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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

Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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