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Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg () is a city and a federal subject (a federal city) of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. In 1914 the name of the city was changed to Petrograd (), in 1924 to Leningrad () and in 1991 back to Saint Petersburg.

In Russian literature, informal documents, and discourse, the "Saint" ( -) is usually omitted, leaving Petersburg (, Peterburg). In common parlance Russians may drop "-burg" (- ) as well, leaving only Peter ( , pronounced as "Piter"; IPA: [ p it r]).

Saint Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on May . From 1713 to 1728 and from 1732 to 1918, Saint Petersburg was the Imperial capital of Russia. In 1918 the central government bodies moved from Saint Petersburg (then named Petrograd) to Moscow.[1] It is Russia's second largest city after Moscow with almost 5 million inhabitants.[2] Saint Petersburg is a major European cultural center, and also an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea.

Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city of Russia.[3] Among cities of the world with over one million people, Saint Petersburg is the northernmost. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is also home to The Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world.[4] A large number of foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and other businesses are located in Saint Petersburg.

Contents


History

Nyenskans, a Swedish fortress, was founded at the mouth of the Neva River in 1611, in a land then called Ingermanland.[5] A small town called "Nyen" grew up around it.

Peter the Great was interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, and he aimed to have Russia gain an ability to take to the seas, so it could trade with other maritime nations.[6] In order to do so, he needed a better seaport than Arkhangelsk, which was on the White Sea to the north.

The Bronze Horseman, monument to Peter the Great On May , during the Great Northern War, Peter the Great captured Nyenskans, and soon set about replacing that fortress. On May ,[7] closer to the estuary (5 km/3 miles inland from the gulf), on Zayachy (Hare) Island, he laid down the Peter and Paul Fortress, which became the first brick and stone building of the new city.[8]

The city was built by conscripted peasants from all over Russia; a number of Swedish prisoners of war were also involved in some years[9] under the supervision of Alexander Menshikov. Tens of thousands of serfs died building the city.[10] Later the city became the centre of Saint Petersburg Governorate. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712, 9 years before the Treaty of Nystad of 1721 ended the war, although he was already referring to Saint Petersburg as the capital (or seat of government) as early as 1704.[11]

During the first few years of its existence the city grew spontaneously around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Saint Petersburg soon started to develop according to a plan. By 1716 Domenico Trezzini had elaborated a project whereby the city centre would be located on Vasilyevsky Island and shaped by a rectangular grid of canals. The project was not completed, but is still evident in the layout of the streets. In 1716 Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond was appointed chief architect of Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great.

The style of Petrine Baroque, developed by Trezzini and other architects and exemplified by such buildings as the Menshikov Palace, Kunstkamera, Peter and Paul Cathedral, Twelve Collegia, became prominent in the city architecture of the early 18th century. In 1724 the Academy of Sciences, University and Academic Gymnasium were established in Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great.

In 1725, Peter died at the age of fifty-two. His push for modernization of Russia had met opposition from the Russian nobility  resulting in several attempts on his life and a treason case involving his own son.[12] Thus, in 1728, Peter II of Russia moved his seat back to Moscow. But four years later, in 1732, under Empress Anna of Russia, Saint Petersburg again became the capital of the Russian Empire. It remained the seat of the Romanov Dynasty and the Imperial Court of the Russian Tzars, as well as the seat of the Russian government, for another 186 years until the communist revolution of 1917.

In 1736 1737 the city suffered from catastrophic fires. To rebuild the damaged boroughs, a new plan was commissioned in 1737 by a committee under Burkhard Christoph von M nnich. The city was divided into five boroughs, and the city center was moved to the Admiralty borough, situated on the east bank between the Neva and Fontanka. Palace Square backed by the General Staff arch and building, as the main square of the Russian Empire it was the setting of many events of great historical significance

It developed along three radial streets, which meet at the Admiralty building and are now known as Nevsky Prospekt (which is now perceived as the main street of the city), Gorokhovaya Street and Voznesensky Prospekt. A Baroque style dominated the city architecture during the first sixty years, culminating in the Elizabethan Baroque, represented most notably by Bartolomeo Rastrelli with such buildings as the Winter Palace. In the 1760s Baroque architecture was succeeded by neoclassical architecture. Map of Saint Petersburg, 1903

The Commission of Stone Buildings of Moscow and Saint Petersburg established in 1762 ruled that no structure in the city be higher than the Winter Palace and prohibited spacing between buildings. During the reign of Catherine the Great in the 1760s 1780s, the banks of the Neva were lined with granite embankments.

However, it was not until 1850 that the first permanent bridge across the Neva, Blagoveshchensky Bridge, was allowed to open. Before that, only pontoon bridges were allowed. Obvodny Canal (dug in 1769 1833) became the southern limit of the city.

Among the most prominent neoclassical architects in Saint Petersburg (including those working within the Empire style) were Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe (Imperial Academy of Arts, Small Hermitage, Gostiny Dvor, New Holland Arch, Catholic Church of St. Catherine), Antonio Rinaldi (Marble Palace), Yury Felten (Old Hermitage, Chesme Church), Giacomo Quarenghi (Academy of Sciences, Hermitage Theatre, Yusupov Palace), Andrey Voronikhin (Mining Institute, Kazan Cathedral), Andreyan Zakharov (Admiralty building), Jean-Fran ois Thomas de Thomon (Spit of Vasilievsky Island), Carlo Rossi (Yelagin Palace, Mikhailovsky Palace, Alexandrine Theatre, Senate and Synod Buildings, General Staff Building, design of many streets and squares), Vasily Stasov (Moscow Triumphal Gate, Trinity Cathedral), and Auguste de Montferrand (Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Alexander Column). In 1810 the first engineering Higher learning institution, the Saint Petersburg Main military engineering School were established in Saint Petersburg by Alexander I. The victory over Napoleonic France in the Patriotic War of 1812 was commemorated with many monuments, including the Alexander Column by Montferrand, erected in 1834, and the Narva Triumphal Gate.

In 1825, the suppressed Decembrist revolt against Nicholas I took place on the Senate Square in the city, a day after he assumed the throne.

Saint Petersburg (Admiralty building and spire in foreground) was, for a long time, capital of the Russian Empire By the 1840s, neoclassical architecture had given way to various romanticist styles, which dominated until the 1890s, represented by such architects as Andrei Stackenschneider (Mariinsky Palace, Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace, Nicholas Palace, New Michael Palace) and Konstantin Thon (Moskovsky Rail Terminal).

With the emancipation of the peasants undertaken by Alexander II in 1861 and an industrial revolution, the influx of former peasants into the capital increased greatly. Poor boroughs spontaneously emerged on the outskirts of the city. Saint Petersburg surpassed Moscow in population and industrial growth and grew into one of the largest industrial cities in Europe, with a major naval base (in Kronstadt), river and sea port.

