Prime Minister Reinfeldt and President Medvedev
Kreml visit

Swedish-Russian Relations Thawing

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt are in Moscow today to visit Russia's President Dimitrij Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin.

In Sweden, this is seen as a significant step in thawing the Swedish-Russian relations, which have been frosty since 2008, when Carl Bildt sharply criticised Russia for its actions in the five day war against Georgia.

Among others Bildt drew a line between the arguments used by the Russian leadership - of wanting to protect Russian nationals in South Ossetia - and that used by Hitler. After that, Bildt was not welcome in Kreml.

But an improvement of the relations could be seen during the EU-Russia summit held in Stockholm last autumn. Several commentators also point to the fact that Sweden in November gave a green light to the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which will connect Viborg in Russia with Greifswald in Germany. This will have been appreciated by the Russians, according to the experts.

Bildt and Reinfeldt will start their visit to Moscow by meeting Swedish business leaders, and there a working lunch is planned with President Medvedev. In the afternoon, Reinfeldt and Bildt will meet Prime Minister Putin in the White house and then in the evening, they will meet Russian human rights activists and journalists.

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