The all-Russia movement Liberal Russia gathers for a congress in Moscow on Saturday, December 22. According to one of the movement leaders, Sergei Yushenkov, a deputy of the State Duma, or the lower house of the Russian parliament, the purpose of the event is to initiate transformation of Liberal Russia into a political party. The transformation itself was roughly scheduled for March, 2002. In the meantime, deputies intend to discuss problems of party construction in the regions, as well as a few drafts of the party Statute and two program documents that constitute the ideological basis of the future party and its program. The movement Liberal Russia was founded in 2000, currently numbers around 6,000 members, and is led by State Duma deputies, former members of the party Union of Right Forces. The Executive Committee of Liberal Russia is headed by State Duma deputy Vladimir Golovlev. The movement names entrepreneur Boris Berezovsky, who has escaped from Russian justice authorities abroad, as its major ideologist and sponsor. In the past, the ex-oligarch was repeatedly heard declaring his intention to set up "a real liberal opposition" in Russia. Today, Russian Liberals say they have "objectively common interests" with Berezovsky.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea