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Russian President Backs UN Call To Halt Gazprom Tower

A design for a major new office building in St. Petersburg unveiled by Gazprom in 2008.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reportedly backs efforts by the UN cultural agency to halt construction of a glass-and-steel skyscraper in St. Petersburg's historic center.

The leading Russian daily "Kommersant" today quoted a letter from a Kremlin aide instructing St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko and other officials to take note of UNESCO's call for the building to be halted or scaled back.

The planned 403-meter tower is set to house state-run gas giant Gazprom's offices by 2016.

Supporters, including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, say the $3 billion project will help revive the city's economy, but the plans have caused an outcry among local residents and opposition parties.

compiled from agency reports