The Dalai Lama’s representative in Russia, Telo Tulku Rinpoche, resigned from his role as the leader of the Republic of Kalmykia’s Buddhists on Sunday.
On Sunday, January 29, Telo Tulku Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s representative in Russia, resigned from his role as the Shajin-Lama, the leader of the Republic of Kalmykia’s Buddhists. The precipitating factor? Two days earlier, Russia added Telo Tulku’s name to its registry of foreign agents.
As journalist Lucian Kim offers via Twitter, the Rinpoche also known as Erdni Ombadykov “became the spiritual leader of Kalmykia’s Buddhists in 1992. He has restored temples destroyed by Communists and organized the Dalai Lama’s 2004 visit to Russia.” But, Radio Free Europe reports, he “fled Russia for Mongolia last fall, where he [has been] helping thousands of Kalmyks who left Russia after Moscow launched its war against Ukraine in late February, 2022.”
In October, Telo Tulku openly condemned the war, saying, “I think it is wrong; nobody needs this war. We are all living in the twenty-first century, all of us want to live peacefully, each country wants to develop. I think the Ukrainian side, of course, is right — it is defending its country, its land, its truth, its constitution, its people. It is very difficult to say and accept that Russia is right. It is very hard to say so, and this is what I cannot [say].”
After having his name added to Russia’s list of “foreign agents,” Telo Tulku announced his resignation, saying that he considered it “reasonable” in light of what had occurred.