The next meeting between Russia and Germany as part of the Petersburg Dialogue will take place on April 10-12 in St. Petersburg. The topic of the meeting will be 'Russia and Germany in Europe'. It is planned that, as well as the situation in Iraq, the meeting will discuss issues regarding politics, the economy, the mass media, culture, civil society and youth. In addition, participants in the meeting will debate the consequences of NATO and EU expansion.
The topics for the meeting's working sections were determined at a meeting in Munich on November 22, 2002. These will be: 'Civil Society', 'Science and Youth Exchanges', 'Politics', 'the Economy', 'the Media' and 'Culture'. In particular, participants in these sections will discuss issues relating to the new political make-up of the world, Islam in German and Russian culture, anti-Semitism in contemporary culture, and also the commercialization of culture. The 'Media' section will examine the development of common European values and positions in the media during world conflicts.
The Petersburg Dialogue programme was established on the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The regular Petersburg Dialogue meetings, which are held alternatively in Russia and Germany, are intended to initiate a wide-ranging exchange of experience between representatives of political structures, business circles, and cultural and youth elites. The aims of the Petersburg Dialogue are to further understanding between Germany and Russia, deepen joint cooperation in all aspects of society, and oppose prejudices in perceptions of each other.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building