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Zeman arrives in Russia, official programme starts today

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Sochi, Russia, Nov 20 (CTK special correspondent) – Czech President Milos Zeman arrived in Sochi, a Black Sea resort, on Monday to start a five-day official visit to Russia, the programme of which will start with Zeman’s meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

Apart from Sochi, Zeman will visit Moscow and Yekaterinburg. On his trip, he will be accompanied by his wife Ivana.

The Czech delegation also includes Industry and Trade Minister Jiri Havlicek and the Presidential Office representatives Vratislav Mynar, Rudolf Jindrak and Martin Nejedly, whose previous contacts with the Russian business environment have been criticised by Zeman’s opponents.

In Moscow, he will meet Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and possibly also the last Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who cancelled a planned trip to Prague due to health troubles in September 2016.

Zeman will attend two business forums, in Moscow and Yekaterinburg, where about 130 representatives of Czech firms, who accompany him on his trip, will debate trade opportunities and economic cooperation, mainly in the energy and transport fields.

Thirteen contracts worth more than 20 billion crowns are to be signed.

While staying in Moscow on Wednesday and Thursday, Zeman will bestow awards on several Russian war veterans and open an exhibition presenting Prague Castle treasures.

In Yekaterinburg, 1,700 km eastwards of Moscow, Zeman will attend a business forum, receive an honorary doctorate of the Ural Federal University, lay a wreath at the monument of Czechoslovak legionaries at the Mikhailov Cemetery and tour the UZGA Aircraft Industries plant where Czech-made L-410 planes are assembled.

Czechs and Slovaks formed Czechoslovak voluntary units or “legions” in Russia, Italy, Serbia and France in World War One to fight Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, of which the Czech Lands as well as Slovakia were part. The legions in Russia were the most numerous and most important of all.

Later on Friday, Zeman will return to the Czech Republic.

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