The Russian Novosti news agency is offering the most significant, in its political observers' view, events of the year 2001. 1. The unprecedented terrorist attacks on the USA of September 11, and war in Afghanistan. 2. The year marked the beginning of radically new relations between Russia and the US, and Russia and NATO, who agreed on a new pattern of their relations, the so called format "20", that is Russia plus 19 NATO member-countries. 3. The tragedy over the Black Sea. The Tu-154M passenger airliner, en route from Israel, was hit by a missile the Ukrainian anti-aircraft forces launched during military exercises. The accident took the lives of 66 passengers, including 51 Israeli and 15 Russian residents, and 12 crewmen. 4. Escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A few hundred people, both Palestinians and Israelis, including Israeli tourism minister Rehavan Ze'evi and a number of Palestinian officials, have fallen victims to the conflict in 2001. 5. The collapse of petroleum prices in the world markets, something which was triggered by the September 11 terror attacks on the US and slowdown forecasts in the economic development of America and Western Europe. 6. Anti-globalist rallies in Genoa during the Group of Eight summit meeting. Mass disorders and clashes with the police were about to thwart the summit. Nearly 300 people were injured and more than 200 were arrested. The damage caused surpassed $7 million. 7. The USA's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Russian President Vladimir Putin described the decision as erroneous but said it does not threaten Russia's security. 8. Mass disorders, default and resignation of the government in Argentine. 9. Extradition of ex-president Slobodan Milosevic to the Hague tribunal for former Yugoslavia. 10. The first tourist space flight. Dennis Tito, a 60-year-old American millionaire, became the first ever space tourist and the most elderly person who has ever been to space.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
President Vladimir Putin has not released an official statement yet about his position on the issue of the pension reform in Russia