Putin readies to visit Austria, compares Vienna to St.Petersburg

Vienna reminds Vladimir Putin a lot of his native St.Petersburg, he said in an interview with the Austrian Neue Kronen-Zeitung on the eve of his visit to Austria which is beginning today. President Putin said that "my family and I have long known Austria. I have been there through the foreign cooperation channels of the mayor's office of St. Petersburg. I have quite a few good acquaintances in Austria. And in my native city you can already see visible fruits of our cooperation, a good example of which is the modernization of the St. Petersburg airport." "The business contacts which we have established with our Austrian partners," said Vladimir Putin, "have brought not only real economic benefit, but have also strengthened the friendly ties between our politicians and businessmen." The President of Russia noted that "to see Mozart and Schubert's homeland, to listen to Strauss's ageless waltzes, to visit the famous Vienna Opera, to slide down the magnificent mountain skiing tracks are things many Russians are dreaming of." Putin expressed his confidence that "the number of our fellow-compatriots visiting Austria will grow with every year." Noting that Austria, situated in the very heart of Europe, has been and remains a kind of bridge of economic and cultural cooperation, Vladimir Putin stressed that "we are always glad to take part in international congresses, music and theatre festivals, as well as sports competitions that are held in Austria," RIA Novosti reports.