At the same time as Putin was conducting his Gogolian dinner-seminar in Lahti, his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, was delivering a contribution to a more conventional seminar in Moscow devoted to the theme "For the Future of Democracy". Goltz gives a quotation from this homily:
The head of Russia's foreign ministry addressed the question of the the danger of "party-political apathy", which in his opinion had enveloped Europe: "We should all reflect that it is possible to resist this challenge. After all, nature abhors a vacuum. And a political vacuum immediately starts to be filled with ideas, which are occasionally not harmless and are indeed harmful, preventing healthy social development. Nationalism and populism, xenophobia and intolerance, the various manifestations of misanthropy - all these are completely real threats .""It's as if," Goltz observes, "he had sketched this picture from nature, looking at the Kremlin from the window of his office on Smolenskaya Street."