Bush (left) with Putin in Bratislava in February 2005 (epa)
July 14, 2006 --Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush plan to hold informal talks today in St. Petersburg before the Group of Eight (G8) summit begins tomorrow.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Bush plans to discuss the escalating Mideast crisis.
Demonstrators speak with local politicians in Butovo about the destruction of a local forest in July 2006 (RFE/RL)
IS RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY MANAGING? Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Western powers seek to pressure Russia under the pretext of concern over its democratic development. He has said Russia is ready to listen to "well-intentioned criticism," but will not allow anyone to interfere in its internal affairs. The Kremlin has been criticized for stifling political oppostion, increasing central control over the media, and cracking down on the work on nongovernmental organizations.