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Prof. Dr. S.V. Zagraevsky

 

 

Will Saint Petersburg share the same fate as Moscow?

 

Our ashes will receive a harsh and just portrayal, 
Posterity will sneer with skilled and scornful verse, 
A curse of bitterness from sons at their betrayal 
By their own father's spendthrift purse.

. Lermontov

 

First of all, we ascertain the fact, that now Saint Petersburg also is proper for business (and accordingly, for realty investment), as Moscow. There are many reasons for it. We shall enumerate only the basic.

Firstly, although Russian government is situated in Moscow, but its skeleton consists of natives of Petersburg (and probably, will consist of them in foreseeable historical prospect). So, the ancient Russian principle How can one pass over a relation! now works for Petersburg development. What is more, to go from St.-Petersburg to Moscow on any affairs becomes easier and easier (and when there will be a modern highway and a high-speed railway, it will be absolutely simple to reach it). Endless rumours about the removal of the government of Russian Federation to St.-Petersburg also promote development process of St.-Petersburg business.

Secondly, St.-Petersburg in contrast to Moscow for the present hasnt collided with a transport collapse (besides, to get at work without traffic jams is the important component of a normal life of any businessman). Moscow problem, its radially-ring structure, arose already since the time of Ivan I Kalita (the streets and also transport as approaching the center of the city is condensed). Owing to Peter I, St.-Petersburg has got the regular lay-out and therefore more intervals distributed transport loading. Of course if the amount of cars will increase even this regular planning is not a panacea. Nevertheless, it is easier to drive in St.-Petersburg than in Moscow.

Thirdly, in bygone days swampy soils were a serious problem for construction of large modern offices in St.-Petersburg. Since then, Ingrian swamps also exist, but construction machinery has already learnt to manage with its insidious temper successfully.

Fourthly, St.-Petersburg has much more reserve territories for new construction than Moscow. The Constitution of Russia, which declared these two megacities as separate subjects of federation, detached them from suitable regions (which should be a territorial reserve for cities growth in normal situation) and drove in borders of Soviet age. And as Moscow area is about 1000 square kilometers with population nearly 13-18 millions of people, and the area of St.-Petersburg is about 1900 square kilometers with its population nearly 5-6 millions of people, then, certainly, Saint Petersburg has less problems with territories for building.

Fifthly, there is a sea and a port in St.-Petersburg, and generally the city is closer to Europe. Finland is so close to St.-Petersburg, that is possible to buy a summer residence there and visit it on holidays (some people do that, but meanwhile, this process is stopped with customs problems on border).

As a result, even if St.-Petersburg doesnt become the official capital of the country, the status of "the second capital" or "a business-capital" is provided to it. It means that investments into St.-Petersburg real estate, as well as its cost, will constantly grow until wont be balanced with Moscow investments (probably, even will surpass it).

What will happen to the historical center of St.-Petersburg in these conditions? Will it share the same fate of the historical center of Moscow?

To place all points above "I" at once, we'll briefly characterize that has happened to Moscow.

The destruction of the unique city of forty forties of churches has begun for a long time ago in the end of 19th century, when Moscow was overflowed with energetic and absolutely unsystematic commercial construction. The old houses there on any of the Moscow streets (from one up to three floors) began to adjoin to "profitable houses" that were built in the style of eclecticism or modernism. The common for all "profitable houses" was its' altitude up to 7-8 floors (frequently above ancient high-rise dominants churches and bell-towers). The streets thus did not extend, and as a result, there were such gloomy "wells", as for example, Obidenskye lanes nearly Ostozhenka. And as far as near to new houses remained to stand the old one, that the obligatory brandmauers (the complete lateral walls saving "the profitable house" in case of fire in the next house) remained on a kind rather unaesthetic.

It was the first "wave of reconstructions", but unfortunately, not the last.

The second "wave" has covered the capital in the end of the twentieth years when "the Communist Party and the Soviet Government" have made a decision to build "an exemplary communistic city" in the historical center. If Stalin had time to realize all his plans, that way, for example, instead of Zamoskvorechye District, there would be three wide "rays" the Prospekts like Kutuzovsky, which has been built up by buildings of "Stalin's baroque". What should we say about the historical building this way?..

