Russian Church's Patriarch Calls For Dialogue

Published January 7, 2012 9:45AM (EST)

MOSCOW (AP) — The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has urged the government to listen to protesters demanding free elections.

Patriarch Kirill warns that Russia cannot afford another revolution.

He says "the government should, through dialogue and by listening to society, correct the course and then everything will be fine."

Tens of thousands of people turned out for two demonstrations to protest vote fraud in last month's parliamentary election and call for an end to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's rule. A third demonstration is planned for Feb. 4, a month ahead of the presidential election that Putin hopes will extend his power for six more years.

The patriarch spoke in a televised interview Saturday, the day on which Russians and other Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas.

By Salon Staff

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