March 01, 2001

Travel Notes

One Million Minutes and Counting

St. Petersburg’s favorite son, President Vladimir Putin, is leading the effort to give that city a major facelift prior to its official tercentenary on May 27, 2003. He chairs the State Commission overseeing the celebration planning and this position clearly added hype to an exhibition on the tercentenary held at Moscow’s newly renovated Gostiny Dvor this winter.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who visited the Moscow exhibit, promised St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev that he would renovate all of Moscow courtyards and streets by the tercentenary, so that Yakovlev could have a “role model.” And Luzhkovs’ court sculptor Zurab Tsereteli informed Yakovlev that he would create a gift for St. Petersburg: a monument to Count Shuvalov, the first President of the Imperial Academy of Arts. Yakvovlev reportedly proposed “erecting this monument in front of the Moscow Academy of Arts” [of which Tsereteli is the president]. 

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