Or, for example, the hotel Moscow. It has already become familiar to everyone. There is a name of Aleksey Shchusev among its architects. But still, if you look unbiassedly on the towers of Kremlin, which is situated nearly the hotel's monstrous facade this "architectural ensemble" (if one may say so) only can be named a mockery at Russian history. Recently it was completely reconstructed, the interiors of its model became more comfortable, but the facade, probably, will hang in front of the Kremlin for ever. Perhaps, sometime our descendants will guess even to cover the hotel's facade with glass.

These "false teeth" of Stalin's epoch are still stick out in the middle of Moscow, forming more or less harmonious ensembles (although aesthetically rather doubtful) only on Tverskaya Street, Kutuzovsky Prospekt and some embankments and even that is not entirely. Stalin's attempt to create new high-profile dominants instead of churches either demolished or "knocked down" by new houses has also failed. Seven eclectic imperial high-profile houses (so called The Seven Sisters) couldn't realize it neither in quantitative nor in the qualitative plan.

The following "wave" has come in the 1960-1970th. The Kremlin Palace of Congresses, The New Arbat Street, and a huge amount of new multi-storey houses (at the best brick, in the worst typical panel) in the historical center of the city had become the examples of Moscow new "false teeth". Even five-floor Stalins houses (so called Khruchyovki) have managed to get into the center in considerable number and frequently they're located on "red street lines" (for example, on Shabolovskaya street).

What has remained from the historical environment of Moscow after these three "waves" and what the fourth "wave" (happened in 1990-2000) has changed?

Frankly speaking, "the triumphal procession of the Soviet authority" didnt remain anything from Moscow as a uniform historically developed architectural ensemble. There is no any city area in Moscow already for a long time, which could be named architecturally and aesthetically integral. Well, unless Strogino or Northern Chertanovo, its aesthetics is even more doubtful, than on Stalin's quays

Therefore the fourth "wave" usually is connected with the name of mayor Jury Luzhkov. Although in conditions of the come "freedom of speech this wave" has caused a significant negative resonance in a society, but it hasnt rendered any essential influence on the shape of the historical center of Moscow, that was hopelessly spoiled by this time already. The motto of investors, builders and dealers of the elite real estate which has appeared at that time "The Red Square is seen from our window has led to a certain increase of the average altitude in the center of the city (so as the Kremlin and the Red Square were visible even from the top floors of new buildings), but Stalinist houses (Stalinki) and furthermore The New Arbat Streets houses (so-called "books") all the same have remained higher. Well, the architect Mikhail Posokhin Jr. has blocked a "classical" sight to the Kremlin from the hotel National with his complex "Ochotny riad", well, the architect Jury Gnedovskys office center "The Red hills" (Krasnye holmy) is seen from the Red Square, well, the architect Sergey Tkachenkos impetuously adorned complex "Patriarch" has stood on the Patriarshiye Ponds, well, now there is held a construction of the enormous high-altitude house (conducted under the project of architect Sergey Skuratov) hanging above the Vorobievy Hills at the corner of Mosfilmovskaya and Piriev's streets In comparison with that Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev have done in Moscow, "acts" of Luzhkovs epoch are just trifles. There is nothing to lose for the historical city environment of Moscow any more. There will not be "the city of forty forties churches" any more, weve irrevocably lost this city.

There was essentially other situation in St.-Petersburg: first three "waves" have safely passed by it.

Before revolution the altitude of new construction has been legislatively limited by the height of the Winter Palace (in spite of it, there were some infringements, i.e. the exceeding of altitude, but it was rare. The Soviet age was a good period to the historical environment of St.-Petersburg. During Stalin's administration, the State purposefully pursued a policy of transformation of Petersburg into a province (according to the most common version, Stalin "was afraid of revolutionary Leningrad proletariat"). While Khrushchevs and Brezhnev's administrations it has been decided to transform Leningrad center into city-museum like Suzdal with a view of mass attraction of the soviet and foreign tourists. Accordingly, concerning the city there was spent rather sparing building mode, moreover central Leningrad (the Admiralty Side up to the Obwodny Canal, the Vasilievsky Island, almost all Petersburg Side, and a part of the Vyborg Side) was a prohibited area de facto. However, during Soviet age it was allotted a little money for development of "Lenin's city", so nobody especially tried to break the prohibited silence of old Petersburg streets.

St.-Petersburg has not got enough money for development also in 1990th. So, the fourth "Moscow wave" has reached it with lateness for 5-7 years. The attributes that this "wave" has gradually started to "flood" the city began to appear only on a boundary of Millennium.

