State Visit from Russia
This morning, His Majesty The King welcomed the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and Mrs Svetlana Medvedeva to Norway in a formal ceremony on the Palace Square.
Her Majesty The Queen, as well as Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess, were also present at the welcoming ceremony in which the King and the President inspected the Kings Guard and greeted a variety of Norwegian officials. President Medvedev also paused to say hello to Norwegian and Russian children who had come to see him.
After the welcoming ceremony, President Medvedev visited the Storting, where he took part in a meeting with President of the Storting, Dag Terje Andersen.
At 1 pm the King and Queen hosted a luncheon at the Royal Palace in honour of President Medvedev and Mrs Medvedeva. The Crown Prince, the Crown Princess and Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner were also in attendance. The menu featured Norwegian ingredients, such as smoked and cured reindeer from Finnmark in the north of Norway, grilled skate and cloudberry parfait.
Commemorating the fallen
It is traditional for heads of state paying an official visit to Norway to lay a wreath at the national monument at Akershus Fortress. Accompanied by King Harald, President Medvedev laid a wreath at the monument in memory of the Norwegians who died during the Second War World.
President Medvedev also honoured 14 Norwegian war veterans with the Russian Anniversary Medal commemorating the 65th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
Exhibition about Soviet prisoners of war
In connection with the state visit, the Falstad Centre opened an exhibition of Soviet prisoners of war at the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum. The King and Queen and the President and his wife were given a guided tour of the exhibition, which relates the history of the prisoners.
Roughly 100,000 Soviet prisoners of war were sent to Norway during the Second World War. Most of the prisoners were soldiers in the Red Army, but 9,000 of them were civilians, including 1,400 women and 400 children. Many Norwegians tried to help the prisoners by smuggling food to them through the fences. A total of 13,700 of them died, however, largely due to hunger, disease and maltreatment.
Following the war, the fate of these prisoners received very little attention, which this exhibition is now helping to rectify.
After viewing the exhibition, the entourage visited the Vestre gravlund cemetery, where President Medvedev laid a wreath at the monument to Soviet soldiers who were killed in Norway.
Following the wreath laying at the Vestre gravlund cemetery, the President left to attend a meeting with Norwegian and Russia business leaders in connection with a business seminar at the Plaza.
Queen Sonja accompanied Mrs Svetlana Medvedeva on a guided walk through Vigeland Park. The Queen and the Presidents wife then visited the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, where they were welcomed by Director Audun Eckhoff.
This evening, a gala banquet is being held at the Royal Palace in honour of President Medvedev and Mrs Medvedeva.
Agreements at Akershus
On Tuesday, President Medvedev will attend meetings with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. Several agreements between Norway and Russia will be signed at Akershus Fortress before the President and his wife attend an official luncheon hosted by the Norwegian Government on the fortress premises.
President Dmitry Medvedev and Mrs Svetlana Medvedeva will leave Norway and travel to Denmark on Tuesday afternoon.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.