Opinion: St. Petersburg Could Become the Russian Geneva - 3 April, 2003

Saint Petersburg could carry out a role similar to that of Geneva and Brussels in Europe according to Sergei Markov, director of the Institute for Political Research. He said this while speaking at the Civil Debates meeting at Rosbalt news agency. Mr Markov believes several international organisations could base themselves in Saint Petersburg. During the celebrations of the city's anniversary, Mr Markov explained, Saint Petersburg will basically be carrying out the functions of a capital city. However, he is sure that 'we must not simply celebrate the anniversary but use it as a springboard for strengthening the overall role of Saint Petersburg.' Mr Markov's idea is supported by Anatoly Golov, director of the institute for social policy, who said 'Kaliningrad is our link to Europe but only Saint Petersburg can become our permanent 'window' on Europe.'