The author of this article made the report "Architecture as an art" at the architectural forum in St.-Petersburg in 2002. That time, the amount of new constructions of St.-Petersburg was insignificant some new houses on the backs of the Nevsky Prospekt, several ugly reconstructed penthouses placed on the ancient houses, the occurrence of the bright-white double-glazed windows among "classical" brown windows Nevertheless, the tendency was clear already then for professionals and when discussion of the theme of my report at the forum has been continued at "a round table" conference, I've suggested to restore all security modes of Soviet age in Petersburg, moreover to declare the city centre as a prohibited area. In reply to it the main architect of St.-Petersburg for that time Oleg Kharchenko stood up and left the room in a pointed manner, having declared publicly, that he can't be at the place, where "such things" is offered.

I repeat, it was 2002 and the demarche of Mr. Kharchenko was one of "first signs". Now, six years later, the process of regeneration of Petersburg city environment has already grown and takes great strides forward.

Naturally, nobody touches and will not touch the Winter Palace, the Building of General Staff, Saint Isaacs Cathedral, the Summer Garden, The Admiralty, The Church of the Savior on Blood... I suppose, sooner or later the city government will refuse from realization of the odious project of Gazproms skyscraper in Okhta District, which should hang above the most sacred sites the city centers panoramas of Neva River.

But the situation with the skyscraper strongly starts to remind that has happened in the beginning of 2000 in Moscow: the mayor Luzhkov has suggested to Moscow City Council to give the artist Alexander Shilov a rank of the honourable citizen of Moscow. There was much noise, as a result, Shilov has not received the rank, meanwhile, there has imperceptibly begun the construction of new building for gallery of "National artist of the USSR" on Znamenka Street. The building with rough and eclectic facade is looking out on the Kremlin and adjoining with "Pashkov's house"...

Consequently, I don't doubt any more, that all history with Gazproms skyscraper has been thought up with a view of derivation of national attention of that now also imperceptibly appears among landscapes of Petersburg historical center, as once the new building of Shilov's gallery was included in ensemble of Borovitskaya Square. So, "the government of St.-Petersburg adopts the best experience of the Moscow colleagues".

What has been constructed without publicity in former security zones of St.-Petersburg during the discussion of the loud project of Gazprom? It was a lot of that.

There were two new high-profile buildings (at 16 floors each of them) on Vasilievsky Island, so-called "the Stock market complex". Accordingly, the views from English and Admiralty Embankments and from Trinity Bridge have appeared essentially modified.

The Shpalernaya Street has strongly suffered. The big reconstructed house ( 60) was erected there, and its panorama has been blocked by a high-profile house in Okhta (it wasn't the Gazproms house, but all the same, it was large enough and its architecture was the worst than Gazproms). The most unpleasant thing (if you look from Shpalernaya Street) is that The Smolny Cathedral is in the background of this house. That way, one of "classical" St.-Petersburg views has been lost.

Panoramas of Kirochnaya, Paradnaya and Radishchev's streets have appeared essentially changed after the construction of dwelling complex "Gala Quarter". So, the views from the Tauride Garden and Potemkinskaya Street also have been depraved.

The building of the hotel Baltic Renaissance (on Pochtamtskaya Street) has intruded into a panorama of St. Isaacs Square and has hung above Klodts monument to Nicholas the First.

Opposite to Vladimirskaya Church there was constructed a business center RegentHoll" on the Vladimirskaya Square.

Near the hotel St.-Petersburg there was constructed complex "Mont Blanc" which has become a new high-altitude dominant and, accordingly, spoiled the panorama of Neva River.

On the background of these rough interventions in historical environment of central Petersburg, the elite cottages, which are under the construction and situated in immediate proximity from Peter and Paul Cathedral in Peterhof, and the high-altitude house near the metro station "The Old Village" (Staraya Derevnya), breaking the views of Yelagin Palace, seem as "trifles". The same impression of "trifle" makes the "creeping" increase of altitude in the center of the city meanwhile only owing to penthouses, by which decades of houses are built on top.

And what will happen, if Gazproms high-altitude house all the same will be constructed? What comes "a trifle" in that case? Will it be "the Exchange complex" and "Mont Blanc complex"? Then, already, "all will be really legal".

