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City news
Putin Discusses Development With Governor
08.16.2007 15:00

Putin_and_Matvienko Governor Valentina Matviyenko briefed President Vladimir Putin on key matters facing St. Petersburg on Sunday during a presidential visit to the city that included a pilgrimage to the grave of Putin’s political mentor.

At the meeting in Strelna, Matviyenko summarized for Putin the city’s main socio-economic developments, saying that “real income has increased by 8 percent, 7 percent of which was made up of industrial growth,” Regnum.ru reported.

She also said that the average salary in the city is nearly 16,000 rubles ($630) a month.

During the televised meeting, Matviyenko also discussed St. Petersburg’s housing crisis and plans to increase construction of housing in the city.

“The city has adopted a breakthrough program,” Matviyenko said. “We have 10 million square meters of communal living space, many hostels and Krushchyovki [Krushchev’s era housing]. The city is planning to decrease the length of housing queues by 50 percent by 2011.”

Matviyenko added that 139 billion rubles ($5.45 billion) would be required in order to realize this program.

Putin responded by saying that “the volume of new housing being made available is big, but the problem is yet bigger.”

They spoke at length about the demographic situation in St. Petersburg, which according to Matviyenko, has started to improve.

“The birth-rate has risen by 6 percent in the last six months, and the death-rate has dropped by 7 percent,” Matviyenko said.

Putin expressed his interest in the preparations for the new school year.

“We are planning to open seven new kindergartens and two new schools,” Matviyenko said.

“In light of the demographic situation it will be necessary to build 60 kindergartens by 2011: at the moment the queue for a place at kindergarten is a thousand people long.”

During the visit, Putin also paid a visit to the Nikolskaya Cemetery. He met with Lyudmila Narusova, the widow of Anatoly Sobchak, former mayor of St. Petersburg and Putin’s political mentor, who would have been 70 on Friday, Interfax reported. Putin spoke with Narusova and placed a bouquet of purple roses on the grave.

Putin also placed a bouquet of red carnations on the grave of Galina Starovoitova, a liberal politician who was assassinated in 1998.

News source: times.spb.ru
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