26 Dec 2023 14:10

Informal CIS summit begins with tour of St. Petersburg palaces, parks

PAVLOVSK, St. Petersburg. Dec 26 (Interfax) - An informal summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), traditionally hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly before the New Year, has started in St. Petersburg.

Putin invited colleagues from Armenia. Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to begin the summit with a tour of St. Petersburg palaces and parks instead of negotiations.

The CIS heads of state went to the Pavlovsk Museum and Reserve on Tuesday afternoon, and trips to Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof will follow.

In Pavlovsk, all guests, except the presidents of Azerbaijan and Belarus, who were holding a bilateral meeting at that time, were greeted by a choir with Christmas carols. After a tour of the palace, a small concert was given for the presidents in one of its halls. The Northern Symphony Orchestra and its soloists, cellist Sergei Roldugin and violinist Pavel Milyukov, performed several classical waltzes and romances. The mini-concert was hosted by Special Presidential Representative for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi.

The informal CIS summit will end with a meeting at the Constantine Palace in Strelna.

The Pavlovsk Palace and Park were created in the last quarter of the 18th - first quarter of the 19th centuries for Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich and his wife.

About 600 hectares of forest near Tsarskoye Selo were donated to the grand ducal couple by Catherine II in honor of the birth of their first child, future Emperor Alexander I. The palace and park of Pavlovsk is one of the best landscape parks in Europe to this day.

From 1796 to 1801, Pavlovsk was the imperial residence of Paul I, and after his death until 1828, it was the residence of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.