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World Briefing / Russia

High-rise OK draws howls

September 24, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Critics decried St. Petersburg's decision to allow Gazprom, the state natural gas giant, to build a hulking skyscraper, saying it will ruin the city's czarist-era aura.

The city's administration approved plans for a twisting, 77-story glass-clad tower near the Neva River.

The structure would be more than three times as high as the spire of the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, which is now the tallest building in St. Petersburg.

Project advocates say the building and an affiliated trade center would be an important step in developing Russia's second-largest city, which has trailed far behind Moscow in cashing in on the country's post-Soviet economic transformation.

Critics, however, denounce it as a crude show of political and commercial ego.

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