Gala Reception in the Winter Palace
On 23 June 2006 the State Hermitage and the international societies of Friends of the Hermitage held a Gala Reception for the launch of a massive campaign raising charitable donations to finance the restoration of the Eastern Wing of the General Staff building and turn it into a Museum of 19th and 20th Century Art.
The restoration of the General Staff building and creation within it of a unique museum will be the most important development project of the State Hermitage in the coming decade. Completion of the project is planned for 2014, when one of the greatest museums in the world will celebrate its 250th anniversary. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to mark the start of the public fund raising campaign on behalf of the Greater Hermitage project.
Among those who took part in the Charity Party were Honorary Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Member of the Board of Trustees of the State Hermitage, Minister of Finances of the Russian Federation Alexei Kudrin; Governor of St Petersburg Valentina Matviyenko; Head of the Federal Agency on Culture and Cinematography Mikhail Shvydkoi; Prince D.R. Romanov; Chairman of IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa Hans Ulrich Maerki; representatives of the societies of Friends of the Hermitage from various countries around the world and from the Russian regions; and the Hermitage's friends from the world of art and business.
During the reception, the guests were shown the plans for restoring the General Staff building, given information about new temporary exhibitions and improved permanent displays in the Hermitage, and heard about the results of restoration work in the Winter Palace and Hermitage. A gala dinner was served in the Jordan Gallery of the Winter Palace. Looking out the windows of the Hermitage, the guests were able to enjoy a view of the Crimson Sails event.
Greetings from President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the launch of the public campaign to raise money for the Greater Hermitage Project
Please accept my congratulations on the occasion of the start of the public campaign in support of the major and ambitious project of the Greater Hermitage.
The reconstruction of the Eastern Wing of the General Staff building and its conversion into a unique museum equipped with the last word in technology will help accommodate and display a very rich collection of painting and will enable the public to discover genuine artistic masterpieces. The Hermitage is rightfully called a cultural treasure belonging not only to Russia but to the entire world, and therefore I warmly salute the joining of efforts, resources and talents of art lovers from various countries in support of such an important initiative.
I wish you success and all the best.