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T.T Boy

Happy 300 St. Petersburg

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this is one city id like to be at this summer

.ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting world leaders in his home town, St. Petersburg, during the city's lavish 300th anniversary celebrations.

 

For the next three days, Putin will show off the highlights of the former imperial capital to more than 40 heads of state. The celebrations have cost $1.5 billion to stage.

 

Putin is to host a summit with 15 current EU member states' leaders and those of 10 EU candidate states in St Petersburg Saturday, and meet with U.S. President George W. Bush on Sunday.

 

The meeting will be the first time the key players in the bitter debate over the war in Iraq have met since the conflict.

 

CNN's Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty said: "Holding the summit here, in St. Petersburg, is symbolic -- after all, the city was founded as Russia's 'Window to the West,' and that is a message Putin wants to get across."

 

Bush struck a conciliatory tone before leaving for Europe, saying there would be no confrontation with France and other countries like Russia that had opposed the war. (Full story)

 

Alexander Afanasyev, an aide to the city's governor, told Reuters: "This is an ideal place for reconciliation."

 

Renamed Petrograd during World War I, and then Leningrad in Soviet times, the city was founded on the swamps of Russia's Baltic coast in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great, determined to wrench a reluctant population into Western ways.

 

Massive security operation

To make sure rain does not spoil the celebrations, the Russian leader has sent up planes to disperse any clouds hanging over the city.

 

And Russian security forces are mounting a massive operation to head off possible terrorist threats.

 

Police boarded boats moored along the Neva River before Putin met heads of former Soviet states on board a luxury cruise liner hired from the Bahamas on Friday.

 

 

St. Petersburg's celebrations have cost $1.5 billion.

Bush will join other leaders for dinner on Saturday at the Peterhof palace, Russia's 18th-century answer to Paris' Versailles.

 

On Friday, Putin opened a city square that was renovated and renamed in honor of Peter the Great.

 

World leaders have been paying homage to the city with an eclectic mixture of gifts.

 

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien unveiled a monument to Canadian poet Emile Nelligan, a gift to St. Petersburg from the city of Quebec.

 

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was expected to unveil a sculpture of a nose by German artist Joerg Immindorff in a courtyard of the Russian Museum.

 

The statue was inspired by a surreal story by 19th-century Russian writer Nikolai Gogol, in which a civil servant's nose detaches itself and takes on a life of its own.

 

On Thursday evening, Greek Premier Costas Simitis presided over the unveiling of a statue of Ioannis Capodistrias, who was a Russian imperial diplomat before becoming president of Greece.

 

After their arrival late Thursday, Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, visited an international youth festival that is part of a series of exchanges among Russia, Germany, Finland and Sweden, ITAR-Tass reported.

 

Lyudmila Putin, normally reserved, surprised people by dancing with the teenagers to techno music after her husband had left, the agency added.

 

After their talks on Sunday morning, Putin and Bush will both fly off for a G-8 summit, bringing together the seven rich industrialized powers and Russia, in the French Alpine resort of Evian. China has also been invited as the issue of North Korea's nuclear program is expected to feature in the talks.

 

 

definatley alot of vodka this summer

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Like the Russia of old (i.e. the days of the Czars).

 

No doubt. If they are drinkers like my family here, that entire city is going to be out of hand.

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the russian embassys windows were removed thursday in switzerland in protest of the g8 by the black bloc. just another useless fact i think...yep, im pretty sure of it, just another useless fact.

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they just finished the replica of the "amber room" for this...the funny thing is some nazi out there still has the original tiles...harhar

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