Larry King asks Putin if he’s religious (2000)

Larry King Live

Russian President Vladimir Putin Discusses Domestic and Foreign Affairs

Aired September 8, 2000 – 9:00 p.m. ET

[…]

KING: There is much talk about Vladimir Putin and religious faith. I’m told that you wear a cross. Is that true? Are you religious? What are your feelings in this area?

PUTIN (through translator): I prefer — I would prefer not to develop on that subject in detail. I think such things are sacred for everybody. Everybody’s belief is not to be shown off, it’s inside a man’s heart. As regards to wearing cross, earlier I never had it — once my mother gave it to me and when I visited Israel. I was there two times. First on an official invitation of the minister of foreign affairs of that country. The second time, I liked the country, and I traveled there with my family as a tourist.

So my mother gave it to me to have a blessing there at the Tomb of Lord. I did so and now it’s with me always.

Incidentally enough, there was a story about this cross and since then I have always decided to have it on my body, now in the Dacha close to St. Petersburg, there was fire on the Dacha, it happened because of the fact that something went wrong with sauna.

Prior entering sauna, I took off the cross before entering the sauna, and then with my friend we jumped out naked, since it was so unexpected. And I cherish that cross very much, it was my mother’s cross, and the fire was really in earnest at the time. So I was thinking about whether perhaps it could get even remnants of it, it was an aluminum-made cross, a very simple thing.

I was surprised completely when one of the workers, just muddling through those ashes of the remnants, found that cross intact. And the house fell, that was a surprise, a revelation, and therefore I always now keep it with me.

KING: Do you believe there is a higher power?

PUTIN (through translator): I believe in human beings. I believe in his good intentions. I believe in the fact that all of us have come to this would [world?] to do good. And if we do so, and if we do so together, then success is awaiting for us. And both with regards to our relations as people to people, or inter-state relations. And most important, we will achieve the ultimate goal, comfort in our own heart.

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