Russia's President Vladimir Putin hopes to establish with the US Congress contacts which will be just as good as what are emerging between him and US President George W. Bush, so that all aspects of Russian-US partnership may be discussed, said Mr. Putin as he was visiting the Capitol to meet prominent US Congressmen--Thomas Daschle, Senate Majority Leader; Dennis Hustert, Congress Speaker; Trent Lott, Senate Republican leader; and Richard Gephardt, Congress Democratic leader. Leaders of foremost Senate and Congress committees are also attending the conference. President Putin highlighted Russia's numerous friends on the US top legislature, who are working to promote bilateral contacts. He thanked a group of Congressmen for a recent written request to President Bush to step up such contacts. The Russian President thanked the Congress top for the present opportunity to meet American legislators. "We Russians well know the part the House of Representatives and the Senate are playing in US domestic and foreign policies," he remarked.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign