Russian President Vladimir Putin and foreign leaders who came to participate in the celebrations of St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary visited the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo (former residence of Russian tsars near Petersburg).
The Russian and German leaders were the first to enter the Amber Room which is closely connected with both countries.
The Amber Room (amber panels to decorate interiors) was presented to Peter I by King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia in 1716. In 1755 the Amber Room decorated one of the hall in the Grand Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. During World War II Tsarskoye Selo was occupied by nazis. The Amber Room was dismantled and taken to Koenigsberg (East Prussia). Its destiny is still unknown and the search gave no results.
In 1979 the Russian Federation Council of Ministers decided to reconstruct the Amber Room. In 1983 chief architect of the Catherine Palace Alexander Kedrinsky, one of the few people who had seen the Amber Room, launched the project of its reconstruction. Experts of the Tsarskoye Selo amber shop began the implementation of the project.
Means for the Amber Room reconstruction were allocated from the federal budget.
Over 20 years 7.85 million US dollars were spent. In 1999 an agreement was signed with Ruhrgas AG (Germany) which invested some 3.5 million dollars to accomplish the reconstruction of the Amber Room.
The memorandum on the accomplishment of the Amber Room reconstruction was signed on May 13. Veterans of the World War II were the first to see the amber wonder. Some 400 war heroes visited the Amber Room as part of the Victory Day celebrations.
After WWII, the Soviet army left Austria, and the latter had always remained a neutral state and never joined NATO
Russia experienced default on August 17, 1998. Today, 20 years after those events, the economic situation in Russia does not seem stable to many