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President Vladimir Putin chaired a joint meeting of government commissions overseeing preparations to mark the millennium of Kazan in 2005 and the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg in 2003

February 6, 2002, The Kremlin, Moscow

The President said the forthcoming jubilees of St Petersburg and Kazan, the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, would be events of a national scale.

He said some of the problems facing these two cities were similar while others were specific. He said that in St Petersburg, for instance, many of the federally owned sites were yet to be handed over to the municipality, and federal agencies had so far failed to deliver on their promises to renovate and complete the construction of federal projects there in 2002.

As for Kazan, the funds earmarked in the republic budget for the millennium festivities were insufficient, and no programme documents about the jubilee preparations had been adopted at the republic level.

Mr Putin also said that while preparing millennium festivities, authorities should not forget about welfare programmes and the construction of affordable housing.

He said it was important to have transport problems resolved before the celebrations. In St Petersburg, the Kirov-Vyborg underground line should be launched by 2003, and the first leg of a metro project should be commissioned in Kazan. Motorways encircling both cities should have been completed by then, as well.

About 12.8 billion roubles is to be allocated for these purposes from the federal budget later this year, with 11.7 billion going to St Petersburg and 1.1 billion going to Kazan.

February 6, 2002, The Kremlin, Moscow