City environmental protection is much more delicate thing than protection of a separate architectural monument. This question is especially actual for St.-Petersburg, because there are not enough of self-sufficient monuments, which are independent architectural masterpieces and fully capable to exist practically in any city environment (such as Dormition Cathedral of Aristotele Fioravanti or the Cathedral of St. Andronik Monastery in Moscow).

Winter Palace, St. Isaacs Cathedral, St. Michaels Castle, The Admiralty all these objects are the samples of such monuments. But, for example, can we imagine the General Staff Building without the ensemble of Palace Square, and The Senate and The Synod without The Bronze Horseman or St. Isaacs Cathedral without the Senates Square? Can any detached building on the Rossi Street be in existence without its ensemble? What does Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange (Birzha) represent without Rostral columns? And whats about St. Michaels Castle? Is it possible to imagine it in another landscape? Also the architectural plastic of St. Isaacs Cathedral is more than doubtful without the town-planning structure. Its impossible to imagine such masterpieces as the Winter Palace and the Admiralty without the Palace Square or quays of the Neva River.

The government of St.-Petersburg tries to assure us of that the special attention is paid to protection of architectural monuments. Lets consider that in general its true, although concerning of some monuments it is possible to result some information denying it.

For example, New Holland Island its a monument of federal value. There is taking place the construction of Palace of Festivals on its territory. It promises to surpass the famous ensemble New Holland Arch designed by Jean Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe and Savva Chevakinsky.

And here is one more monument of federal value The House of Prince Lobanov-Rostovsky (its architect is Auguste de Montferrand). Now it is under the reconstruction in imitation of the hotel with penthouses and without the historical interiors and intradomestic building (palace court).

The house of General-Policemeister Chicherin also is a monument of federal value, but recently its status was reduced up to regional. One would think, it would stay as a registered monument anyway, but it is wrong. During the reconstruction, the considerable part of the building (including the unique oval wing of 18th century) has been demolished. Now there is a pool.

Recently, the architectural monument of 18th century The Store of Lithuanian Market has been destroyed during the demolition of the block for the second stage of Mariinsky Theatre. By the way, its architect was Giacomo Quarenghi.

It has been removed from protection and pulled down dwellings entirely, such architectural monuments as houses: at the corner of the Nevsky Prospekt and the Mutiny Street, also, the house near the hotel Nevsky Palace (the latter was destroyed because of construction of hotels underground parking).

And for the sake of the construction of the Complex "Gala Quarter", which we have already mentioned above, the barracks of Preobrazhensky regiment were removed from protection and pulled down on the Paradnaya and Kirochnaya streets.

So, the attitude of St.-Petersburg authorities to architectural monuments to put it mildly, is not all that can be desired. In the background of all listed destructions and "reconstructions" cracked (probably, because of the next constructions) the Yussupov Palace and the House of Prince Muruzi are only the notorious "trifles": "Are there any cracks? So, sooner or later we shall close them up. If facades will collapse, that way we shall take an advantage of Moscow experience and we shall construct models! In fact, it isn't Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir and not the Church of the Intersession of the Holy Virgin on the Nerl River"

Probably, its possible to construct a model. Practically, the shape of building wont change of it, although, concerning architectural monuments, the law orders to conduct exclusively scientific restoration. In any case, the destiny of each separate monument is similar to destiny of a person. There are also friends, enemies, sometimes the person is exposed to danger of death, sometimes he dies, sometimes he perishes from murderers' hands, sometimes these murderers are judged But first of all, this article is about the city environment.

Let's imagine, that St.-Petersburg architectural monuments aren't ruined by anybody, on the contrary they are irreproachably protected in accordance with all laws, norms and rules. But let's imagine also, that instead of each building which isn't being an architectural monument in the city centre, something new is constructed. Let it be very interesting, may be ingenious from the point of view of architectural plastics. Let it be even with observance of altitude's norms. What will remain then from the historically developed city environment? Nothing.

Unfortunately, the situation in St.-Petersburg develops precisely in this direction. For the last 2 or 3 years, even on Nevsky Prospekt, where there shouldn't be any unprotected architecture at all, 6 buildings were destroyed there (although they weren't the monuments, but rather essential town-planning elements in conditions of a regularity of Petersburg building). Many houses have been demolished the same way. For example, on the Liteyny, Voznesensky, Ligovsky and Moscow Prospekts, on the quays of Moika River, Fontanka, Griboyedov Canal, the Big Marine Street and Kirochnaya Street.

