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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
St Petersburg views: Karen Myhill-Jones
St Petersburg residents originating from each of the G8 nations assess Russia's role as the city prepares to host the G8 summit.

Karen Myhill-Jones
Name: Karen Myhill-Jones
Job: Teacher and translator, former president of St Petersburg International Women's Club
G8 country of origin: Canada
I think it is very important that Russia is a member of G8.

At any rate, it is the largest country in the world. It is very important for Russia and the rest of the world that Russia takes part in all major talks.

Such a vast, powerful and rich country must be in G8.

I've visited most G8 states, and I think I can compare how they receive guests in all these very different countries. I think it is important that although Russia is a G8 member, most people think it is very isolated.

I've been to Moscow and Novgorod. I haven't been to many other places. But I know St Petersburg well and I always tell people how wonderful and culturally rich this city is. I think it is the most beautiful city in the world.

In fact, many people know and realise that. Many say: "I'd like to visit St Petersburg, it is my dream, but it seems so difficult to do."

It is hard to get a visa. People think that no-one here speaks English. Everyone is interested, many have heard about the Hermitage and the beautiful architecture. They know that, but they think it is all inaccessible.

When I travel to Europe or America people often ask me questions from which it is clear that Russia remains an enigma. It is hard for them to comprehend Russia.


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