Putin wishes Matviyenko victory at St Petersburg governor's election

Russian President Vladimir Putin held Tuesday a working meeting with Valentina Matviyenko, his plenipotentiary representative to the Northwest Federal District.

"Although you are on vacation right now, there are circumstances that cannot be postponed - the preparation of the 2004 budget," the president said at the outset of the meeting.

The head of state stressed that he had discussed the issue with Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov who championed the city's interests. This is "correct", according to Putin.

"Despite the electoral fray, you need to join this work (forming the 2004 city budget)," the president told Matviyenko.

Putin asked her to outline the city development priorities, stressing that the major projects launched during the celebration of St Petersburg's 300th anniversary should not be neglected. They must be funded fully and on schedule, Putin stressed.

Matviyenko stressed in turn that the reconstruction of the city's historical part must be continued. "We will not cope with the city budget alone and are already collaborating with the State Construction Committee and the Finance Ministry," she said.

Matviyenko added that such programmes as restoration of the city historical part and ramshackle houses, the construction of a circular highway cannot be forgotten.

Matviyenko asked Putin for support in funding these projects.

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