Activists came out with a united call for Russia's release of 30 Greenpeace activists after being jailed for protests against Arctic oil drilling.
Russia has previously placed trade restrictions on former Soviet Union nations to discourage them from building close relations with the EU.
The EU and Russia have begun talks dominated by the Syria crisis and Brussels's decision to lift its arms embargo on Bashar al-Assad's foes.
Cyprus's Finance Minister Michalis Sarris has left Moscow empty-handed after a two-day push to secure the island a financial lifeline failed.
Russia has warned that Syria president Bashar al-Assad would not be persuaded to leave, but insists a political solution to the conflict is possible.
Vladimir Putin has insisted he favoured dialogue with Russia's protest movement but said this was impossible as they had no leader nor programme.
Russia has broken the shackles of state-planned economics but remains tied to oil prices and the whims of a bloated bureaucracy.
Russia has made desperate efforts to give a vital boost to a pioneering Mars probe that now hangs in a low Earth orbit and could crash back down.
On Saturday Russia said it would lift a ban on grain exports that was imposed in August 2010 in the middle of a drought that wiped out harvests.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev marked his 80th birthday on Wednesday by advising Vladimir Putin against running for president.