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St. Petersburg's historical status changed

Jan. 28, 2011 at 10:22 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Russia's Ministry of Culture says it will redefine the status of St. Petersburg, with just the city's center being deemed historical.

"We see eye to eye with the Ministry of Culture," St. Petersburg Mayor Valentina Matviyenko said in an RIA Novosti report Friday.

"The Ministry of Culture understands 'St. Petersburg' only as its historical center and so do we," Matviyenko said.

Since last summer authorities in historical areas were required to coordinate town planning with the government's cultural watchdog, Rosokhrankultura.

St. Petersburg wanted its historical status modified to include only the city's center to allow for construction projects elsewhere in the city, the report said.

Activists and residents were angry about an earlier plan by Russian energy titan Gazprom's proposal to build the Okhta Business Center in downtown St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg is a UNESCO world heritage site and there was concern the proposed business center would alter the city's skyline.

Gazprom later decided not to build the business center.

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