ST. PETERSBURG PREPARES NEW STRATEGY FOR MONUMENTS

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MOSCOW, October 5 (RIA Novosti) - St. Petersburg's Committee on State Control over the Use and Preservation of Monuments has started drafting an unprecedented strategy that is officially called the St. Petersburg Strategy for Preserving Cultural Heritage. Monuments will only be restored partly or "conserved." St. Petersburg, says Noviye Izvestiya, is a museum city like Venice or Florence, as there are around 12,000 monuments of regional history and culture, excluding monuments of federal importance. However, these exhibits have long been faced with extinction. This year, over 1,000 buildings have been put on a list of monuments that need immediate reconstruction. Experts warn if the old St. Petersburg continues crumbling at the current rate, Russians will lose their northern Venice within the next 15-20 years.

The new preservation strategy is, among other things, designed to control certain building techniques. Committee officials are even set to control the color of historical buildings. The city's restorers will be invited to discard their usual methods. The Soviet-time tradition of rebuilding the ruined parts of buildings will be replaced by conservation methods, i.e. buildings will be restored using fragments. Italian experts use this method and Italian museums abound in pictures whose restored sections are lighter than the original one. Buildings' restored structures may also differ in color from the old ones.

The St. Petersburg government intends to implement the strategy primarily at the expense of leaseholders.

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