'St. Petersburg definitely has the potential to become a bridge between Russia and Latin America,' believes Yevgeny Makarov, the deputy presidential envoy for the North-West Federal District. Makarov expressed this opinion on Friday, April 11 at a plenary session of the St. Petersburg: a Window on Latin America forum in St. Petersburg. According to Makarov, St. Petersburg and the North-West 'are extremely interested in intensifying and diversifying economic ties with Latin American countries.'
Alexander Prokhorenko, the head of the city's Foreign Ties Committee, said that compared to other Russian cities, St. Petersburg 'has always been particularly susceptible to European influence.' 'St. Petersburg is in effect carrying out part of the capital's functions at the moment, which has a positive effect on the city's image,' he said. 'During its 300 years of existence, a particular Petersburg mentality has developed, which enables the city to remain a cultural and scientific centre.' The deputy governor also stressed that 'this ensures the city can play an active part in boosting trade, economic, scientific and cultural ties with Latin American countries.'
Makarov also said that the forum in St. Petersburg was a unique event. 'This is the first time in St. Petersburg's history that the heads of most Latin American mission have come to St. Petersburg, including Costa Rican Ambassador Plutarco Hernandez Sancho, the elder statesman of the Latin American diplomatic corps,' he said.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building