Female parliament deputies from the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic States opened a two-day meeting at Russia's State Duma [lower house of the parliament] on Monday to discuss women's role in civil society of the 21st century. State Duma chairman Gennady Seleznyov, in his opening speech, emphasized the growing role of women's organizations in Russia's political life. He said the programmes of many political parties have sections devoted to women. "Real progress must be achieved in solving family, employment and women's security problems," Seleznyov said. He added that the concept of Russia's demographic development for the period until 2015, adopted in September 2001, will help overcome the demographic crisis in Russia. The meeting's programme includes three round-table discussions on "Women's Participation in Decision-Making at All Levels," "Women's Status in the Social and Labour Sphere," and "Woman, Family, Motherhood."
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea