The local authorities in Poznan have banned a demonstration in support of Chechen separatists during Vladimir Putin's visit to the town. The Russian leader will visit Poznan on January 17th on the concluding day of his official visit to Poland. The Russian and Polish presidents will address the second Poland-Russian Economic Forum, which will be attended by more then 300 Polish and 150 Russian businessmen. They are also scheduled to visit an exhibition set up by the Polish construction industry, which has been developed on the territory of Poznan's international market. The Poznan authorities have announced that they have prohibited the demonstration in support of Chechen separatists. However, in spite of the ban, the extremists have not stopped their preparations. The head of the Poznan regional department of the Free Caucasus committee, Piotr Lisevicz, has declared that his people will picket the Poznan international market in the day of the presidential visit. The local Gazeta Poznanska paper reported on Tuesday that Seilam Beshayev, the self-proclaimed speaker of the so-called "parliament of the Chechen republic of Ichkeria", who has been living in Poland for a long time, may take part in the protest. Meanwhile, a regional Poznan court is continuing to unravel the case of an attack made by members of this organisation on the Russian Consulate in February 2002. The minister of the president's office, Andrzej Maikowski, said at a briefing dedicated to Putin's forthcoming visit that he knew nothing about any pro-Chechen demonstrations in the Polish capital, However, he did not rule out the possibility that they may be held.
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