Moscow, August 11, Interfax - Saudi Arabia has increased the quota of Russian Muslims to be able to undertake the hajj this year at Russia's request, Rushan Abbyasov, the first deputy chairman of the Spiritual Directorate of Russian Muslims, said.
"The overall quota of Russian Muslims will be 23,500 seats this year," Abbyasov said at a press conference on Friday.
First groups of pilgrims will set off to Mecca and Medina as early as this weekend, he said.
Initially, the quota was supposed to be 20,500 seats, but the number of people willing to visit the holy sites exceeded it, Abbyasov said. To that end, Ilyas Umakhanov, the commissioner of the Hajj, asked the Saudi Hajj minister to provide additional 3,000 seats.