Valentina Matviyenko
politician, expert pharmacist, diplomat
Valentina Matviyenko
Valentina Matviyenko

Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko (born 7 April 1949) is a Russian politician serving as the Senator from Saint Petersburg and Chairwoman of the Federation Council since 2011. Previously she was Governor of Saint Petersburg from 2003 to 2011. Born in Ukraine, Matviyenko started her political career in the 1980s in Leningrad (now called Saint Petersburg), and was the First Secretary of the Krasnogvardeysky District Communist Party of the City from 1984 to 1986. In the 1990s, Matviyenko served as the Russian Ambassador to Malta (1991–1995), and to Greece (1997–1998). From 1998 to 2003, Matviyenko was Deputy Prime Minister for Welfare, and briefly the Presidential Envoy to the Northwestern Federal District in 2003. By that time, Matviyenko was firmly allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an alliance which secured her a victory in the gubernatorial elections in Saint Petersburg, Putin's native city. Matviyenko became the first female leader of Saint Petersburg. Since the start of Matviyenko's service as governor, a significant share of taxation money was transferred from the federal budget to the local budget, and along with the booming economy and improving investment climate the standard of living significantly increased in the City, making income levels much closer to Moscow, and far above most other Russian federal subjects. The profile of Saint Petersburg in Russian politics has risen, marked by the transfer of the Constitutional Court of Russia from Moscow in 2008. Matviyenko developed a large number of megaprojects in housing and infrastructure, such as the construction of the Saint Petersburg Ring Road, including the Big Obukhovsky Bridge (the only non-draw bridge over the Neva River in the city), completion of the Saint Petersburg Dam aimed to put an end to the infamous Saint Petersburg floods, launching Line 5 of Saint Petersburg Metro, and starting land reclamation in the Neva Bay for the new Marine Facade of the city (the largest European waterfront development project) containing the Passenger Port of St. Petersburg. Several major auto-producing companies were drawn to Saint Petersburg or its vicinity, including Toyota, General Motors, Nissan, Hyundai Motor, Suzuki, Magna International, Scania, and MAN SE (all having plants in the Shushary industrial zone), thus turning the city into an important center of automotive industry in Russia, specializing in foreign brands. Another development of Matviyenko's governorship was tourism; by 2010 the number of tourists in Saint Petersburg doubled and reached 5.2 million, which placed the city among the top five tourist centers in Europe. Some actions and practices of Governor Matviyenko have drawn significant criticisms from the Saint Petersburg public, the media, and opposition groups. In particular, new construction in already heavily built-up areas and several building projects were deemed to conflict with the classical architecture of the city, where the entire centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some projects eventually were cancelled or modified, such as the controversial design of a 400-metre-tall Okhta Center skyscraper, planned to be built adjacent to the historica...

Place of birth:Shepetivka
Date of birth:07 April 1949