Premier Has a Busy First Week

Vladimir Putin's first week as prime minister will be a busy one, featuring a meeting with Japanese judo athletes on Sunday and the announcement of his Cabinet before embarking Monday on a working trip to the Northwest Federal District.

The trip opened with a stop Monday at the Konstantinovsky Palace, a presidential residence outside of St. Petersburg, Putin's hometown, the government said on its web site.

The palace is home to numerous pieces of art, including the collection of the late cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, which was purchased at auction by billionaire Alisher Usmanov in October and then donated to the state. The collection includes 450 pieces of pre-revolutionary art, among them paintings, porcelain figures, plates, vases and works in ivory and glass.

"I want to thank everyone who helped return the collection to the motherland," Putin said Monday, Bloomberg reported.

The trip will also include a visit to the country's oldest shipyard, Admiraltiskiye Verfi, on Tuesday and a Wednesday stop at the Leningrad region port of Primorsk, the web site reported.

In late March, then-President Putin signed a decree calling for the creation of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, a state enterprise into which Admiraltiskiye Verfi was folded.

The Sunday meeting was with a judo delegation from Japan headed by Putin's friend, world champion Yasuhiro Yamashita, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, Interfax reported.

Last year, Putin and Yamashita made an instructional judo video together. The Japanese visitors were in the country to give a master class to the leading Russian judo athletes, Interfax reported.