10:25 Oct. 19, 2016
Located near the Eiffel Tower, it is seen as a display of Moscow's religious might and influence
A ‘spiritual and cultural center' of the Russian Orthodox Church is to be open in Paris today, October 19, according to the Ukrainian office of RFE/RL.
Located not far away from the Eiffel Tower, the center is financed by the Kremlin, which payed almost 170 mln. euro for it to be built.
Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky is said to take part in the opening ceremony of the complex, which consists of a cathedral with five gilded bath-houses, a school and a cultural center.
President Putin was also expected to be present during the ceremony, but he cancelled his trip to the capital of France last week amid tensions between Russia and the West over Syria.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow plans to consecrate the buildings during his visit to Paris in December 2016.
The center in the heart of France is seen as a display of Russia's might as a religious power, in addition to Moscow's attempts to demonstrate its military might.
Analysts say that Putin has mobilized the religion and faith, with the help of the Kremlin's close ally - the Russian Orthodox Church, to strengthen his country's influence.