Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a welcoming ceremony for Putin today at Budapest's Alexander Palace (epa)
28 February 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today acknowledged Moscow's “moral responsibility” for the bloody Soviet suppression of the 1956 Hungarian uprising.
On this, the first day of a two-day visit to Hungary, the Russian president reminded journalists that his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, had come to Hungary in 1992 and condemned the Soviet role in crushing the revolt.
Putin said that modern Russia is not the Soviet Union, but it still feels "some sort of moral responsibility for these events." Putin said the past must not be forgotten, even while looking to the future.
"Today's modern Russia is not the same as the Soviet Union used to be. I have to say, sincerely, that we all feel in our souls the moral responsibility for those events."
During his visit, Putin will hold talks with Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany and other officials.
While energy issues are expected to dominate talks, the main event is the formal return of a trove of priceless, centuries-old books seized by the Soviet Army during World War II and taken to Russia.