At the Economic Forum in St Petersburg the Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a 10 billion dollar investment plan to build new roads and railways across the country. The economic talks were however overshadowed by an ongoing disagreement over artworks stolen from East Germany by the Soviet Army during World War II, which featured large at the press conference.
Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to play down the dispute: “It is a very sensitive point for both sides. Therefore if we want to move forward, we should not magnify the problem but look for solutions.”
Later in the day the two leaders visited the Hermitage Museum where they opened a major new exhibition which includes some of the disputed oeuvres, but only after a day during which it looked as if the date would be called off. It had been reported that Angela Merkel’s plan to mention the dispute during her speech was not acceptable to her hosts.