'The Second Petersburg Dialogue Forum, to be held in Weimar, Germany, from April 8 to 10, will illustrate German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's role in European politics,' said Vladimir Lukin, former Russian Ambassador to the US and current Vice-Speaker of the Russian State Duma, in an interview to a Rosbalt reporter today. 'Parliamentary elections are high at hand in Germany, and Herr Schroeder is using his meeting with Vladimir Putin in his political campaign, though he would never admit it.' According to Lukin, as Europe's interest in Russia intensifies, Gerhard Schroeder wants to understand what is currently going on in Russia. Although Europe questions Russian decisions concerning Chechnya and disapproves of the situation in the Russian Parliament and media, the Vice-Speaker believes that Mr. Schroeder envisions no anti-Russian propaganda. Lukin said, 'On the contrary, he might become the person to tell Europe that Russia is not doing as badly as some sources report.'
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea