The Fund to Assist in Preparations for St. Petersburg's Tercentenary, Fund St. Petersburg for short, intends to raise USD 20 million to pay for the celebrations on St. Petersburg's 300th birthday. This is according to the statement made yesterday at the International Press Centre of St. Petersburg's Trade Union's University for the Study of Humanities by its Rector, Alexander Zapesotsky.
Mr. Zapesotsky said, 'One must consider that besides the money that mostly comes from the city's or federal budget, needed for the restoration and repairs of various buildings and infrastructures, there is money to pay for celebrations per se, parades, carnivals, fireworks, etc. Fund St. Petersburg was founded in the year 2000 in order to raise this other money. By this time, the fund has raised over USD 500,000. Of that amount, USD 360,000 has paid for the International Press Centre. The remaining part will pay for certain projects in the Frunze District and for the preparatory organisation of the opening ceremony'.
It is planned that all the jubilee events will be paid for from non-budgetary funds. About 20 organisations have already donated money to Fund St. Petersburg. These include Xerox, Marvel, Baltic SPb, the Viking concern, the Ararat brandy factory, etc. Talks are underway with Ford corporation and the Baltic Construction Company. Mr. Zapesotsky further said, 'I think the decision to pay for the celebrations as such with sponsors' money is a political decision. There are lots of needy people in St. Petersburg so to spend money from the budget on celebrations is immoral. Yet there are entrepreneurs in St. Petersburg who do their business in a socially responsible way. They immediately positively reacted to the idea of financially supporting jubilee celebrations. My duty is to spend their money in the most effective way'.
Fund St. Petersburg 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.