Soros shrugs off cool reception by Ukraine

American businessman George Soros, who arrived today in the Crimea, described his reception by the government of Ukraine as 'not very warm.' The famed magnate and philanthropist made the statement at the Simferopol airport, Rosbalt was told in the offices of Soros' Renaissance Foundation.

He said he was surprised by the nature of the welcome but would manage. He is here on a private, not an official visit, he said, Rosbalt was told. Earlier, the Livadia Palace Museum denied Renaissance's request to use the palace as the site of an international gathering on 'Tolerance and the Rights of Man: Goals and Directions for Non-Governmental Organizations and Donors.' Soros is to take part in the conference. The Palace said it is closed until April 1 by order of fire authorities.

'I know this all stems from a single source, the presidential administration,' Soros said at the airport. He added that he is willing to take part in the conference even if it has no roof over its head. In his statement to reporters, Soros said he was not in Ukraine to make a revolution, as he is accused of abetting in Georgia, but only to speak in favor of just, honorable and open elections in Ukraine, when it votes on October 31.

In addition to his activities at the conference, Soros is to meet with Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, speaker of the parliament Vladimir Litvin, Foreign Minister Konstantin Grishchenko and foreign diplomats.

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