TVS Moscow reports that Sir Paul has arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia. From his private plane, Sir Paul went directly to his rooms at the Europe hotel where he will spend the night.
Later in the day, Sir Paul and Heather were taken to the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Russia's oldest musical institution, where he was presented with an honorary doctorate. Reading from a prepared text, Sir Paul greeted the audience in Russian saying:"Hello! I am glad to be here. This is a great honor for me. Thank you."In English, he told the audience that his old dream of visiting Russia had finally come true. he said that as a child, Russia had seemed a mysterious and cold place to him, but now he knows much more about it. Then he added:
"It's really exciting to be in the same school that such great composers as Tchaikovsky came to. It's fantastic to be here. And receiving this diploma is the icing on the cake."Sir Paul was welcomed to Russia by President Vladimir Putin's regional envoy, Valentina Matvienko. She told Sir Paul:"Your music showed that there is no music for the elite, but music for everyone."Ms. Matvienko called Sir Paul a great musician and an idol for millions of fans and she later told reporters that as a student, she had been a great Beatles fan and that Yesterday was one of her favorite songs.
Sir Paul is also scheduled to visit St. Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum. The master class he was initially scheduled to lead was canceled last week.
On Friday, Sir Paul will participate in the official induction ceremony of the Menshikov Foundation, a British charity founded by Anthea Eno that operates in St. Petersburg to provide aid to musically gifted children. It was Mrs. Eno, the wife of musician Brian Eno and manager of Eno's record label Opal, who invited Sir Paul to visit St. Petersburg for a "private visit".
On Saturday, Sir Paul McCartney will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and other Russian dignitaries in Moscow. Sir Paul's visit is being called an important cultural and political event for Russia.
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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