And Petersburg city authorities do nothing to stop this destructive process. On the contrary, they assist it by giving out sanctions for demolition of historical buildings, coordinating new construction instead of them and deceiving people with declarations of effective protection of architectural monuments.

And, as it is sad, the situation is absolutely objective. Karl Marx wrote that any state power expresses the interests of the ruling circles. And it is not a secret for anybody, that now the private capital is prevailing and the states constant intervention in business doesnt change true essence of the developed capitalistic public relations. On the contrary, it strengthens them together with "a vertical of authority", creates "a vertical of authority and business".

I cant say if its good or bad to build up such double vertical. This way, any comments for my part would be so amateurish as though I have begun to speak about the Volga River runs into the Caspian Sea. The geographers and hydrologists should discuss about the Volga River, and the political scientists and economists should debate about the authority and business. By the way, to each his own.

Therefore I have no confidence that authority and the business will consider the opinion of architectural historians and restorers, who are always standing up for preservation of the historical environment of St.-Petersburg. Also, I have no confidence that the authority and business will consider the people all around the world, which have got used to visit St.-Petersburg because of its architecture. Moreover, I have no confidence that process of the destruction of the historical environment of St.-Petersburg will be stopped by any applications of the international organizations, which devoted themselves to preservation of the architectural monuments (ICCROM, ICOMOS etc.), or even by deletion of the historical city center from The List of universal cultural heritage of UNESCO. When it passes for newspapers, Russian people will read it and will be surprised, that St.-Petersburg generally was in this list. If there is no serious response inland, then there is no reason to be relied on any assistance from the outside. Everybody is too busy with his affairs inland. The cost of oil is rising, investments are going up, business is developing and the majority of citizens doesnt care about anything else.

I hope only that the authority and business will operate reasonably.

Now each investor, each builder tries to earn money by erecting elite office and inhabited real estate in security zones. It is a short-term prospect: to construct to sell to earn, then, to construct again to sell again to earn again and so on... But what shall we receive in a long-term prospect?

For the answer to the last question we shall answer one more question: why businessmen aspire to build exactly in a historical zone? It's natural, because the square meter there is more expensive. And why is it more expensive there? Because the area is historical, i.e. the prestigious one.

It turns out that, actually, businessmen perfectly understand the value of the historical environment, but in conditions of "spontaneous capitalism" in Russia they neglect it for the sake of momentary benefit.

But in fact, there is also a prospect except a momentary benefit. For example, one businessman has constructed a new house in the center, beside it another businessman has constructed the other house and then the third businessman has constructed his house, and a hundred twenty third one has constructed the one of his own The historical center is gradually filled up with new houses and it ceases to be the historical center, moreover it becomes a place extremely discomfortable for living. It is not enough parks there, it's a lot of transport there, the streets are narrow, the houses are high, the air is gas-laden, there is no place for parking and there is no kindergarten or school... Briefly, there are all problems of the city center without its main positive component historicity.

And will the same story happen to owners of the elite real estate in the historical center of St.-Petersburg as the one has happened to owners of penthouses of prestigious Moscow inhabited complex Scarlet Sails in first three buildings?

Ill remind: 3 huge thirty-storey buildings above the Strogino floodplain of Moscow River have been constructed in the end of 20th century. There was not a simply penthouse on the roof of each building but the whole villa with its own garden. It stands to reason, that people have paid huge amount of money for the right of its ownership. Its really an advantage to be uppermost in the area of some kilometers and have a possibility to drink, walk, have fun and sunbathe at the distance of several kilometers from the ground in your own garden, admiring the broad lands of Moscow!

But soon, in about two years, one more building was constructed nearby. It is about 40 floors. So, the owners of the previous buildings could drink-walk-have fun and sunbathe, but at the time while the population of another 10 floors looks down at them, and the sun and the broad lands of Moscow are thoroughly overlapped

Approximately the same thing is taking place among the owners of the elite real estate in the historical center, if the center ceases to be historical anymore. Wouldnt the same thing happen to the owners of the elite real estate in the historical center if the center ceases to be historical anymore?

