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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
St Petersburg views: Dmitry Shagin
St Petersburg residents originating from each of the G8 nations assess Russia's role as the city prepares to host the G8 summit.

ST PETERSBURG VIEWS
Dmitry Shagin
Name: Dmitry Shagin
Job: Artist, founder of Mitki art group
G8 country of origin: Russia
I am not sure how this figure - eight - came about. For me, there is Europe, and Russia is a part of Europe.

But it is also such a huge country, with a large population and many natural resources. So it should be number one in G8!

On the other hand, it seems that in other G8 countries people live much better.

I think the difference between Russia and G8 countries is that there so much to be done here. There are prospects, it seems that all good things will happen in the future; whereas in other G8 countries everything has settled down, life is one big success, so it's time to party! In Russia everything is only beginning.

I think the stereotype about Russia has been wrong from the outset. I don't know why - maybe foreign authors wrote about it somewhat unlovingly.

Foreigners who come here and settle down eventually become very Russian. They have a completely different view on this country and what happens here.

But people who have never been to Russia, they will never comprehend it.

I love my country very much, and I am not going to leave it. "Patriot" is a strange word. In Russia these days "patriot" means almost "fascist".

But I think that being patriotic does not mean intimidating other nations. It means that one should love his own country and respect all the others.

We are going to make a special painting for the summit, because the Mitki will hold their own event - Mitki-summit.

We love collective art, so I think it will be a panel where each artist will paint something archetypical. Sure, there will be St Petersburg skyline, but perhaps also a little village, with beautiful people in overcoats and navy-styled singlets!




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