to 23 million Muslims live in this country of about 140 million people, making Islam the largest minority religion......deleted
The Kremlin has worked to facilitate the pilgrimage, part of a strategy to ward off potential unrest among the country’s Muslims and monitor their activities, while also improving ties with Saudi Arabia, where Russia has budding economic interests.
At a meeting with Russia’s Muslim leaders in November, Mr. Putin pledged continued government assistance for the hajj.
The government has created a liaison office that offers pilgrims help with visas and transportation, and the state airline, Aeroflot, often gives pilgrims special rates. The government has also set up a $60 million fund to support Islamic culture, science and education, part of which is designated for state-accredited Muslim schools and universities....
Superficially, this seems to be a descent to full blown dhimmitude for the Russians, complete with a Haj subsidy! Perhaps the Kaangress can export a few Indian psecs like Arjun Singh, Shivraj Patil etc to teach them genuflection to Mohammedans? Here's how you say "Aadab" properly comrade or here's how to throw an "Iftar" party with certified "Halal" etc..
But, read between the lines and it looks like spymaster Vladimir Putin is using the inevitable "pilgrimage" of his country's numerous Mohammedans to keep tabs on their Saudi terror links. I'm a little sceptical, though about "freedom of religion" having any moderating effect on Mohammedans. India is a fine example of such "freedom" taking on an entirely different meaning.