Participants in the 10th Russian-German “St. Petersburg Dialogue” forum, which drew to a close on Thursday, described this year’s event as having a strong “human dimension.”
The forum brought delegates to Yekaterinburg to discuss the traditional topics of economics, politics, education, and also sports. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also acknowledged that the majority of the Russian delegation had supported the German team in the South African World Cup
Moreover, Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed football during their farewell meal on Wednesday night. Medvedev revealed that one of the dishes served was “one of Paul the Octopus’s brethren.”
First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, who served as the Russian co-chair for the forum, said that although last year’s event, held during the peak of the global economic downturn, had focused on economic issues, this year cultural cooperation had been equally important. Another major issue discussed at the forum was the mutual abolition of visa requirements.
According to Medvedev, the strongest support for abolishing the visa requirements had come from German, not Russian, businesspeople. Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted in turn that moving towards the abolition of visa requirements would hardly be a “short and easy process,” but also acknowledged that this was the “right goal.”