Yutaka Kunugida / Marubeni Corporation St. Petersburg Liaison Office
Marubeni opened an office in St. Petersburg in 2005, the number two city in the Russian Federation.
During the Russo-Swedish War, Peter the Great (Peter 1) built the St. Petersburg (Petropavlosk) Fortress (Peter and Paul Fortress) along the Neva River on May 27, 1703—a date that became the official birthday of the city.
Compared to the population of the capital city of Moscow—some ten million with the surrounding population combined—St. Petersburg comprises approximately half that number. St. Petersburg does not stack up against Moscow in terms of per capita GDP either, but it is famous as the birthplace of the current Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. When there are traffic jams in the city for some unknown reason, the locals say that it best to just go with the flow, as the congestion is likely caused by President Medvedev (also from St. Petersburg) or Prime Minister Putin returning home for a visit.
Positioned by Peter the Great as a gateway to Europe, St. Petersburg is indeed close to Europe. Some 440 km from Helsinki, the capital of Finland, one can go by car or by the high-speed rail called Allegro (which does not reach the speeds of the Japanese Shinkansen), arriving in about three and a half hours. Unlike Moscow, St. Petersburg has a sense of closeness to Europe.
Also renowned as a tourist destination, St. Petersburg has no shortage of sightseeing spots, including the State Hermitage Museum—one of the three largest art museums in the world—Peterhof, known for its fountains, the Catherine Palace, and more.
In the midnight sun of the summer, the daylight hours stretch to 18, and a wide variety of seasonal events are held, including music festivals, International Economic Forums, the Scarlet Sails university graduation ceremonies at the Neva River, and more. Winters are totally depressing, with darkness lasting past 10:30 in the morning and returning at just 4:00 in the afternoon—and worse, with clouds hanging low and enveloping the town.
But this is a city of art, with the Mariinsky Theater—famous for its opera and ballet—where people go for a change of heart. While the concert hall annex of the Mariinsky Theater is not very famous, you can see artistic director Valery Gergiev perform as a conductor, with tickets sold for an extremely low price. A native of the Caucasus, Gergiev has played a leadership role in establishing a music label that bears the name of the Mariinsky Theater in order to enhance its status. With a different musical program daily, and with numerous musicians from abroad performing, the theater features nothing but charming musical works on any given day. Against the backdrop of such a charming city, we do our best to focus on work and strive to cultivate new projects every day.
* The St. Petersburg Liaison Office was established in 2005, and Chief Kunugida was the first resident officer assigned there
Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.67 (January, 2012)