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Co-operation With the State Hermitage Museum

The co-operation of the "Interros" group with the State Hermitage started on December 5, 1997 when Vladimir Potanin representing ONEXIM Bank and Mikhail Piotrovsky representing the State Hermitage signed an agreement that focused on the combining efforts in order to preserve cultural heritage of Russia. It was at this time when the partners began implementing the project "Pages of the Hermitage History".

In autumn 1998 holding company "Interros" assumed liability of ONEXIM Bank before the partner and started to finance the project "Pages of the Hermitage History". Researchers of the State Hermitage Museum worked out the computerized version of the programme "Pages of the Hermitage History" for the Internet. The first book of the series called "Records of the meetings of the Hermitage Council. 1918-1919" will be issued in the nearest future.

The new stage of the co-operation of "Interros" group with the State Hermitage Museum is connected with the project "The Great Hermitage". It deals with reorganisation of the central historical part of Saint Petersburg. The Museum faces the problem of creating a cultural centre around the Palace Square unique in its scale with new exhibition grounds of the State Hermitage, with an entertainment and commercial centres for the citizens and guests of Saint Petersburg. This will enable the State Hermitage Museum to become the museum of the 21st century. Holding company "Interros" has already financed creation of the Operational Design bureau in the General Staff building entitled to make the choice of a contractor or a consortium of contractors that will be resposible for the project "The Great Hermitage".

Another step in realisation of the project "The Great Hermitage" is the exhibition "The Realms of the Eagle" opened in December 1999 in the General Staff building thanks to financial support of Ms. Jayne Wrightsman (USA) and the president of the holding company "Interros" Vladimir Potanin. The applied art articles of the Empire style brightened the interiors designed in 1820-s by the famous architect Carlo Rossi. At the beginning of the 19th century this part of the building was occupied by the appartments of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russia Count Nesselrohde. To our good fortune the decor of the appartments was almost untouched by time. Many objects of the epoch of Alexander I and Napoleon I kept in the funds of the Museum were exhibited for the first time in the historical interiors.

Within the project "The Great Hermitage" in spring 2000 restoration works were started on the Chariot of Glory, one of the biggest old monuments of Saint Petersburg. Restoration works of the Hermitage of this sculptural composition on the General Staff is financed by the state and the holding company "Interros".

The Chariot of Glory on top of the General Staff building (1819-1829, architect Carlo Rossi) is one of the symbols of Saint Petersburg. The monument was constructed to the design of sculptors Vasily Demut-Malinovsky and Stepan Pimenov in 1828 to commemorate Russian victory in the war with Napoleonic France of 1812-1814 on the initiative of Nicholas I. In 170 years since its creation the Chariot of Glory was restored four times (the last restoration took place in1906) that being the result of dramatic historical events and original faults in the construction. For the last 94 years the Chariot of Glory has never been repaired (apart from being repainted in 1945) and its dilatidated condition as expertize proved has come to the extreme. The restoration is going to be completed within three years by the 300 anniversary of the city.

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