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The visit programme of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Portugal will include not only political, economic, but also cultural events
The visit programme of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Portugal, starting on Thursday, will include not only political, economic, but also cultural events. The first day will start with talks with President Anibal Cavaco Silva and premier Jose Socrates. They will deal with bilateral relations, and the sides will sign a treaty on appropriating a credit line of 200 million euros to Russian and Portuguese businessmen. The meeting of a roundtable of Russian and EU industrialists will be held at the same time. It will be attended by vice-premier Sergei Naryshkin, Minister of Industry and Energy Viktor Khristenko, Minister for Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina, head of the United Energy Systems of Russia Corporation Anatoly Chubais as well as Portuguese Minister of Economics and Innovations Manuel Pinho as well as appropriate representatives of the European Commission. In the evening, the Russian leader will unveil the unprecedented exhibition “From Peter the Great to Nicholas II: art and culture of Russian Empire in Hermitage collection”. It consists of 600 exhibits, including paintings, articles of decorative art, jewellery, clothing and furniture. Two photo displays were also timed to coincide with the visit. Works by Itar-Tass news photographers will describe Portuguese-Russian cooperation and present-day life of Russia, while an exposition of the Moscow House of Photography will show the Russian view on Europe. Russian pianist Sergei Markarov will render a concert at the Ajuda Palace where Hermitage masterpieces will be put on display. A spokesman of the Portuguese president said on the eve of the visit that the head of state would like to create “a good climate” during the stay of the Russian leader. In Silva’s opinion, this will help to hold successfully the Russia-EU summit, scheduled for Friday in the Portuguese city of Mafra, situated 40 kilometres north of Lisbon. Diplomatic relations between Russia and Portugal had been established in 1779. and the Russian ambassador appeared in Lisbon the next year. Diplomatic relations were severed for over 50 years after the 1917 February Revolution in Russia. They were restored only when the democratic revolution overthrew Salazar dictator’s successor Caetano on April 25, 1974. Relations between the westernmost and the easternmost European countries have been developing successfully over the past few years. The sides witness a rise in trade which hit one billion dollars last year. Russia supplies Portugal with oil and petroproducts, metals and aircraft. Lisbon sells Russia cork, in which the country leads the world, as well as castings, textiles, footwear, machine-tools and equipment. The two countries signed this year an intergovernmental agreement in the tourist industry. The number of Russian citizens, holidaymaking at Portuguese resorts is on the rise. Mutual investments have started. The Russian National Gas Company signed a contract on purchasing 11 hectares of land in the port city of Sines and intends to invest 65 million euros in construction of a factory to produce ethylene. In turn, the Portuguese building company Novopco bought a plot of land in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi where it plans to build a major tourist complex, called “Portuguese Caravella”, by investing 250 million euros.
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