The names of saints Peter and Paul, bestowed upon original city's citadel and its cathedral (from 1725 a burial vault of Russian emperors) coincidentally were mirrored by the names of the first two assassinated Russian Emperors, Peter III (1762, supposedly a conspiracy led by his wife, Catherine the Great) and Paul I (1801, Nicholas Zubov and other conspirators who brought to power Alexander I, the son of their victim). The third emperor's assassination took place in Petersburg in 1881 when Alexander II fell victim of narodniki (see the Church of the Savior on Blood).

1900 to present

The Russian Revolution of 1917 began in Saint Petersburg when the Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace

The Revolution of 1905 began in Saint Petersburg and spread rapidly into the provinces.

During World War I, the city was renamed Petrograd, meaning "Peter's City", to remove the German word "burg."

In March 1917, during the February Revolution Nicholas II abdicated both for himself and on behalf of his son, thus putting an end to the Russian monarchy. Finland station]]. Between 1924 and 1991 the city was named Leningrad.

The October Revolution which ultimately brought Vladimir Lenin to power, broke out in Petrograd on November 7 8, 1917 (months mismatch due to Julian/Gregorian calendar differences).[13] After that the city acquired a new descriptive name, "the city of three revolutions"[14] which recalls the fact that all these three major developments in the political history of Russia of the early 20th century occurred here.

In September and October 1917, the German troops invaded the West Estonian archipelago thus threatening Petrograd with bombardment and invasion. Thus on March 12, 1918, the Soviets transferred the government to Moscow. During the ensuing Civil War in 1919 general Yudenich advancing from Estonia repeated the attempt to capture the city, but Leon Trotsky mobilised the army and forced him to retreat.

On January 26, 1924, five days after Lenin's death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad. Later some streets and other toponyms were renamed accordingly. The city has over 230 places associated with the life and activities of Lenin. Some of them were turned into museums,[15] as well as cruiser Aurora  a symbol of the October Revolution and the oldest ship in the Russian Navy.

In the 1920s 1930s the poor outskirts were reconstructed into regularly planned boroughs. Constructivist architecture flourished around that time. Housing was nationalized; many 'bourgeois' apartments were so large, that many people who had previously lived in slums now shared these 'communal' apartments (kommunalkas). By the 1930s, 68% of the population lived in such housing. In 1935 a new general plan was outlined, whereby the city should expand to the south. Constructivism was rejected in favor of a more pompous Stalinist architecture. Moving the city center further from the border with Finland, Stalin adopted a plan to build a new city hall with a huge adjacent square at the southern end of Moskovsky Prospekt which could thereby become a new main street of Leningrad. However, after the war, the Soviet-Finnish border was moved to the north, and Nevsky Prospekt with the Palace Square maintained the functions and the role of a city center.

In December 1931, Leningrad was administratively separated from Leningrad Oblast. At that time it included Leningrad Suburban District, some parts of which were transferred back to Leningrad Oblast in 1936 and turned into Vsevolozhsky District, Krasnoselsky District, Pargolovsky District and Slutsky District (renamed Pavlovsky District in 1944).[16] A scene from the diorama  Siege of Leningrad. The siege lasted 872 days and took the lives of over a million people

On December 1, 1934, Sergey Kirov, popular communist leader of Leningrad, was assassinated, which became the pretext for the Great Purge.[17]

During World War II, Leningrad was besieged by German forces.[18] The siege lasted 872 days[18] from September 1941 to January 1944.[19] The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest, most destructive, and most lethal sieges of a major city in modern history. It isolated the city from most supplies except those provided through the Road of Life across Lake Ladoga, and more than a million civilians died, mainly from starvation. Many others were eventually evacuated or escaped by themselves, so the city became largely depopulated. Leningrad was officially awarded the title of 'Hero City' on May 8, 1965

On May 1, 1945 Joseph Stalin, in his Supreme Commander Order No. 20, named Leningrad, alongside Stalingrad, Sevastopol, and Odessa, hero cities of the war. However, a statute bestowing the honorary title of 'Hero City' was only officially adopted on May 8, 1965 (the 20th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War), during the Brezhnev era. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR awarded Leningrad as a Hero City the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal 'for the heroic resistance of the city and tenacity of the survivors of the Siege'. The Hero-City Obelisk bearing the Gold Star sign was installed later, in April 1985.

In October 1946 some territories along the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland, which had passed to the USSR from Finland in 1940 under the peace treaty following the Winter War were transferred from Leningrad Oblast to Leningrad and divided into Sestroretsky District and Kurortny District, including the town of Terijoki (renamed Zelenogorsk in 1948).[16] Leningrad and many of its suburbs were rebuilt over the post-war decades, partially according to pre-war plans. The 1948 general plan for Leningrad featured radial urban development in the north as well as in the south. In 1953 Pavlovsky District in Leningrad Oblast was abolished, and parts of its territory, including Pavlovsk, merged with Leningrad. In 1954 the settlements Levashovo, Pargolovo and Pesochny merged with Leningrad.[16]

Leningrad gave its name to the Leningrad Affair (1949 1952), a notable event in the postwar political processes in the USSR. A product of clan rivalries (where one side was represented by the leaders of the city Communist Party organization  one of the most significant in the country), it afflicted only an elite circle, so the victims of this affair were comparatively few. 23 leaders were sentenced to death, 181 to prison or exile (exonerated in 1954). About 2 thousand were expelled from the party and Komsomol and removed from leadership positions.[20]

The Leningrad Metro underground rapid transit system, designed before the war, opened in 1955 with its first eight stations decorated with marble and bronze. However, after the death of Stalin, the perceived ornamental excesses of the Stalinist architecture were abandoned. In the 1960s 1980s, as many new residential boroughs were built on the outskirts with few series of functionalist apartment blocks identical to each other, many families moved there from kommunalkas in the city centre in order to live in separate apartments. View from the Colonnade, St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg

On June 12, 1991, simultaneously with the first Russian presidential elections the city authorities arranged the mayoral elections and the referendum upon the name of the city. The turnout was 65%; 66.13% of the total count of votes went to Anatoly Sobchak who became the first democratically elected mayor of the city. Meanwhile the economy conditions continued to deteriorate. For the first time since the 1940s food rationing was introduced, and the city received humanitarian food aid from abroad.[21] This dramatic time was being depicted in photographic series of Russian photographer Alexey Titarenko.[22][23] In 1995 a northern section of the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line of the Saint Petersburg Metro was cut off by underground flooding, thus creating a major obstacle to the city development for almost ten years. Cultural events at Peterhof during the celebration of the 300th anniversary of Petersburg

In 1996, Anatoly Sobchak was defeated by Vladimir Yakovlev in the elections of the head of the city administration. The title of the city head was changed from "mayor" to "governor". In 2000 Yakovlev was reelected again. His second term expired in 2004; the long-awaited restoration of broken subway connection was expected to finish by that time. However in 2003 Yakovlev suddenly resigned, leaving a governor's office to Valentina Matviyenko.

After that the law on the City Governor was changed, breaking the tradition of its democratic election by a universal suffrage, and in 2006 Matvienko was reapproved as governor by the city legislature. The residential building had intensified again, real estate prices inflated greatly which caused many new problems for the preserving of the historical part of the city.

