Source Pravda.Ru

Peter the Great monument unveiled outside Palace of Congresses in Strelnya

A monument to Peter the Great was unveiled on Wednesday outside the Palace of Congresses in Strelnya at the outskirts of St Petersburg.

The official ceremony was attended by Vladimir Kozhin, in charge of the Kremlin property committee; Mikhail Shvidkoi, Minister of Culture; Valentina Matvienko, presidential plenipotentiary to the North-Western Federal District; and other officials.

Valentina Matvienko said the monument was "a tribute to the great ruler, Peter the Great, gratitude for the great city and everything he has created".

The monument to the founder of St.Petersburg is a replica of the monument erected in Riga in 1910 by Gustav Schmidt-Kassel. During the World War I the original was taken down. In 1913, the British ship carrying the monument was sunk by a German submarine en route from Riga to Petersburg. 20 years later, Estonian divers raised part of it from the sea floor. For over 60 years the remains were kept in a depot in Riga until in the late 1990s local businessman Yevgeni Gomberg decided to restore the monument on his own money.

In February 2001, the Riga city council took a decision to give the monument to Petersburg for its 300th establishment anniversary. Latvian public was divided on this decision and, therefore, the original remained in Riga and the replica was sent to Petersburg.