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Putin’s Favourite Monastery

25 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 25 October 2012

The island monastery of Valaam in northern Russia is a beacon for orthodox believers and a favourite of President Putin.

He visits with his friend Silvio Berlusconi and has facilitated the donation of a luxury yacht to the monks.

But all is not well with the island's inhabitants. Many resent the lavish lifestyles of some of the prominent clergy and complain that they face eviction by the church from land they thought was their home.

With the recent convictions of the Pussy Riot protestors and a new law going through parliament outlawing blasphemy, Lucy Ash reports on the growing assertiveness of the church in Russia.

(Image: Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin lighting a candle. Credit: ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

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