According to St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Vladimir Shitarev, Palace Square will be fully restored in time for the city's tercentenary celebrations. Shitarev was speaking at the international press centre 300 Years of St. Petersburg. He added that restoration of the Hermitage's grounds would also be completed by the anniversary and that work on the Alexander Column would finish in March 2003. Russian Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi said that the Engineers' Castle and the Museum of Religious History should both open in 2003, and that 'the Summer Garden will have new life breathed into it.'
However, St. Petersburg's surrounding towns - particularly Pavlovsk, Oranienbaum and Gatchina - continue to face problems. The Culture Minister suggested that the financing of restoration work in these places should be transferred to the federal budget.
'With regard to saving historical monuments, the twentieth century effectively passed the city by, and it is impossible to fill all the holes in the space of 5-7 years,' said the minister. 'Nonetheless, the Culture Ministry will carry out its responsibilities and organise a celebration - above all, a celebration for the city's people - throughout St. Petersburg'.
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