Moscow will not shut ‘the window to Europe,’ which Tsar Peter the Great ‘cut open’ at the turn of the 18th century, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Thursday.
Sweeping reforms aimed at modernizing Russia and strengthening its connections with Europe, as well as providing the country with access to the Baltic Sea, are among the key achievements of the first Russian emperor. He ruled from 1682 to 1725 and founded the city of Saint Petersburg as Russia’s ‘window to Europe’, due to its location on the Neva River which flows into the Gulf of Finland in the eastern part of the Baltic Sea. The expression he used was later immortalized by poet Alexander Pushkin.
The 350th anniversary of Peter the Great’s birth will be marked on June 9. This comes as relations between Moscow and the ‘collective West’ have soured to the lowest levels in modern history. Since the launch of the military operation in Ukraine in late February, Russia has become the most sanctioned country in the world due to the array of restrictions imposed by the EU, US, and other, mainly Western, countries – among the stated goals is the attempt to “isolate Russia.”