Moscow wants to be fully aware of the EU stance on Kaliningrad (Russia's enclave in the Baltic) by the November summit to be held in Copenhagen, director of the Russian foreign ministry's all-European cooperation department Vladimir Chizhov told journalists. According to him, at the present time Russia received "a certain signal which gives grounds for cautious optimism". The sides, Chizhov pointed out, went over from the exchanges of fundamental positions to specific and practical questions. Russia believes that the draft memorandum, which was handed over in Brussels to representatives of 15 EU member countries, could be the basis of agreement.
The Russian side proposes, in the document, specific parameters of the visa-free regime for Russian citizens who are going to visit the Kaliningrad region. This concerns, above all, the railway and bus communications. Moscow, Chizhov pointed out, hopes that the visa-free regime for the Russian citizens who are going to visit the Kaliningrad region will be established in the long-term prospect. "Naturally, the problem will not be solved tomorrow, and a thorough organisational and material preparation will be needed from both sides," Chizhov stressed.
The diplomat also stated that "the point at issue is not Russia joining the Schengen regime." "We are not going to join it just as some EU countries," he pointed out and added that now, Russia hopes to reach an intermediate solution in respect to the transit of Russian citizens to the Kaliningrad region.
Chizhov emphasized that "this is the most acute problem because the Lithuanian side intends to introduce a visa regime for the transit of Russian citizens since January 1, 2003.
Mysterious philanthropist, Rustem Magdeev, had agreed, at his own expense, to donate a sculpture of Rudolf Nureyev, made by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, to the Kazan Opera and Ballet Theatre