Vladimir Putin is convinced that the Commonwealth of Independent States "has a good chance of becoming an influential regional international organisation." The CIS is capable of "successfully solving issues related to security and interaction, political and economic alike," the Russian president told Greek newspapers To Vima and Eleftherotypia. The text of the interview was handed over to RIA Novosti by the presidential press service. "The power of integration processes on the post-Soviet space originates from the public and business initiative of citizens," stressed the president. He also pointed out the great uniting power of direct links between market participants, public associations and corporations. "State structures have to catch up with these processes," he added. Recalling the recent anniversary summit of the Commonwealth, Putin said, "We met in Moscow to analyse our past activity and discuss the future of the CIS in the light of the changes happening in the world in the wake of September 11th." The president noted that the disintegration of the USSR was very painful for the majority of people in Russia and other former Soviet republics. "But we managed to live through this ordeal with dignity," he stated. "We began establishing cooperation on a new basis." Putin stressed the importance of preserving all the good things about relations inside the former Soviet Union. "We always felt proud of our polyethnicity, of the variety of our cultures, traditions and languages. Today, we are once again coming to regard our difference from each other not as an obstacle to cooperation but as an advantage," concluded the president.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated