The Russian side praises the fact that President Jacques Chirac of France has decided to visit Russia, in the first place, after being re-elected for another term.
This was disclosed to reporters by deputy presidential-administration chief Sergei Prikhodko here today.
In his words, this fact highlights Chirac's opinion of Russia's European and global role.
According to the Russian side, President Chirac is the most experienced and influential European politician, Prikhodko stressed.
France influences the solution of international-stability and other global problems to a considerable extent, Prikhodko went on to say.
The Russian leadership perceives its meetings with President Chirac as something highly important because the French leader approaches the projected global situation and strategic issues in a serious manner, Prikhodko told his audience.
The Sochi summit doesn't attach priority to the current situation alone. Both leaders are engaged in largely philosophical conversations, discussing the future system of coordinates for Russia, France and Europe three, five and seven years from now, Prikhodko told those present.
Such conversations make it possible to elaborate long-term cooperation principles, Prikhodko said in conclusion.
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