Also, we should remember about tourism. It isnt only the most powerful stimulus to development of small-scale and average-scale business. It is an improvement of country's image in the world and, accordingly, of investment climate. And whether many tourists will go in St.-Petersburg if its historical environment will be lost and it will be deleted from "The List of the world cultural heritage of UNESCO"? Here, in Russia, they won't notice the disappearance of St.-Petersburg from the notorious list, but abroad of course, they will. I don't doubt, the position of UNESCO will be mentioned in all Western tourist guidebooks

Certainly, it's impossible to demand from each separate businessman wishing to construct something in the historical center of St.-Petersburg to consider all these factors. Besides, many immigrants (first of all, the rich people from other regions, who often have "the psychology of conquerors" such Genghis Khans and Timurs) think at a level after us the deluge" till now. Besides, one generation of conquerors hardly can ruin the historical environment of the city completely, especially of such size (even Stalin, at all huge scales of his activity, has not had time finally to destroy old Moscow, and it should be finished to the subsequent heads of the USSR). So, all negative consequences of unsystematic and injurious new construction are shown not at once. Many people only after decades notice, that all around has changed and also the native city became another's...

But the state, irrespective of what class interests are expressed by its government, should consider historical prospect instead of goes on an occasion at momentary benefit. And owners of the real estate in fact are going to transfer the property to their children and grandsons. Whether isnt it better to transfer it together with the unique historical environment essentially increasing value of this real estate?

For extremely constructive discussion of a question of preservation of Petersburg historical and cultural environment, I should give the offers again (unfortunately, I have to repeat them already almost within 10 years).

The town-planning policy in St.-Petersburg should be directed first of all on development of tourism in the historical center. Accordingly, it is necessary to create the numerous networks of small hotels, restaurants, cafes and other objects of small-scale business. For a long time it is time to organize many new "pedestrian zones". A network of museums should be increased (actually, each architectural monument should have its "mini-museum"). It is possible to adapt historical buildings under small offices and elite habitation. But of course, it should be done with full preservation of its shape and protected interiors (if they there are), without white double-glazed windows and a superstructure of penthouses

And the most important thing is the necessity to understand, that Petersburg center is a "face" of Russia, and this "face" should look properly. For this purpose it is required not only to restore all security modes of Soviet age, but also it is essential to toughen them. The historical center of Petersburg (at least, the Admiralty Side up to the Obwodny Canal, historical areas of Vasilievsky Island and some other islands, the Petersburg Side and Vyborg Side) should be legislatively declared not simply security, but a prohibited area. Any new construction or distortion of historical shape of buildings in this area should be forbidden. In addition to it, all buildings which are more senior than hundred years (and it is better that this number was 50) should be protected as architectural monuments.

It is necessary to establish the special mode of protection for Petersburg landscapes. New buildings should not be visible from any point of a prohibited area. If they for any reason have appeared (the visually-landscape analysis at the coordination of projects is not always passed with due carefulness), the altitude of the buildings should be immediately reduced (up to full demolition).

It is necessary to create new centers at a sufficient distance from a prohibited area for accommodation of the governmental structures, large-scale business, big elite inhabited complexes and inexpensive mass habitation (briefly, for new scale construction). There still are free territories under such construction in St.-Petersburg. And to make these new centers prestigious, it is necessary to construct there not just buildings, but works of art, involving the best architects, including Western "stars". Let them work in perspective surburbs, instead of interfering in the historical center with the projects of new construction around Mariinsky Theatre, New Holland Island and Okhta.

At first sight these offers can seem utopian. But if the state and a society in the near future will not make truly titanic efforts on rescue of the historical environment of St.-Petersburg, the situation on the Neva banks will continue to develop as in Moscow, and soon St.-Petersburg will share the same fate as Moscow.

These cities are located in the same country, develop on the same ways. The mentality of inhabitants and "fathers" of these cities becomes more and more similar, and traditions of the attitude to a historical and cultural heritage are too practically identical. It means, because of absence of immediate state and public intervention in protection of the historical environment of St.-Petersburg (first of all by acceptance of corresponding laws and the strict control over their performance) the fine city-ensemble on the Neva River which is known and loved all over the world is possible to consider as doomed on destruction. Such situation can be named without exaggeration an approaching humanitarian accident.

Our duty is to leave to descendants "The City of Peter", instead of the depersonalized modern megacity. Presently, it isn't late to do it yet. Otherwise, there will be the only thing left for us to recollect Lermontov's poem placed as an epigraph of this article.

 

Sergey Zagraevsky 2008

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