Although the central part of the city is watched by UNESCO (there are about 8,000 architectural monuments in Petersburg), the safety of its historical and architectural environment became disputable[24] since after 2005 the demolition of older buildings in the historical centre went into practice.[25] In 2006 Gazprom announced an ambitious project to erect a 396-meter skyscraper opposite to Smolny, which could result in irretrievable loss of the unique line of Petersburg landscape. Urgent protests of citizen and prominent public figures of Russia against this project were not considered by Governor Valentina Matvienko and the city authorities until December 2010, when after the statement of President Dmitry Medvedev it was finally decided to find a more appropriate location for this construction site.

Geography

The golden-domed Saint Isaac's Cathedral dominates the city skyline

The area of Saint Petersburg city proper is . The area of the federal subject is , which contains Saint Petersburg proper (consisting of eighty-one municipal okrugs), nine municipal towns (Kolpino, Krasnoye Selo, Kronstadt, Lomonosov, Pavlovsk, Petergof, Pushkin, Sestroretsk, Zelenogorsk) and twenty-one municipal settlements.

Petersburg is situated on the middle taiga lowlands along the shores of the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland, and islands of the river delta. The largest are Vasilyevsky Island (besides the artificial island between Obvodny canal and Fontanka, and Kotlin in the Neva Bay), Petrogradsky, Dekabristov and Krestovsky. The latter together with Yelagin and Kamenny island are covered mostly by parks. The Karelian Isthmus, North of the city, is a popular resort area. In the south Saint Petersburg crosses the Baltic-Ladoga Klint and meets the Izhora Plateau.

The elevation of Saint Petersburg ranges from the sea level to its highest point of at the Orekhovaya Hill in the Duderhof Heights in the south. Part of the city's territory west of Liteyny Prospekt is no higher than above sea level, and has suffered from numerous floods. Floods in Saint Petersburg are triggered by a long wave in the Baltic Sea, caused by meteorological conditions, winds and shallowness of the Neva Bay. The four most disastrous floods occurred in 1824 ( above sea level, during which over three hundred buildings were destroyed[26]), 1924 , 1777 , 1955 , and 1975 . To prevent floods, the Saint Petersburg Dam has been constructed.[27]

Since the 18th century the terrain in the city has been raised artificially, at some places by more than , making mergers of several islands, and changing the hydrology of the city. Besides the Neva and its tributaries, other important rivers of the federal subject of Saint Petersburg are Sestra, Okhta and Izhora. The largest lake is Sestroretsky Razliv in the north, followed by Lakhtinsky Razliv, Suzdal Lakes and other smaller lakes.

Due to location at ca. 60 N latitude the day length in Petersburg varies across seasons, ranging from 5:53 to 18:50. A period from mid-May to mid-July when twilight may last all night is called the white nights.

Climate

By K ppen climate classification Petersburg is classified as Dfb, a humid continental climate. Distinct moderating influence of the Baltic Sea cyclones result in warm, humid and short summers and long, cold wet winters.

The average daily temperature in July is ; a maximum temperature of occurred during the 2010 Northern Hemisphere summer heat wave. A winter minimum of was recorded in 1883. The average annual temperature is . The Neva River within the city limits usually freezes up in November December and break-up occurs in April. From December to March there are 123 days average with snow cover, which reaches the average of by February. The frost-free period in the city lasts on average for about 135 days. The city has a climate slightly warmer than its suburbs. Weather conditions are quite variable all year round.[28]

Average annual precipitation varies across the city, averaging per year and reaching maximum in late summer. Soil moisture is almost always high because of lower evapotranspiration due to the cool climate. Air humidity is 78% on average, while overcast is 165 days a year on average.

Toponymy

Church of the Savior on Blood

The first and fairly rich chapter of the history of the local toponymy is the story of the own name of the city itself. The name day of Peter I falls on June, 29 when the Russian Orthodox Church observes the memory of Saint Apostles Peter and Paul. The consecration of the small wooden church in their names (its construction began simultaneously with the citadel) made them the heavenly patrons of the Peter and Paul Fortress, while St. Peter at the same time became the eponym of the whole city.

Explanation of Sankt- by the appreciation of Dutch culture by Peter the Great is one of common misconceptions: "Saint-" in Dutch is Sint.[29] The sample which czar Peter followed sounds in the names of another European cities: Sankt Goar in Germany, Sankt Michael in Austria and some others, of which the closest to Sankt Petersburg was Sankt Michel in the rival Swedish Empire (now Mikkeli in Finland). Sankt- in these toponyms is merely a Germanized form of .

Whilst not originally named for Tsar Peter the Great, during WW-I the city was renamed from the Germanic 'Peterburg' to 'Petrograd' in his honour A 14 15-letter long name, composed of the three roots proved too cumbersome, and a lot of shortened versions appeared in habitual use. The first General Governor of the city Menshikov is maybe also the author of the first nickname of Petersburg which he called (Petri). It took some years until the known Russian spelling of this name finally settled. In 1740s Mikhail Lomonosov uses a derivative of (Petropolis, ) in a russified form Petropol ( ). A combo Piterpol ( ) also appears at this time.[30] In any case, eventually the usage of prefix "Sankt-" ceased except for the formal official documents, where a 3-letter abbreviation " " (SPb) was very widely used as well.

In the 1830s Alexander Pushkin translated the "foreign" city name of "Saint Petersburg" to the more Russian Petrograd in one of his poems. However, it was only on , after the war with Germany had began, did tsar Nicholas II rename the capital to Petrograd. Since the prefix 'Saint' was omitted,[31] this act also changed the eponym and the "patron" of the city, from Apostle Peter to Peter the Great, its founder.

From 1924 to 1991 the city was known as 'Leningrad' After the October Revolution, and until the city was renamed Leningrad in January 1924, the name (Red Petrograd) was often used in newspapers and other prints.

In the referendum on reversing the renaming of Leningrad on June 12, 1991, renaming it to Petrograd was not an option. Because of this only 54.86% of the voters (with a turnout of 65%) supported "St.Petersburg". This change officially took effect on September 6, 1991.[21] Meanwhile, the oblast which administrative center is also in St. Petersburg is still named Leningrad.

Having passed the role of capital to Petersburg, Moscow never relinquished the title of "capital", being called pervoprestolnaya("first-throned") for 200 years. A mirroring name for Petersburg in this connotation, the "Northern Capital", is reintroduced today in the sense that several federal institutions were moved from Moscow to Saint Petersburg recently. Solemn descriptive names like "the city of three revolutions" and "the cradle of the October revolution" used in Soviet era reminded the pivot events of national history which occurred here. For their part, poetic names of the city, like the "Venice of the North" and the "Northern Palmyra" emphasize town-planning and architectural features contrasting these parallels to the northern location of this megalopolis.[32] Petropolis is a translation of a city name to Greek, and is also a kind of descriptive name: ~ is a Greek root for "stone", so the "city from stone" emphasizes the material which had been forcibly made obligatory for construction from the very first years of the city.[30] (Its official Greek name is .) After 1991 a wave of re-namings started within the city. It affected not only toponyms of the Soviet era, but in some cases their pre-revolutionary ones (in 1993 Gogol Street which bore the name of Nikolai Gogol since 1902,[33] was renamed to Malaya Morskaya).

