Before...

Before...

This lunchtime five of us РAICESIS President Antonio Marzano and Secretary General, Patrick Venturini, French Council President Jacques Dermagne, EESC REX President Filip Hamro-Drotz and me Рheaded off in a delegation to meet Vice-Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov and a delegation composed of Yevgeniy Velikhov, President of the Russian Civic Chamber, Alexander Sholkin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, and Mikhail Shmakov, President of the Russian Federation of Independent Trades Unions.

...and afterZhukov was about to chair a session of the Russian Tripartite Commission on Social and Labour Relations. Ours’ was basically a courtesy visit. Nevertheless, it was interesting to hear echoes of the challenges facing our own (EU) social dialogue in the presentations made by Vice-Prime Minister and the delegates. I got a little thrill out of being in the White House – this is the other White House, the one the tank shelled from the bridge, the one Yeltsin defended (and the one he then shelled himself)¬†– and it’s now the one that Putin works in. On our way back, all traffic was stopped to let an important dignitary go by. There are only three such dignitaries, our Civic Chamber colleague, Vitaliy, explained: Medvedev, Putin and the Patriarch! Since Medvedev was still in Rome…

…and after