St. Petersburg will be awarded the status of 'cultural capital of the world' on May 23, 2003, said Coordinator of the World Committee for the Third Millennium Sergei Davitaya at the international press center in St. Petersburg on April 30. He also said that the award will take place as part of the opening of the world congress of world culture and science figures which will include the participation of Gabriel Garcia Marcus, Tonino Guerro, Mstislav Rostropovich and many others. Davitaya said that 'in the world there has yet to be a precedent of a city receiving such a status, and only world famous cultural figures have the right to assign the status-not bureaucrats.'
The Chairman of the Coordinating Council of the World Committee for the Third Millennium Javier Perez de Cuellar agreed to head the program entitled 'Petersburg-cultural capital of the world' back in 1998 and UNESCO General Secretary Koitiro Mitsuru also supported the idea. As part of the congress, Valery Gergiev will be awarded a passport of citizen of the world.
According to State Duma Deputy Valentina Ivanova legislation is in the works to make St. Petersburg the 'cultural capital of Russia' as part of the program 'specialization of regions of Russia.' 'Capital of culture means the particularity of new government which St. Petersburg gave the country 300 years ago, particularity of spirit of Leningraders, educational schools, etc. but the term 'cultural capital' is incorrect', said Ivanova. A discussion of draft legislation in the ministries for the preparation of the corresponding decree by the President is planned to give the city status of 'capital of culture.'
Ivanova said that developing the image of the Northern capital will attract a necessary financial injection to keep up the 'capital' in its necessary appearance and completion of 'capital' functions or, at least, maintain financing on the level of 2003.