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With little going on at the EU-Russia summit, the "FT's" Charles Clover has a nice piece looking at why the summit was held in a city nine time zones from Brussels.

Not, you might think, a shrewd effort to befuddle the EU bureaucrats in advance of the gas negotiations, but apparently because Klaus hadn't been there:

The Kremlin, apparently, had not wanted to choose the location for fear of offending powerful regional governors who were gunning for the honour of hosting it, “so they said ‘let the Europeans choose’”, according to an east European diplomat.

José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, and Václav Klaus, Czech president - the Czechs hold the revolving EU presidency - had a look at the list of prospective sites before Mr Klaus picked Khabarovsk, because “he hadn’t been there before and wanted to see it”, according to a diplomat, who asked not to be named.

The city, like virtually every Siberian frontier town, boasts pleasant tree-lined central streets named after Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx, numerous parks, statues of Alexander Pushkin and a lapdance establishment that delegates have been advised to steer clear of.

-- Luke Allnutt

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