For the first time, Vladimir Putin has given an interview to regional mass media - VGTRK ‘Sankt-Peterburg’ and the newspaper Novoye Vremya. The state head showed unprecedented respect to journalists by coming on himself by a cutter to the motor ship where the Novoye Vremya editor Alla Manilova and the chief of information service of VGTRK ‘Sankt-Peterburg, Anton Gubanov were waiting for him. In the conversation which lasted for about an hour, the President spoke mostly about the issues of the northern capital connected with its coming 300th birthday. In particular he for the first time confirmed that in the days of the celebration, a Russia - European Union meeting at the highest level should take place in St Petersburg. Answering the question of Alla Manilova about what makes him think that the celebration will be a success, the President answered: “The reason to think so could be only a new impulse in the city development.” From the context one could conclude that Putin criticizes the St Petersburg authorities, especially taking into account that the day before, at the sitting devoted to the celebration, Putin’s criticism of the St Petersburg administration sounded openly. In particular, the St Petersburg administration was practically accused of non-purpose use of so-called “celebration money,” of lead-time of the Kirov-Vyborg underground line reconstruction. In his interview, the President also said about these works: “As for the underground, this is, of course, to put it mildly, a disgraceful situation.” That day Vladimir Putin took part in opening of memorial plaque on the house where the first mayor of St Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak lived, who lost the election in favour of his then-deputy and today’s mayor Vladimir Yakovlev, and laid flowers on the memorial. Therefore, a conclusion is obvious that Vladimir Putin is not satisfied with today’s authorities of St Petersburg.
Andrei Petrov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/06/10/42495.html