Demographics

Soviet era apartment buildings in Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. Per the 2010 Census, the federal subject's population is 4,953,219,4 or 3.4% of the total population of Russia;[2] up from 4,661,219 (3.21%) recorded in the 2002 Census,[34] and down from 5,023,506 recorded in the 1989 Census.[35]

The 2010 Census recorded the ethnic composition as follows:[2] Russian 92.5%, Ukrainian 1.5%, Belarusians 0.9%, Jewish 0.6%, Tatar 0.7%, Uzbek 0.5%, Armenian 0.5%, Azeri 0.4%, Tajik 0.3%, Georgian 0.2%, Moldovan 0.2%, Finns 0.1%. Additionally, 652,827 people were registered from administrative databases, and could not declare an ethnicity. It is estimated that the proportion of ethnicities in this group is the same as that of the declared group.[36] A large-scale public protest in central Sant Petersburg The 20th century saw hectic ups and downs in population. From 2.4 million in 1916 it had dropped to less than 740,000 by 1920 during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and Russian Civil War. The minorities of Germans, Poles, Finns, Estonians and Latvians were almost completely transferred from Leningrad during the 1930s.[37] From 1941 to the end of 1943, population dropped from 3 million to less than 600,000, as people died in battles, starved to death during the Siege of Leningrad, or were evacuated. After the siege, some of the evacuees returned, but most influx was due to migration from other parts of the Soviet Union. The city absorbed about 3 million people in the 1950s and grew to over 5 million in the 1980s. From 1991 to 2006 the city's population decreased to the current 4.6 million, while the suburban population increased due to privatization of land and massive move to suburbs. Based on the 2010 census results the current population is over 4.8 million.[38][39] The birth rate remains lower than the death rate; people over 65 constitute more than twenty percent of the population; and the median age is about 40 years.[40]

People in urban Saint Petersburg live mostly in apartments. Between 1918 and the 1990s, the Soviets nationalised housing and forced residents to share communal apartments (kommunalkas). With 68% living in shared flats in the 1930s, Leningrad was the city in the USSR with the largest number of kommunalkas. Resettling residents of kommunalkas is now on the way out, albeit shared apartments are still not uncommon. As new boroughs were built on the outskirts in the 1950s 1980s, over half a million low income families eventually received free apartments, and about an additional hundred thousand condos were purchased. While economic and social activity is concentrated in the historic city centre, the richest part of Saint Petersburg, most people live in commuter areas. For the first half of 2007, the birth rate was 9.1 per 1000.[41]

Government

Georgy Poltavchenko is the current governor of Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a federal subject of Russia.[42] The political life of Saint Petersburg is regulated by the city charter adopted by the city legislature in 1998.[43] The superior executive body is the Saint Petersburg City Administration, led by the governor (mayor before 1996). Saint Petersburg has a single-chamber legislature, the Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly.

According to the federal law passed in 2004, heads of federal subjects, including the governor of Saint Petersburg, are nominated by the President of Russia and approved by local legislatures. If the legislature disapproves the nominee, it is dissolved. The former governor, Valentina Matviyenko, was approved according to the new system in December 2006. She was the only woman governor in the whole of Russia till her resignation on August 22, 2011. Matviyenko stood for elections as member of the Regional Council of St. Petersburg and won comprehensively with allegations of rigging and ballot stuffing by the opposition. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has already backed her for the position of Speaker to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and her election qualifies her for that job. After her resignation, Georgy Poltavchenko was appointed as the new acting governor the same day.

Saint Petersburg city is currently divided into eighteen districts. Saint Petersburg is also the administrative centre of Leningrad Oblast, and of the Northwestern Federal District.[44] The Constitutional Court of Russia moved to Saint Petersburg from Moscow in May 2008.

Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast, being two different federal subjects, share a number of local departments of federal executive agencies and courts, such as court of arbitration, police, FSB, postal service, drug enforcement administration, penitentiary service, federal registration service, and other federal services.

Economy

Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange]], or Bourse, houses the Central Naval Museum

Saint Petersburg is a major trade gateway, financial and industrial centre of Russia specialising in oil and gas trade, shipbuilding yards, aerospace industry, radio and electronics, software and computers; machine building, heavy machinery and transport, including tanks and other military equipment, mining, instrument manufacture, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy (production of aluminium alloys), chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, publishing and printing, food and catering, wholesale and retail, textile and apparel industries, and many other businesses. It was also home to Lessner, one of Russia's two pioneering automobile manufacturers (along with Russo-Baltic), Lessner; founded by machine tool and boiler maker G. A. Lessner in 1904, with designs by Boris Loutsky, it survived until 1910.[45] The Saint Petersburg docks at dawn

10% of the world's power turbines are made there at the LMZ, which built over two thousand turbines for power plants across the world. Major local industries are Admiralty Shipyard, Baltic Shipyard, LOMO, Kirov Plant, Elektrosila, Izhorskiye Zavody; also registered in Saint Petersburg are Sovkomflot, Petersburg Fuel Company and SIBUR among other major Russian and international companies.

Saint Petersburg has three large cargo seaports: Bolshoi Port Saint Petersburg, Kronstadt, and Lomonosov. International cruise liners have been served at the passenger port at Morskoy Vokzal on the south-west of Vasilyevsky Island. In 2008 the first two berths were opened at the New Passenger Port on the west of the island.[46] The new port is part of the city's "Marine Facade" development project[47] and is due to have seven berths in operation by 2010.

A complex system of riverports on both banks of the Neva river are interconnected with the system of seaports, thus making Saint Petersburg the main link between the Baltic sea and the rest of Russia through the Volga-Baltic Waterway.

The Saint Petersburg Mint (Monetny Dvor), founded in 1724, is one of the largest mints in the world, it mints Russian coins, medals and badges. Saint Petersburg is also home to the oldest and largest Russian foundry, Monumentskulptura, which made thousands of sculptures and statues that are now gracing public parks of Saint Petersburg, as well as many other cities. Monuments and bronze statues of the Tsars, as well as other important historic figures and dignitaries, and other world famous monuments, such as the sculptures by Peter Clodt von J rgensburg, Paolo Troubetzkoy, Pavel Antokolsky, and others, were made there.

Nevsky Prospect plays a central role in the city's commerce In 2007, Toyota opened a Camry plant after investing 5 billion dollars in Shushary, one of the southern suburbs of Saint Petersburg. Opel, Hyundai and Nissan have signed deals with the Russian government to build their automotive plants in Saint Petersburg too. Automotive and auto-parts industry is on the rise there during the last decade. Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum]] is a major Russian investment forum

Saint Petersburg is the location of a significant brewery and distillery industry. It is known as the "beer capital" of Russia, due to the supply and quality of local water, contributing over 30% of the domestic production of beer with its five large-scale breweries including Europe's second largest brewery Baltika, Vena (both operated by BBH), Heineken Brewery, Stepan Razin (both by Heineken) and Tinkoff brewery (SUN-InBev).

