Bush in SochiAir Force One has landed today in Adler airport, marking the beginning US President’s first visit to Sochi on his two days work trip. It will most likely be the last time George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will meet as presidents, as Putin’s second presidential term will end in May.

There was no official word on what will be discussed during the meeting, but there sure are a lot of issues to be discussed between the US and Russia. Like Kosovo, anti-missile defense (many believe this one will be the main topic), NATO expansion, the Russian-U.S. relations and many other. «The Times» reports that Putin will officially propose the tunnel between Alaska and Russia’s Far East. And Russian media reports about possibility of signing a “strategic framework” document — sort of “road map” of the Russia-US relations, the guide for Next Russian and US Presidents (the next Russian President will take office in May and the presidential elections in the USA will take place in the end of this year).

The US delegation has 700 people, including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and US Ambassador to Russia William Burns. Russian delegation will include all their counterparts, and president-elect Dmitry Medvedev.

The first day is over now and there was no official “business” talks, it was all about pleasure: Putin gave tour to George and Laura Bush of future Olympic areas, presented scale models of Olympic projects, sea shore walk and sunset watch (how romantic *rolling eyes*), fancy dinner with a concert in presidential residence “Bocharov Ruchei”.

Bush and Putin in Sochi 2008

Other non-political plans for Bush and Rice this weekend includes splice graft on “Derevo Druzhby” (Tree of Friendship). The Tree of Friendship is a real tree, onto which “VIP guests” implant branchlet from another kind of tree. Currently there are over 630 implants, from representatives of 167 countries, including 10 made by Presidents or Kings. Rice is also expected to visit Fourth Municipal Hospital and Cardiological Center.

Tomorrow are the political talks, which will include Bush-Medvedev meeting. But I’ll let you read on this in your preferred propaganda sources :)

Meanwhile this visit, as any other high level guest’s visit, brought hell to Sochi residents. The traffic problems are a major pain as the roads get blocked often in advance to allow VIPs to pass, and there are cops in pairs on every intersection. The road police has asked local residents to use public transportation instead of personal autos whenever possible.

Bush view Russian Olympic projects

There was nothing especially interesting on this visit in local Sochi news or blogs. Just one blog entry talking about 100 US soldiers arriving to Sochi few days before Bush’s visit, and that their stay is in Radisson Peak Hotel in Krasnaya Polyana, which is quite far away from “Bocharov Ruchei”. This sparked a rumor that Bush will stay in Krasnaya Polyana as well. This did not turn out to be the case.

Following Russia Today video basically summarises first day of Bush’s visit to Sochi.

photo (c) kremlin.ru

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