ISLE OF LIPNO, LAKE ILMEN, Novgorod region, September 10. /TASS/. President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have decided to spend the weekend together doing outdoor activities and have chosen the Novgorod region for the purpose, the presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Saturday.
The hike began in the afternoon when Putin and Medvedev came together to Lipno Island. From there, they headed on a motor boat down the delta of the river Msta for a float on Lake Ilmen.
The weather was quiet, with wavelets on the water, and Putin and Medvedev thus had an opportunity to cross the distance of several kilometers and to speak to each other in a highly informal setting.
During the cruise, they came across fishermen who were fishing with the aide of a drag from two wooden boats of about 12 meters long. They were amazed to see the two top officials of the country.
Putin and Medevedev stopped by fishermen's boats, greeted them and then invited them to join their conversation.
The fishermen showed VIP hikers how to catch fish with a drag extended between the two boats. It is known from historical records that people living around Lake Ilmen used to fish this way back in the middle of 13th century.
As in the olden days, the fishermen set out on their fishing party on big wooden boats under sales. They don't use either oars or motors in the process.
Putin asked the fishermen in detail about how the boats are made and about the size of the catch, while the men told him about the fish species habitating the lake - the river perch, the bream, the sander, the pike, and the dogfish.
Putin and Medvedev promised the fishermen to help keep up this traditional seining from sailboats. They said it in response to their interlocutors’ complaint that the current legislation does not have a provision for registering their boats, as they do not match any position on the classification of small-size shipping vessels.
"OK, we’ve heeded you," Putin said. "We’ll surely help you, all the more so the vessels we saw here today are completed copies of the wooden boats people built here several centuries ago. They are working on Lake Ilmen and that’s why there’s no problem."
Medvedev said this technique of fishing is very sparing, as the fishermen do not use either motors or fuel for their boats.
In addition to it, Putin promised to solve the problem with the clearing of river beds in the Novgorod region.
"We’ve spoken to the (regional) governor and he will draft the necessary documents and then we’ll ask Dmitry Anatolyevich (Medvedev) to allocate the monies - about 80 million rubles annually," Putin aid.
The fishermen said in response support of this size would help settle the problem, which had been accumulating over decades, in about five years’ time.
The Isle of Lipno is one of the most picturesque places on Lake Ilmen. It has only one permanent resident at present - an old woman. Fishermen often make stopovers here during their fishing parties.
The main sight on the island is the Church of St Nicholas that was built here in 1292. It is one of the first stone churches erected in the Russian land after the devastating raids by the Golden Horde regiments in the middle of the 13th century.