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Governor Matviyenko Paints Rosy Picture

Published: April 1, 2005 (Issue # 1057)


Governor Valentina Matviyenko painted a rosy picture of St. Petersburg in her annual address, saying she would like to see it as a prosperous European city in which the incomes of its citizens grow steadily.

In her second address delivered to the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, Matviyenko ignored the fact that official statistics show that the strengthening ruble and rising inflation slowed income growth in 2004. She focused on figures suggesting the city has been successful in improving the investment climate.

"The arrival in the city of some of the country's biggest tax payers will raise city revenues by 5 billion rubles ($180 million)," she said. "And that is a conservative estimate."

In 2004, City Hall succeeded in convincing several large enterprises, most of which have strong connections to the federal government, to re-register their head offices from other regions, mainly Moscow, to St. Petersburg. The companies include Vneshtorgbank, Sovkomflot, Transnefteprodukt, the Northwest Federal Network Co. and Territorial Generating Company No. 1.

LUKoil and Rosneft have also opened branch offices in the city.

The total volume of investments in the city grew 40 percent to an estimated $900 million, according to City Hall statistics.

"The main thing here is not the figures, though the statistics are at record levels," Matviyenko said. "The investment landscape has been changed. We are no longer being treated as an economic province, as a city that is merely a source for pleasure because of its culture sites, where it is impossible to operate big business."

Among the biggest projects launched in the city in 2004 Matviyenko mentioned electronic equipment production plant Elcotech, a Knauf plant making construction materials, the Tinkoff brewery, Gillette, Pepsi, Russky Standart, Yarovit Motors and First Furniture Factory. Investments in these projects ranged from $20 million to $100 million.

While the investments are growing, the average income of city residents stayed practically the same last year, going up by about 13 percent in face value compared to 2003, or about the same amount as inflation, according to official statistics presented in the local media. In 2003, city incomes grew about 32 percent.

But Matviyenko said the average city income grew 26.5 percent in 2004 to about 8,665 rubles ($311) a month.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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