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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Scolds Petersburg Officials

APPresident Vladimir Putin attending the unveiling on Saturday of a plaque on the building where late St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak lived.
ST. PETERSBURG -- President Vladimir Putin publicly scolded local officials in St. Petersburg over the weekend, accusing them of misusing federal funds that were given for repairs of cultural monuments.

The former imperial capital has been undergoing major repairs timed for the city's 300th anniversary next year, and many public buildings, cathedrals and museums are hidden under scaffolding.

At a meeting with St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev and other city officials Saturday, Putin said that much of the money allocated had not been used effectively.

"What is this? Money is allocated -- millions. I agree it is not enough ... but even what is allocated is not used effectively," Putin said at the meeting, parts of which were televised.

Frowning as he read figures from several pages of documents, he cited as an example the Mariinsky Theater. Out of 20.6 million rubles ($665,000) given by the federal government for repairs, 20 million rubles were not used for the project, he said. He did not specify what happened to the money.

Putin, who was born in St. Petersburg and began his political career there, has recently put the city at the focus of attention by inviting a series of foreign leaders there. German Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der arrives Monday.

On Saturday morning, Putin unveiled a memorial plaque at the former home of his late mentor in politics, former St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak. Putin quit his KGB career in 1992 to work as Sobchak's deputy.