On 20 May 2013, Secretary General Jagland met Russian President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov in the Russian city of Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
An immediate outcome of the talks was an agreement to transform the existing Council of Europe presence to a programme office to support the administration of Council of Europe programmes in Russia. In addition, a more broad-based cooperation, covering several Council of Europe areas, and its financing were discussed.
Discussions also covered recent legislative initiatives in Russia, including the controversial law on foreign agents.
"The Council of Europe is ready to assist Russia in any possible way with on-going reforms", underlined Secretary General Jagland.
President Putin emphasised that the Council of Europe remains a fundamental partner for the Russian Federation, and he welcomed the enhanced cooperation with the Council of Europe. The President also underlined the unique role of the Council of Europe as a pan-European organisation helping to create a Europe without dividing lines, based on common democratic values.
On 20-21 May 2013, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland is making a working visit to the Russian Federation.
Besides meeting President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, Jagland will have meetings with Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov, and Sergey Naryshkin, Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation . He will speak at the joint meeting of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee and the Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Development. Mr Jagland with also meet His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.