King Carl XVI Gustaf Of Sweden To Become First Head Of Foreign State To Visit Solovetski Islands

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, due to arrive in Russia on a state visit on October 8, will be the first head of a foreign state to visit the Solovetski Islands. There he will be shown, among other things, the GULAG museum, RIA Novosti learned on the eve of the visit from Henrik Sven Hirdman, Ambassador of Sweden in Moscow. According to the Ambassador, if the programme of the king's stay in Moscow will be of an official protocol nature, the trip to Russia's North has been organized at the king's personal request. During his previous visit to the USSR in 1978 the King visited, apart from Moscow, also Kiev and Samarkand, i.e., Southern cities. Now the king intends to visit St. Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, the Solovetski Islands and Murmansk. The Swedish ambassador noted that King Carl XVI Gustaf is interested in environmental problems. "He is also an athlete and he will not be frightened if the weather in Russia's north becomes stern, for he is used to that," said Sven Hirdman. The King of Sweden has also been invited to visit a district on the Kola Peninsula which boasts excellent salmon fishing places. He is very fond of fishing and was pleased to accept the invitation of Governor Yuri Yevdokimov of Murmansk Region to visit these places. As for the programme of the stay in Russia of Queen Silvia and Crown-Princess Victoria, during the stay in Moscow the queen will visit two social establishments and the Tretyakov Picture Gallery (a major collection of Russian paintings), while the Crown-Princess will visit the Swedish school which is not far from the embassy. In St. Petersburg Queen Silvia will visit a hospital, while the Crown-Princess -- a prison institution, after which both will be taken to the Vaganov Ballet Academy. In Arkhangelsk Her Highness will visit the Malye Karely, a museum displaying old wooden houses and churches. "Regretfully," noted the Ambassador of Sweden, "after visiting the Solovetski Islands, the Crown-Princess will fly to Japan on a business trip."

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