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Author`s name Ольга Савка

Vladimir Putin Has Only One Chance To Visit Great Britain

It will be impossible for Putin to avoid the Chechen issue

There is no mistake about it. The Russian president may use the official invitation of the British Queen only once during his presidency. Russian Tsar Alexander II was invited to visit Great Britain by Queen Victoria in 1874.

The critics of the operation in Chechnya will most likely use the Russian president's visit. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Helsinki International Group prepared an unofficial festival of documentary films that is called the "Truth About Chechnya." One should also remind of the trial on Chechen envoy Akhmed Zakayev in London. Both Zakayev and his lawyers have already promised to use Putin's visit as a pretext to launch another propaganda campaign devoted to the suffering of the Chechen nation.

It goes without saying that it will not be possible for Vladimir Putin to avoid questions about Chechnya. In fact, if the Russian president goes to European countries, he always has to deal with such questions. However, everybody remembers the story with the TVC channel, when it was closed in Russia: "that was the last non-state channel," "there is no more freedom of speech in Russia," etc.

A lot of experts in the field of bilateral relations believe that neither Iraq, nor Chechnya are the bone of contention between Russia and Great Britain at present. If certain question of international affairs are discussed during Putin's visit to the UK, they will most likely touch upon nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. It is not ruled out in this connection that Putin's visit might build a bridge between Russia, Great Britain and the USA as well. Aleksey Gromyko, chairman of the British Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences said that British leaders play the role of an informal channel to exchange opinions on most important questions, which are then discussed with the USA. This tradition might work during Putin's visit too.

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