A delegation of the Russia-Estonia deputy group of Russia’s State Duma is to pay a three-day visit to Estonia – the first visit in the last few years. The Russian delegates will come to Tallinn on the invitation of their colleagues from the Estonia-Russia groups of the Estonian Parliament.
In an interview to BNS the chairman of the group, Reformist Sergey Ivanov says that even seven Russian members of parliament coming to Estonia after a long recess in Russian-Estonian relations is a big event. He says that the Russian delegation includes representatives of economy, culture and tourism committees, who will discuss specific problems with their colleagues from the Estonia-Russia group and with foreign ministry officials. They will also go to Ida-Virus district to consult with local governors and big businessman Tiit Vahi. Ivanov says that the Estonian MPs will certainly raise the question of the building of a new border bridge across the river Narva.
The Russian delegation is led by the coordinator of the Russia-Estonia group Svetlana Smirnova. She last visited Tallinn in 2004 as a delegate from Udmurtia at the World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples. In May 2006 Smirnova supported Estonian MPs from the Centrist and People’s Union parties in their objection to the proposal of Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip to transfer the monument to Soviet soldiers from the center of Tallinn to a cemetery.
The response visit of the Estonia-Russia group may take place in October-November 2006.