Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexei II attended a Christmas party for children in the Kremlin on Wednesday. Alexei II blessed the 6,000 children who had gathered in the State Kremlin Palace and congratulated them on the holy festival of Christ's birth (the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7th). The patriarch also wished the children a happy new year and expressed his hope that 2002 would be peaceful for Russia. The Kremlin party was organised by the Kremlin's property department, the Moscow government and the Moscow Federation of Trade Unions. Since December 25th, the State Kremlin Palace has been hosting 3 shows for children a day, which has so far entertained 18,000 children. The performances will run till January 11th. This event may claim a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the number of visitors.
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