ST. PETERSBURG - President of the World Bank James Wolfensohn intends to familiarize himself with the implementation of the World Bank program in Russia.
He made his intention known to journalists at the Pulkovo airport outside St. Petersburg on Sunday afternoon, recalling that "the bank is carrying out a serious program on Russia."
He added that the bank "fully supports what Russian President Vladimir Putin is doing to transform Russia into a very serious and competitive state."
He also wished that the reforms the Russian leadership is forging yield better living conditions for all in the country. "They [the reforms] should affect every rank-and-file citizen and the lowest income holders," the World Bank chief said.
Wolfensohn has arrived in Russia on a six-day visit at the invitation of the Russian government. He is scheduled for meetings with President Vladimir Putin, Premier Mikhail Kasyanov, and Central Bank Head Viktor Gerashchenko, government members, and regional administrators.
In St. Petersburg, where Wolfensohn started his visit, he will address the World Bank conference on Empowerment, Opportunity and Security through Law and Justice opening in St. Petersburg on Sunday night.
In the course of his visit, the Russian government and World Bank could sign legally binding documents on some of the projects in Russia, approved by the bank's board of directors since the World Bank president's last visit to Russia.
The World Bank has approved the draft of an education reform, a Moscow transportation project, blueprints to upgrade the city's heat, water supply and sewage disposal systems and a plan to solve the social problems facing the population in the north of Russia.