Mr Putin said he was in favour of signing a treaty on the status of citizens of the Russian Federation in Azerbaijan and citizens of Azerbaijan in Russia. Russia’s Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov informed the audience that an agreement had been reached with the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan to draft such a document.
Mr Putin said that Azerbaijan had preserved a considerable part of its Russian culture, with 400 schools, Russian-language newspapers, and the Slavic University. The President said he was aware of the problems facing the Russian diaspora in Azerbaijan, so 35,000 textbooks had been delivered to Baku today for schools and universities that instruct in Russian.
The head of state also said he favoured supporting Great Patriotic War veterans. The Russian 2001 budget allocated the necessary funds for these purposes and provided for expenditures to invite expatriates living in Azerbaijan to rest or receive medical treatment in Russia.
The President stressed Russia did not plan to introduce a visa regime with Azerbaijan.