US President George W.Bush is coming to Moscow for an official visit on the evening of Thursday, May 23. According to Sergei Prikhodko, the deputy head of the Kremlin administration, Bush's jet lands in Moscow at 8:00 p.m. Moscow time. Russia's Vice Premier Viktor Khristenko will meet the president at the airport and escort him to his residence at Moscow's Mariott Grand Hotel.
The next day begins with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Grave of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin Wall. At 10:00 a.m., the presidents of Russia and the USA meet in the Green Reception Room of the Grand Kremlin Palace in the presence of Vladimir Rushailo, the Secretary of Russia's Security Council, and Condoleezza Rice, Bush's National Security Adviser.
After a tete-a-tete talk, the presidents move on to the Catherine Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace to join their teams for yet another round of talks. The Russian team consists of Premier Mikhail Kasyanov, Vladimir Rushailo, Vice Premier and Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref, Energy Minister Igor Yusufov, Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev, Rosaviakosmos chief Yury Koptev, and officials from the presidential administration.
After the talks, the St. Andrew Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace will host a document-signing ceremony. After that, both presidents will meet with journalists.
At about the same time, the Kremlin will host a meeting between the presidents and businessmen from Russia and the USA.
An official breakfast at the Russian president's is scheduled for about 2:00 p.m.. After that, Putin and Bush may take a little walk around the Kremlin.
In the evening of the same day, Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin will host a dinner in honour of George and Laura Bush. The dinner -- "personal affair," as Prikhodko put it -- is being arranged in response to the hospitality of the Bush couple, who welcomed the Putins at their ranch in Crawford, Texas, during the Russian president's trip to the USA.
On Saturday, May 25th, the two presidents will travel to St. Petersburg, which is right now having its "White Nights" season, each on his own jet. After a joint wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial to victims of the city's 900-day-long blockade /of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945/ at Piskarevo Cemetery, Putin and Bush will visit the Hermitage -- one of the world's largest museums -- to have some breakfast and view the displays.
At about midday, the presidents will meet with students at St. Petersburg University. In the evening, both presidential couples will visit the Mariinsky Theatre to watch "The Nutcracker" ballet. After that, they may take a night-time trip down the Neva.
On Sunday, May 26th, the Bush couple will attend a church service at the Kazan Cathedral and pay a visit to a local synagogue. After that, Putin and Bush will meet at the Russian Museum, which houses yet another large collection of Russian works of art, to view the displays and have a small tea party.
On the same day, the Bush couple will leave Russia for France.
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