Ford Motor Company intends to contribute USD 3 million to St. Petersburg's Tercentenary Celebrations. Alexander Zapesotsky, Director of the St. Petersburg Fund said not necessarily the whole amount would be paid out in cash. Beside purely monetary donations, Ford Motor Company will organise the use of Ford automobiles during the welcoming of guests.
Yet so far Ford and the fund have trouble legally validating their relationship due to the imperfection of Russia's legislation. Mr. Zapesotsky says, 'Sometimes our relationships with willing sponsors are of so individual that we have to specifically consult various agencies, such as the Department of Revenue, to have this or other version of agreement approved. For instance, Ford may be afforded advertising in St. Petersburg commensurate with its donation. Finding a compromise in a situation like this takes a lot of time.
The official opening of Ford's plant in the town of Vsevolozhsk, the Leningrad Region is scheduled for July 9. Its construction began back in 1999 and initially it was supposed to be opened in the end of the year 2001, then in May 2002. Investments in the construction amounted to about USD 150 million. The plant will output Ford Focus sedan, hatchback, and station wagon automobiles. The rated annual capacity of the plant is 25,000 units, 4,000 to be output before the year 2002 is over. In 2003, the plant will produce about 10,000 automobiles.
The St. Petersburg Fund was created in 2000 by the administration of St. Petersburg with the purpose of accumulating non-budgetary funds necessary for celebrating St. Petersburg's tercentenary. Vladimir Yakovlev, St. Petersburg's Mayor, is the Chairman of its Council of Trustees. The members of the fund headed by Mr. Zapesotsky include such known figures of science and culture as academician Zhores Alfyorov, maestro Valery Gergiyev, author Daniil Granin, actor Kilill Lavrov, Historian Mikhail Piotrovsky, etc.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now