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Sonia Gandhi, President of India's National Congress Party, has arrived on a four-day visit in Russia
Sonia Gandhi, President of India's National Congress Party, has arrived on a four-day visit in Russia. She is to meet top statesmen and Russian delegates of the "Dialogue Between Civilizations" world public forum. Sonia Gandhi is to tour Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladimir and Suzdal. Her visit is to end June 16. She will be accompanied by India's External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh. Sonia Maino, now Sonia Gandhi, was born into the family of Italian businessman Stefano Maino. Her father, who was POW in the USSR during the war, respected Russian history and culture all his life. His three daughters have Russian names. Sonia was educated in Italy and the UK. She knows English, Hindi, French and Spanish, as well as a little Russian. She became acquainted with Rajiv Gandhi at Cambridge, marrying him in 1968. Rajiv Gandhi's active political career was launched in 1984. Sonia Gandhi also became an Indian citizen and converted to Hinduism in 1984. She did her best to improve the situation of Indian women. She repeatedly accompanied Rajiv Gandhi to other countries, the USSR included. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by Sikh terrorists in 1991. Sonia Gandhi then declined to take over as Indian National Congress leader. In 1998 she became a Congress leader and was soon elected as Congress President. Sonia Gandhi likes history, culture, painting, icon painting, ballet and classic music, Russian music included. She has two children - son Rahul and daughter Priyanka
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