The city has a lot of local distilleries which produce a broad range of vodka brands. The oldest ones is LIVIZ (founded in 1897). Among the youngest is Russian Standard Vodka introduced in Moscow in 1998, which opened in 2006 a new $60 million distillery in Petersburg (an area of 30,000 square meters, production rate of 22,500 bottles per hour. In 2007 this brand was exported to over 70 countries.[48]

Saint Petersburg has the second largest construction industry in Russia, including commercial, housing and road construction.

In 2006 Saint Petersburg's city budget was 179.9 billion rubles (about 6.651 billion US$ at 2006 exchange rates),[49] and is planned to double by 2012. The federal subject's gross regional product as of 2005 was 667.905 billion Russian rubles (about 23.611 billion US$ at 2005 exchange rates), ranked 4th in Russia, after Moscow, Tyumen Oblast, and Moscow Oblast,[50] or 145,503.3 rubles per capita (about 5,143.6 US$ at 2005 exchange rates), ranked 12th among Russia's federal subjects,[51] contributed mostly by wholesale and retail trade and repair services (24.7%) as well as processing industry (20.9%) and transportation and telecommunications (15.1%).[52]

Budget revenues of the city in 2009 amounted to 294.3 billion rubles (about 10.044 billion US$ at 2009 exchange rates), expenses 336.3 billion rubles (about 11.477 billion US$ at 2009 exchange rates). The budget deficit amounted to about 42 billion rubles.[53] (about 1.433 billion US$ at 2009 exchange rates)

Cityscape

Hotel Astoria]], a member of the Leading Hotels of the World

Saint Petersburg has no skyscrapers and a relatively low skyline. Current regulations forbid construction of high buildings in the city centre. The tall Saint Petersburg TV Tower is the tallest structure in the city, while the Peter and Paul Cathedral is by far the highest building. However, there is a controversial project endorsed by the city authorities, and known as the Okhta Center, to build a supertall skyscraper. In 2008, the World Monuments Fund included the Saint Petersburg historic skyline on the watch list of the 100 most endangered sites due to the expected construction, which threatens to alter it drastically.[54]

The Trinity Bridge over the Neva Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge features three spans, the central one can be drawn. Unlike in Moscow, in Saint Petersburg the historic architecture of the city centre, mostly consisting of Baroque and neoclassical buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries, has been largely preserved; although a number of buildings were demolished after the Bolsheviks' seizure of power, during the Siege of Leningrad and in recent years. The oldest of the remaining building is a wooden house built for Peter I in 1703 on the shore of the Neva near Trinity Square. Since 1991 the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast have been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The ensemble of Peter and Paul Fortress with the Peter and Paul Cathedral takes a dominant position on Zayachy Island along the right bank of the River Neva. Each noon a cannon fires a blank shot from the fortress. The Saint Petersburg Mosque, the largest mosque in Europe when opened in 1913, is situated on the right bank nearby. The Spit of Vasilievsky Island, which splits the river into two largest armlets, the Bolshaya Neva and Malaya Neva, is connected to the northern bank (Petrogradsky Island) via the Exchange Bridge and occupied by the Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange and Rostral Columns. The southern coast of Vasilyevsky Island along the Bolshaya Neva features some of the city's oldest buildings, dating from the 18th century, including the Kunstkamera, Twelve Collegia, Menshikov Palace and Imperial Academy of Arts. It hosts one of two campuses of Saint Petersburg State University. Admiralty building]]

On the southern, left bank of the Neva, connected to the spit of Vasilyevsky Island via the Palace Bridge, lie the Admiralty building, the vast Hermitage Museum complex stretching along the Palace Embankment, which includes the baroque Winter Palace, former official residence of Russian emperors, as well as the neoclassical Marble Palace. The Winter Palace faces Palace Square, the city's main square with the Alexander Column. Griboyedov Canal

Nevsky Prospekt, also situated on the left bank of the Neva, is the main avenue in the city. It starts at the Admiralty and runs eastwards next to Palace Square. Nevsky Prospekt crosses the Moika (Green Bridge), Griboyedov Canal (Kazansky Bridge), Garden Street, the Fontanka (Anichkov Bridge), meets Liteyny Prospekt and proceeds to Uprising Square near the Moskovsky railway station, where it meets Ligovsky Prospekt and turns to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. The Passage, Catholic Church of St. Catherine, Book House (former Singer Manufacturing Company Building in the Art Nouveau style), Grand Hotel Europe, Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Great Gostiny Dvor, Russian National Library, Alexandrine Theatre behind Mikeshin's statue of Catherine the Great, Kazan Cathedral, Stroganov Palace, Anichkov Palace and Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace are all situated along that avenue.

The Alexander Nevsky Lavra, intended to house the relics of St. Alexander Nevsky, is an important centre of Christian education in Russia. It also contains the Tikhvin Cemetery with graves of many notable Petersburgers.

Russian National Library]] On the territory between the Neva and Nevsky Prospekt the Church of the Savior on Blood, Mikhailovsky Palace housing the Russian Museum, Field of Mars, St. Michael's Castle, Summer Garden, Tauride Palace, Smolny Institute and Smolny Convent are located.

Many notable landmarks are situated to the west and south of the Admiralty Building, including the Trinity Cathedral, Mariinsky Palace, Hotel Astoria, famous Mariinsky Theatre, New Holland Island, Saint Isaac's Cathedral, the largest in the city, and Senate Square, also known as Decemberist's Square with the Bronze Horseman, 18th century equestrian monument to Peter the Great, which is considered among the city's most recognisable symbols. Kazan Cathedral]] Catherine Palace Other symbols of Saint Petersburg include the weather vane in the shape of a small ship on top of the Admiralty's golden spire and the golden angel on top of the Peter and Paul Cathedral. The Palace Bridge drawn at night is yet another symbol of the city. Every night during the navigation period from April to November, 22 bridges across the Neva and main canals are drawn to let ships pass in and out of the Baltic Sea according to a schedule.[55] It wasn't until 2004 that the first high bridge across the Neva, which doesn't need to be drawn, Big Obukhovsky Bridge, was opened. There are hundreds of smaller bridges in Saint Petersburg spanning across numerous canals and distributaries of the Neva, some of the most important of which are the Moika, Fontanka, Griboyedov Canal, Obvodny Canal, Karpovka and Smolenka. Due to the intricate web of canals, Saint Petersburg is often called Venice of the North. The rivers and canals in the city centre are lined with granite embankments. The embankments and bridges are separated from rivers and canals by granite or cast iron parapets.

Southern suburbs of the city feature former imperial residences, including Petergof, with majestic fountain cascades and parks, Tsarskoe Selo, with the baroque Catherine Palace and the neoclassical Alexander Palace, and Pavlovsk, which contains a domed palace of Emperor Paul and one of the largest English-style parks in Europe. Some other residences situated nearby and making part of the world heritage site, including a castle and park in Gatchina, actually belong to Leningrad Oblast rather than Saint Petersburg. Another notable suburb is Kronstadt with its 19th century fortifications and naval monuments, occupying the Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland.

