when we stopped over in st petersburg for two days in 2002 during our baltic cruise , things still looked rather bleak .
while the roads and streets were generally in bad repair , a completeely new road had been constructed leadind to the summerpalace - and also to president putin's sommerhome !
our tourguide - a russian highschool teacher and interpreter - told us they had great hopess that president putin would be able to improve conditions for all russians - and particularly the people of st petersburg .
she said : "he is from st petersburg and we are sure he is going to look after us ! " .
we noticed that in the hermitage museum , a number of signs showed that the german natural gas giant "ruhrgas" had paid for restoration of many of the exhibits .
it seemed pretty clear that "ruhrgas" was "greasing the skids" to ensure favourable relations with the supplier of much of the gas being piped to germany .
it now seems that russia is cashing in on its gas and oil resources .
as the lead article in the "focus" section of saturday's "globe and mail" (toronto/canada) explains , russia is making good use of its resource revenue ; government loans are being repaid swiftly , pensions have been re-instated - and have even been increased , construction is booming and the formerly glum GUM department store is brimming with luxiry goods from around the world !
pls go to the link for the full article .
link to article :
...RUSSIA , PUMPED !...