Vladimir Putin took part in the opening ceremony of the new building of the Russian National Library, one of the oldest libraries in Russia. Its work began on January 14, 1814.
The new building with a total area of 63,000 square kilometres is one of the largest library buildings in Europe. The building has 16 branch and specialised halls for 2,000 seats. 14 million of volumes are kept in the library.
The Russian President, accompanied by the library director, Russian Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi and Presidential Special Envoy in the Northwest federal district Valentina Matviyenko, visited the exhibition hall of the Russian National Library. The head of state saw the exposition on the library's history.
The opening of the new library building is an important and remarkable event not only for the city but also for the country as a whole, Vladimir Putin said.
"The library is the second university for many generations of Russian intelligentsia," the president stressed. The library depositories are "a unique collection of world importance", he added.
According to the President, libraries are "intellectual potential of the nation and the most important resource of every state".
The Russian President left his signature in the book of honorary guests. "I congratulate you on the opening of the new remarkable building of the National Library. I hope it is not the last one," he wrote.
The library director presented Vladimir Putin with the book "History of the Russian State", containing essays of Russian politicians.