Source: San Francisco Chronicle
http ://w ww.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2004/11/26/international0815EST0472.DTL
On November 26, 2004 San Francisco Chronicle reported, "The Foreign Ministry has decided to grant the Dalai Lama a visa, reversing course after refusing earlier requests amid China's objections to allowing the spiritual leader to visit Russia, a spokesman said Friday. The Dalai Lama would be allowed to travel to the majority-Buddhist Kalmykia republic and his visit would be of a 'solely confessional character,' said Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko. 'We relate with respect to the desire of the more than 1 million Buddhists in our country who have appealed more than once for a pastoral visit by the Dalai Lama,' Yakovenko said."