Putin arrives in Saransk to meet leaders of Finland and Hungary
( Itar-Tass ) - President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Saransk to take part in the First International Festival of Finno-Ugrian peoples jointly with President of Finland Tarja Halonen and Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenz Gyurcsany.
Thursday's agenda of the three leaders is rather tough and includes many events during which they will familiarize themselves with every-day life and traditions of the Finno- Ugrian peoples.
Putin, Halonen and Gyurcsany will speak at an opening ceremony, then will visit a new Ice Palace and an folk exhibition - Masters' Township in the center of Saransk. They will also meet heads of the International Consultative Committee of the Finno- Ugrian peoples and the Association of the Finno-Ugrian peoples of Russia.
The high guests of the folk festival will familiarize themselves with a collection of folk costumes and visit the settlement of Staraya Terizmorga, where they will visit a secondary school, a church, a national cultural center and an ethnography museum.
The Russian president also intends to have separate bilateral talks with the presidents of Finland and the Hungarian prime minister.
Putin had earlier been to Saransk three times - in 1999 when Putin was prime minister, then in July 2002 and in August 2006.
The settlment of Staraya Terizmorga is a municipal center situated 72 kilometers off Saransk with a population of 856. A local school exists here since 1883. There are 23 teachers and 141 students at school now. In 2007 the school won the presidential grant worth one million roubles. The school has a computer class connected to the Internet.
The St. Nicholas church was built in 1892 on funds raised by local residents. At present, the church has been restored at the expense of parishioners' donations and charities.