On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to start the formal part of his first official visit to the USA by a meeting with US President George Bush in the White House. The negotiations will start with only US National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and Russian Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo attending, while other officials will join them later. Among the top officials accompanying Putin are Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov, First Deputy Chief of the Kremlin administration Dmitry Medvedev, Head of the Presidential Economic Administration Anton Danilov-Danilyants, First Deputy Chief of Staff Yury Baluyevsky. A joint press briefing of the Russian and American presidents is scheduled after the business lunch in the White House. Later, President Putin and the Russian delegation are due to visit the Capitol to meet Congress leaders. Around 40 Congressmen are due to take part in the meeting, including Dennis Hastert, the House of Representatives speaker, and Tom Daschle, the Senate democratic majority leader. According to Sergey Prikhodko, deputy head of the Kremlin administration, there will be "a free discussion" in the Congress, and Putin's brief greeting must not be regarded as a full-scale address to the Congressmen. Putin is to give a speech to the Administration, Congressmen, other public figures at the Russian embassy tonight. According to the White House, the Monday aircrash in the New York City will not affect Putin's visit to the US. A senior Washington official told journalists that the visit played a pivotal role for the US and would proceed as scheduled." According to a White House spokesman, the US "highly appreciates Russia's help in combating terrorism and thinks that this creates new opportunities for the two countries' dialogue during the visit".
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