Since around the end of the 20th century a great deal of active building and restoration works have been carried out in a number of the city's older districts. The authorities have recently been compelled to transfer the ownership of state-owned private residences in the city centre to private lessors. Many older buildings have been reconstructed to allow their use as apartments and penthouses.

Some of these structures, such as the Saint Petersburg Commodity and Stock Exchange have been recognised as town-planning errors.[56]

Museums

The Russian Museum Museum of Water

Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. The Russian Museum is a large museum devoted to the Russian fine art specifically. The apartments of some famous Petersburgers, including Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Feodor Chaliapin, Alexander Blok, Vladimir Nabokov, Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Zoshchenko, Joseph Brodsky, as well as some palace and park ensembles of the southern suburbs and notable architectural monuments such as St. Isaac's Cathedral, have also been turned into public museums.

The Kunstkamera, with its collection established in 1714 by Peter the Great to collect curiosities from all over the world, is sometimes considered the first museum in Russia, which has evolved into the present-day Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. The Russian Ethnography Museum, which has been split from the Russian Museum, is devoted to the cultures of the people of Russia, the former Soviet Union and Russian Empire.

Other notable museums include the Central Naval Museum hosted in the building of the former stock exchange and Zoological Museum, the Railway Museum, Museum of the Siege of Leningrad, Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art, the largest non-governmental Museum of contemporary art in Russia, Saint Petersburg Museum of History in the Peter and Paul Fortress and Artillery Museum, which in fact includes not only artillery items, but also a huge collection of other military equipment, uniform and decorations.

Parks

Peterhof]] The Tauride Garden

Saint Petersburg is home to numerous parks and gardens, some of the most famous of which are situated in the southern suburbs, including one of the largest English gardens of Europe in Pavlovsk. Sosnovka is the largest park within the limits of the city proper, occupying 240 ha. The Summer Garden is the oldest one, dating back to the early 18th century and designed in the regular style. It is situated on the southern bank of the Neva at the head of the Fontanka and is famous for its cast iron railing and marble sculptures.

Among other notable parks are the Maritime Victory Park on Krestovsky Island and the Moscow Victory Park in the south, both commemorating the victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War, as well as the Central Park of Culture and Leisure occupying Yelagin Island and the Tauride Garden around the Tauride Palace. The most common trees grown in the parks are the English oak, Norway maple, green ash, silver birch, Siberian larch, blue spruce, crack willow, limes, and poplars. Important dendrological collections dating back to the 19th century are hosted by the Saint Petersburg Botanical Garden and the Park of the Forestry Academy.

Tourism

The Bolshoi Zal (Grand Hall) of Saint Petersburg Philharmonia Saint Petersburg has significant historical and cultural heritage and is thus a highly attractive tourist destination.

The 18th and 19th century architectural ensemble of the city and its environs is preserved in virtually unchanged form. For various reasons (including large-scale destruction during World War II and construction of modern buildings during the postwar period in the largest historical centers of Europe), Saint Petersburg has now become a unique nature reserve of European architectural styles of the past three centuries. Saint Petersburg's loss of capital city status significantly helped the city in retaining many pre-revolutionary buildings, as modern architectural 'prestige projects' tended to be built in Moscow; this largely prevented the rise of mid-to-late-20th century architecture in the city and helped maintain the architectural appearance of the historic center. Saint Petersburg, yachts on the Neva River

Saint Petersburg is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as an area with 36 historical architectural complexes, and around 4000 outstanding individual monuments of architecture, history and culture. New tourist programs and sightseeing tours have been developed for those wishing to see Saint Petersburg's cultural heritage. The Small Italian Skylight Room in the Hermitage Museum

The city has 221 museums, 2000 libraries, more than 80 theaters, 100 concert organizations, 45 galleries and exhibition halls, 62 cinemas, and around 80 other cultural establishments. Every year the city hosts around 100 festivals and various competitions of art and culture, including more than 50 international ones.

Despite the economic instability of the 1990s not a single major theatre or museum has been closed in Saint Petersburg; on the contrary many new ones have opened, for example, a private museum of puppets (opened in 1999) is the third museum of its kind in Russia, where collections of more than 2000 dolls are presented, including 'The multinational Saint Petersburg' and 'Pushkin's Petersburg'. The museum world of Saint Petersburg is incredibly diverse. The city is not only home to the world-famous Hermitage Museum and The Russian State Museum with its rich collection of Russian art, but also the palaces of Saint Petersburg and its suburbs, so-called small town museums and others like the museum of famous Russian writer Dostoyevsky; Museum of Musical Instruments, the museum of decorative arts and the museum of professional orientation. The Kunstkamera

The musical life of Saint Petersburg is rich and diverse, with the city now playing host to a number of annual carnivals.

Ballet performances occupy a special place in the cultural life of Saint Petersburg. The Petersburg School of Ballet is deservedly named as one of the best in the world. Traditions of the Russian classical school have been passed down from generation to generation amongst outstanding educators. The art of famous and prominent Saint Petersburg dancers like Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov was, and is, admired throughout the world. Contemporary Petersburg ballet is made up not only of traditional Russian classical school, but also ballets by those like Boris Eifman's, who expanded the scope of strict classical Russian ballet to almost unimaginable limits. Remaining faithful to the classical basis (he was a choreographer in Vaganova Academy of Dance), he combined classical ballet with the avant-garde style, and then, in turn, with acrobatics, rhythmic gymnastics, dramatic expressiveness, cinema, color, light, and finally with spoken word.

With a packed cultural program and a large number of world heritage sites, as well as a developing tourist infrastructure, Saint Petersburg has started to enter into the number of the world's leading centers of culture and tourism.

Transportation

Western High-Speed Diameter]]

Saint Petersburg is a major transport hub. The first Russian railway was built here in 1837, and since then the city's transport infrastructure has continued to develop and keep pace with the growth of the city. Petersburg has an extensive system of local roads and railway services, maintains a large public transport system that includes the Saint Petersburg tram and the Saint Petersburg Metro, and is home to a number of riverine services that convey passengers around the city efficiently and in relative comfort.

The city is connected to the rest of Russia and the wider world by a number of federal highways and national and international rail routes. Pulkovo International Airport serves the majority of air passengers departing from or arriving to the city.

Roads and public transport

The decoration of Saint Petersburg Metro (Kirovsky Zavod Station) Nevsky Avenue]]

Saint Petersburg has an extensive city-funded network of public transport (buses, trams, trolleybuses) and several hundred routes served by marshrutkas. Trams in Saint Petersburg used to be the main transport; in the 1980s, Leningrad had the largest tramway network in the world, but many tramway rail tracks were dismantled in the 2000s (decade).

Buses carry up to three million passengers daily, serving over 250 urban and a number of suburban bus routes. Saint Petersburg Metro underground rapid transit system was opened in 1955; it now has five lines with 64 stations, connecting all five railway terminals, and carrying 3.4 million passengers daily. Metro stations are often elaborately decorated; with examples of materials used being marble and bronze.

