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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

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekov's book will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.





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