Russian president visits cathedral on islands notorious for Soviet labor camp

Posted: Friday, August 24, 2001

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin's summer vacation took him to the northern Solovetsky Islands and a 15th century monastery that was confiscated by the Soviet Union to house its first labor camp.

Patriarch Alexy II, Russian Orthodoxy's leader, showed Putin around the huge monastery, a popular pilgrimage site that his church regained in 1991, Russian news agencies reported.

Putin was said to be the first Russian head of state to visit the remote islands since Czar Alexander II in 1858.

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