St Petersburg was an entirely new city, started in

1703 by the autocrat Peter the Great (1682-1725) as the new capital of the Russian Empire. He was Russia’s fi rst modern planner. His motto was ‘For a new, ordered state, an ordered capital’.1 He set the pattern of strict control of urban development by the state. Plans for Russian cities were mandated and had to be drawn up according to strict guidelines delineated in the Building Statute and the relevant sections of the Complete Collection of Laws as early as 1649. St Petersburg was to be a ‘paradise’ whose splendour was intended to surpass anything Europe had to offer. Many feel that he and the other Russian rulers who followed in his footsteps, particularly, Catherine the Great, succeeded.