Matviyenko did best to restore functions of capital to Petersburg

ST PETERSBURG, August 23 (Itar-Tass) —— Valentina Matviyenko regards as her most important achievement as governor having restored the functions of capital to St Petersburg.

“Thanks to the support of the country’s leaders, St Petersburg regained the status of which its founder dreamt. With the relocation of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation to St Petersburg the city became the country’s second capital de facto and de jure, and the holding of forums and functions of an international level made it the center of diplomacy,” the ex-governor said.

She also noted that the city’s burgeoning in every way dispelled “a bleak sense of its being provincial.” “No one can say now that St Petersburg is a city destined to be a regional center,” she noted.

Matviyenko gave a promise to continue giving support to St Petersburg. “St Petersburg has numerous architectural monuments and the preservation of this unique city is a responsibility not only of the government of St Petersburg but also of Russia. We wish everyone to realize this,” she said.

The ex-governor believes the city needs federal aid, first of all, in the maintenance of housing, particularly in its historic center. “There must be a purpose-oriented program, a federal bill regarding the historic center of the city,” Matviyenko holds. She noted the city government had already drafted such a program, envisaging the annual financing of 30 billion rubles over ten years. There is a need for additional funding for the development of the city’ s metro and road infrastructure.

The ex-governor said at her concluding press conference that the government of St Petersburg, during her tenure of governor’s post, introduced many new technologies for managing the municipal economy and for the implementation of investment projects, including those based on the partnership of the state and private business.

Matviyenko acknowledged that in the eight years of her being St Petersburg governor she met with the biggest amount of criticism last winter when the city had problems posed by heavy snowfall.

Russia’s first woman to hold gubernatorial post, Matviyenko, at her concluding press conference, acknowledged that it annoyed her particularly being frequently asked questions about woman’s role in politics. “I don’t like these gender questions and comparisons. I believe it is professionalism that matters,” she said.

Valentina Matviyenko the other day applied for preterm ending of her gubernatorial powers in connection with getting a deputy’s mandate in Krasnenkaya Rechka municipal entity, where she won the election on Sunday.

Being elected a municipal deputy qualifies her to become member of the Federation Council to represent St Petersburg government in it. Members of the upper house had earlier expressed the intention to make Matviyenko speaker of the house.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accepted Matviyenko’s resignation. Georgy Poltavchenko, the presidential envoy to the Central Federal District, was appointed acting governor of St Petersburg.

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