Putin's favourite monastery

The wooded island of Valaam, in a large lake in northern Russia, is a beacon for Russian Orthodox believers - among them President Putin.

For Assignment on the BBC World Service, reporter Lucy Ash travelled to the monastery there to investigate the growing assertiveness of the church - and its relationship with the Russian government in light of the anti-Putin protest by the punk band Pussy Riot.

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Assignment: Putin's Favourite Monastery can be heard on the BBC World Service at 08:05 GMT on Thursday 25 October 2012.

Black and white archive images and Pussy Riot images courtesy Getty Images and Reuters. Putin at Valaam image courtesy RIA Novosti.

Valaam images by Mikhail Shiskov and Nick Sturdee. Audio by Lucy Ash. Slideshow production by Paul Kerley. Publication date 24 October 2012.


BBC World Service - Assignment

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