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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
St Petersburg views: Feton Miozzi
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
Feton Miozzi
Name: Feton Miozzi
Job: Mariinsky ballet dancer
G8 country of origin: Italy
I came here more than 15 years ago. At that time I needed to go abroad so as not to serve in the army.

I have no regrets about coming to Russia. My prime interest is ballet, and no other country in the world can boast such a great ballet as Russia.

Compared to other G8 countries, Russia is number one in arts.

Economically, it is probably number nine - no offence, please. In terms of talent - in all fields - it is also number one. I would wish that Russia develops its talent, moves on without a pause and never feels inhibited.

Just compare 15 years ago and now - I remember how I went shopping with ration cards in hand. It was horrifying just to enter a shop. But nowadays shops look the same as in all other G8 countries.

I think the only difference between Russia and G8 states is people's income, but I am sure this will improve with time. The country is developing very rapidly.

What shocks me most in Russia is what you see when you enter buildings. It is unbelievable. The architecture is so beautiful - any country would envy it - but why is everything so run down?

Well, now they are revamping facades, especially on the streets where motorcades with G8 leaders are going to pass - they don't want to get embarrassed. Pity I don't live in this area.




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