Duterte arrives in Russia for official visit

MOSCOW, Russia (UPDATED) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte touched down in Moscow past 11 pm on Monday evening, May 22 (past 4 am on Tuesday, May 23, Manila time) to begin his 4-day official visit to Russia.

Duterte was given a red carpet welcome, complete with military honors. He was greeted at the tarmac by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Vladimirovich Morgulov.

OFFICIAL ACTIVITIES

May 23, Tuesday

On his first full day, Tuesday, Duterte has no official events. His schedule sent to media states the entire day will be devoted to "President's time." This is likely to give Duterte, who has expressed an aversion for long-haul flights, time to rest before his official activities start.

May 24, Wednesday

On Wednesday, Duterte's first official activity is a visit to the House of the Government for a bilateral meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Around lunchtime, he will then lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

From there, he proceeds to the Moscow State Institute of International Relations where he will be conferred his first honorary doctorate degree as president. He will then give a speech in front of students and faculty of the elite school for diplomats.

In the evening, the President will join a roundtable of Filipino and Russian business leaders. So far, this is the first event with the participation of the contingent of businessmen accompanying him in the visit. 

May 25, Thursday 

On Thursday, his 3rd full day, Duterte and his Cabinet officials will have an expanded bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his ministers at the Kremlin, former home to the tsars and now the official resident of the Russian President. 

At this time, the two presidents will witness the signing of various deals, including one on defense cooperation.

Duterte and Putin are expected to enter into an even smaller meeting, likely one involving just the two of them. 

This will be the 3rd time Duterte will meet Putin, who he has unabashedly called his "idol." Their first meeting was in November 2016 during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Peru. (READ: Duterte on Putin: We've become fast friends)

They met again in Beijing when they attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation hosted by their common friend Chinese President Xi Jinping. In fact, they sat together at the forum's welcome dinner.

On Thursday evening, the Philippine President will attend the Philippine-Russian business forum at a 5-star hotel. He'll then speak at a gathering of Filipinos based in Russia and nearby states.

Later that night, he'll grant a one-on-one interview with Russian TV, a major English-language news channel.

May 26, Friday 

Duterte's last day in Russia, Friday, will be mostly spent in St Petersburg, where he will be welcomed at a ceremony in one of the city's historical palaces.

After that, he will visit a military shipyard and then attend, in the evening, his second Philippine-Russia Business Forum.

Later that night, he departs from St Petersburg for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates where he is set to take part in activities.

OFFICIAL DELEGATION

The following Philippine government officials will accompany Duterte in Russia:

– Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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