Traffic jams are common in the city, because of high daily traffic volumes between the commuter boroughs and the city centre, intercity traffic, and at times excessive snow in winter. The construction of the Saint Petersburg Ring Road was finished in 2011.

Saint Petersburg is part of the important transport corridor linking Scandinavia to Russia and Eastern Europe. The city is a node of the international European routes E18 towards Helsinki, E20 towards Tallinn, E95 towards Pskov, Kiev and Odessa and E105 towards Petrozavodsk, Murmansk and Kirkenes (north) and towards Moscow and Kharkiv (south).

Hydrofoil docking in St.Petersburg upon arrival from Peterhof Palace (2008).

Waterways

The city is also served by the passenger and cargo seaports in the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea, the river port higher up the Neva, and tens of smaller passenger stations on both banks of the Neva river. It is a terminus of the Volga-Baltic and White Sea-Baltic waterways.

In 2004 the first high bridge that doesn't need to be drawn, a long Big Obukhovsky Bridge, was opened. Meteor hydrofoils link the city centre to the coastal towns of Kronstadt, Lomonosov, Petergof, Sestroretsk, and Zelenogorsk from May through October. Throughout the city, smaller boats and water-taxis maneuver the many canals in the warmer months.

The shipping company St Peter Line operates two ferries which sails from Helsinki to St. Petersburg and from Stockholm to St Petersburg.

Railways

The Sapsan high-speed train runs between Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow and Saint Petersburg Vitebsky Rail Terminal

Today, the city is the final destination of a web of intercity and suburban railways, served by five different railway terminals (Baltiysky, Finlyandsky, Ladozhsky, Moskovsky, and Vitebsky),[57] as well as dozens of non-terminal railway stations within the federal subject. Saint Petersburg has international railway connections to Helsinki, Finland, Berlin, Germany, and all former republics of the USSR. The Helsinki railway was built in 1870, , commutes three times a day, in a journey lasting about three and a half hours with the new Allegro train.

The Moscow-Saint Petersburg Railway opened in 1851, ; the commute to Moscow now requires from three and a half to nine hours.[58]

In 2009 Russian Railways launched a high speed service on the Moscow-Saint Petersburg route. The new train, known as Sapsan, is a deriative of the popular Siemens Velaro train; various versions of which are already in service in a number of European countries. It set records for the fastest train in Russia on May 2, 2009, travelling at 281 km/h[59] and on May 7, 2009, traveling at .

Since December 12, 2010 Karelian Trains, a joint venture between Russian Railways and VR (Finnish Railways), has been running Alstom Pendolino operated high-speed services between Saint Petersburg's Finlyandsky and Helsinki's Central railway stations. These services are branded as 'Allegro' trains.

Pulkovo International Airport]].

Air travel

Saint Petersburg is also served by Pulkovo International Airport,[60] and by three smaller commercial and cargo airports in the suburbs. Lappeenranta Airport, which is located near Saint Petersburg in Finnish side of the border, is also popular among Russian travellers.

Pulkovo airport opened to passengers as a small aerodrome in 1931. As of 2011, the airport is the 3rd busiest in Russia after Moscow's Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports. With two main terminals (one domestic, one international), Pulkovo is widely regarded as one of the larger and more modern airports in the Russian Federation. However, as it is anticipated that by 2025 Pulkovo airport will handle around 17 million passengers annually, plans have been laid out to build a new mid-field terminal extension directly to the north of Terminal 1 (domestic); it is planned to initially contain 18 gates, with the option of later extend the terminal by means of a mid-apron pier. Construction began in November 2010, and is scheduled to complete in 2013.[61]

There is a regular, 24/7, rapid-bus transit connection (marshrutka) between Pulkovo airport and the city center.

Education

Saint Petersburg State University

As of 2006/2007 there were 1024 kindergartens, 716 public schools and 80 vocational schools in Saint Petersburg.[62] The largest of the public higher education institutions is Saint Petersburg State University, enrolling approximately 32,000 undergraduate students; and the largest non-governmental higher education institutions is the Institute of International Economic Relations, Economics and Law. Other famous universities are Saint Petersburg Polytechnical University, Herzen University and Saint Petersburg Military engineering-technical university. However, the public universities are all federal property and don't belong to the city.

Culture

Music

The main auditorium of the Mariinsky Theater

Among the city's more than fifty theaters is the world-famous Mariinsky Theater (also known as the Kirov Theater in the USSR ), home to the Mariinsky Ballet company and opera. Leading ballet dancers, such as Vaslav Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova, Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Galina Ulanova and Natalia Makarova, were principal stars of the Mariinsky ballet.

Scarlet Sails]] celebration on the Neva River in Saint Petersburg Dmitri Shostakovich was born and brought up in Saint Petersburg, and dedicated his Seventh Symphony to the city, calling it the "Leningrad Symphony." He wrote the symphony while in Leningrad during the German siege. The 7th symphony was premiered in 1942; its performance in the besieged Leningrad at the Bolshoy Philharmonic Hall under the baton of conductor Karl Eliasberg was heard over the radio and lifted the spirits of the survivors.[63] In 1992 a reunion performance of the 7th Symphony by the (then) 14 survivors was played in the same hall as they done half a century ago.[64] The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra remained one of the best known symphony orchestras in the world under the leadership of conductors Yevgeny Mravinsky and Yuri Temirkanov.

The Imperial Choral Capella was founded and modeled after the royal courts of other European capitals. Alexander theatre]], Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg has been home to the newest movements in popular music in the country. The first jazz band in the Soviet Union was founded here by Leonid Utyosov in the 1920s, under the patronage of Isaak Dunayevsky. The first jazz club in the Soviet Union was founded here in the 1950s, and later was named jazz club Kvadrat. In 1956 the popular ensemble Druzhba was founded by Aleksandr Bronevitsky and Edita Piekha, becoming the first popular band in the 1950s USSR. In the 1960s student rock-groups Argonavty, Kochevniki and others pioneered a series of unofficial and underground rock concerts and festivals. In 1972 Boris Grebenshchikov founded the band Aquarium, that later grew to huge popularity. Since then "Peter's rock" music style was formed.

In the 1970s many bands came out from "underground" and eventually founded the Leningrad rock club, which has been providing stage to such bands as Piknik, DDT, Kino, headed by the legendary Viktor Tsoi, Alisa, Zemlyane, Igry, Mify,and many other popular groups. The first Russian-style happening show Pop mekhanika, mixing over 300 people and animals on stage, was directed by the multi-talented Sergey Kuryokhin in the 1980s.

Today's Saint Petersburg boasts many notable musicians of various genres, from popular Leningrad's Sergei Shnurov and Tequilajazzz, to rock veterans Yuri Shevchuk, Vyacheslav Butusov and Mikhail Boyarsky.

The White Nights Festival in Saint Petersburg is famous for spectacular fireworks and massive show celebrating the end of school year.

Film

Admiral]], is a native of Saint Petersburg

Over 250 international and Russian movies were filmed in Saint Petersburg.[65] Well over a thousand feature films about tsars, revolution, people and stories set in Saint Petersburg were produced worldwide, but were not filmed in the city. First film studios were founded in Saint Petersburg in the 20th century, and since the 1920s Lenfilm has been the largest film studio based in Saint Petersburg. The first foreign feature movie filmed entirely in Saint Petersburg was the 1997 production of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, starring Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean, and made by international team of British, American, French and Russian filmmakers.

The cult comedy Irony of Fate[66] (also , !) is set in Saint Petersburg and pokes fun at Soviet city planning. The 1985 film White Nights received considerable Western attention for having captured genuine Leningrad street scenes at a time when filming in the Soviet Union by Western production companies was generally unheard of. Other movies include GoldenEye (1995), Midnight in Saint Petersburg (1996), and Brother (1997). Onegin (1999) is based on the Pushkin poem and showcases many tourist attractions. In addition, the Russian romantic comedy, FM, showcases the cityscape significantly, almost as if it were a main character in the film.

Several international film festivals are held annually, such as the Festival of Festivals, St. Petersburg, as well as the Message to Man International Documentary Film Festival, since its inauguration in 1988 during the White Nights.[67]

Literature

Saint Petersburg has a longstanding and world famous tradition in literature. Dostoyevsky called it The most abstract and intentional city in the world," emphasizing its artificiality, but it was also a symbol of modern disorder in a changing Russia. It frequently appeared to Russian writers as a menacing and inhuman mechanism. The grotesque and often nightmarish image of the city is featured in Pushkin's last poems, the Petersburg stories of Gogol, the novels of Dostoyevsky, the verse of Alexander Blok and Osip Mandelshtam, and in the symbolist novel Petersburg by Andrey Bely. According to Lotman in his chapter, 'The Symbolism of Saint Petersburg' in Universe and the Mind, these writers were inspired from symbolism from within the city itself. The effect of life in Saint Petersburg on the plight of the poor clerk in a society obsessed with hierarchy and status also became an important theme for authors such as Pushkin, Gogol, and Dostoyevsky. Another important feature of early Saint Petersburg literature is its mythical element, which incorporates urban legends and popular ghost stories, as the stories of Pushkin and Gogol included ghosts returning to Saint Petersburg to haunt other characters as well as other fantastical elements, creating a surreal and abstract image of Saint Petersburg.

20th century writers from Saint Petersburg, such as Vladimir Nabokov, Ayn Rand, Andrey Bely and Yevgeny Zamyatin, along with his apprentices, The Serapion Brothers, created entire new styles in literature and contributed new insights to the understanding of society through their experience in this city. Anna Akhmatova became an important leader for Russian poetry. Her poem Requiem focuses on the tragedies of living during the time of the Stalinist terror. Another notable 20th century writer from Saint Petersburg is Joseph Brodsky, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1987). While living in the United States, his writings in English reflected on life in Saint Petersburg from the unique perspective of being both an insider and an outsider to the city in essays such as, "A Guide to a Renamed City" and the nostalgic "In a Room and a Half".[68]

Sports

FC Zenit]] football team in 2011

Leningrad hosted part of the association football tournament during the 1980 Summer Olympics. The 1994 Goodwill Games were held here.

The first competition here was the 1703 rowing event initiated by Peter the Great, after the victory over the Swedish fleet. Yachting events were held by the Russian Navy since the foundation of the city. Yacht clubs:[69] St. Petersburg River Yacht Club, Neva Yacht Club, the latter is the oldest yacht club in the world. In the winter, when the sea and lake surfaces are frozen and yachts and dinghies cannot be used, local people sail on ice boats.

Equestrianism has been a long tradition, popular among the Tsars and aristocracy, as well as part of the military training. Several historic sports arenas were built for equestrianism since the 18th century, to maintain training all year round, such as the Zimny Stadion and Konnogvardeisky Manezh among others.

Chess tradition was highlighted by the 1914 international tournament, in which the title "Grandmaster" was first formally conferred by Russian Tsar Nicholas II to five players: Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch and Marshall, and which the Tsar had partially funded.

Kirov Stadium (now demolished) was one of the largest stadia anywhere in the world, and the home to FC Zenit St. Petersburg in 1950 1993 and 1995. In 1951 the attendance of 110,000 set the record for the Soviet football. In 1984, 2007 and 2010 Zenit became champions of the Soviet and Russian leagues, respectively, won the Russian Cup in 1999 and 2010, won the UEFA Cup 2007 08 season and the 2008 UEFA Super Cup. Zenit currently plays their home games at Petrovsky Stadium. The new stadium, which will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches, is currently in construction, replacing the Kirov stadium.

Crime

Kresty prison]].

The crime dynamic in Saint Petersburg is tightly associated with the general social situation in the country. A sharp spike in the crime level occurred at the end of the 1980s  beginning of the 1990s as a result of Perestroika-time turmoils (redistribution of property, privatization, decline of living standards, decrease of the effectiveness of militia etc.) By that time the city had fallen under the control of a number of organized criminal groups such as Tambov Gang, Malyshev Gang, Kazan Gang and ethnic criminal groups, engaged in racket, extortion, paying off local government, and violent clashes with each other.[70]

After the assassinations of City Property Committee Chairman and vice-Governor Mikhail Manevich(1997), State Duma deputy Galina Starovoytova (1998), acting City Legislature Speaker Viktor Novosyolov (1999) and a number of prominent businesspeople, Saint Petersburg was dubbed Capital of Crime in the Russian press.[71][72] There were a number of movies filmed in Saint Petersburg about the life of crime; Banditskiy Peterburg: Advocat,[73] Brother (1997)[74] reinforcing its image as the Crime Capital of Russia.

According to official sources the number of crimes committed by foreigners in Saint Petersburg in 2010 increased by 11.1%. Law enforcement authorities consider it is associated with an increased number of people from some CIS republics who live in Saint Petersburg illegally.[75] On the other hand, some media reported that in recent years there had been a notable increase in racially motivated violence, in particular towards foreign students.[76] One of the notable white supremacist groups, Belaya Energia (White Energy, inspired by US White Power group), has reportedly been one of the gangs involved in murdering foreign university students.[76]

The official portal of the Government of St. Petersburg provided data on significant improvement in the crime situation.[75] In particular, it is reported the number of crimes against tourists has decreased by more than half during 2009 2011.

In 2012, Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs warned LGBT travellers about a vaguely worded law in St. Petersburg (which came into effect on March 17, 2012) that makes it a criminal offence to publicize acts of male or female homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgenderism. It is purportedly designed to protect minors. A Russian travel advisory on the Foreign Affairs website notes that while homosexuality is legal in Russia (it was decriminalized in 1993), LGBT Canadian travellers should avoid "displaying affection in public, as homosexuals can be targets of violence Public actions (including dissemination of information, statements, displays or conspicuous behaviour) contradicting or appearing to contradict this law may lead to arrest, prosecution and the imposition of a fine."[77]

Twin towns and sister cities

List of sister cities to Saint Petersburg, just like it appears on the official portal of the City Government, listing both sister cities and partnership ties.[78]:

Other sisterhoods not on the government list:

See also

References

Bibliography

Notes

External links

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