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11 Sep, 2010 08:00

Yaroslavl celebrates 1000th birthday as Global Policy Forum ends

On Saturday, the great Russian city of Yaroslavl, which has just hosted the Global Policy Forum, enters its second millennium, marking the 1000th anniversary of its founding.

To celebrate the occasion, the best brass bands from all over the country have paraded through its streets.

Throughout the weekend, there were plenty of festivities to celebrate the city's birthday on the banks of the Volga River.

The celebrations ended with an impressive fireworks show that lasted more than 20 minutes.

Among the most important fact about Yaroslavl are:

- it is located 250 kilometers north-east of Moscow;

- it was founded in 1010 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise;

- centuries later, it became Russia's second-largest city;

- its spiritual and cultural heart is the Spassky, or Saviour monastery.

Yaroslavl today is a World Heritage Site, which boasts some impressive architecture very popular with tourists.

The city's main attractions are even featured on Russia's 1,000-ruble note.

In the past week, from September 9 to 11, Yaroslavl has been playing host to some of the world's sharpest minds, as they mulled some of the planet's most pressing problems at the Global Policy Forum.

To wrap-up the forum, it was a direct, honest and open dialogue between the president, his supporters and some of the Kremlin’s fiercest critics. The topic of Global Policy Forum was “Democracy and diversified democracy experiences around the world”.

The meeting was held under the patronage of the Russian president himself, with the main message being that it is time to sit at the same table, to stop simply criticizing Russia, to start to communicate and interact and to find global solutions.

The top three buzzwords of the forum were modernization, democracy and efficiency.

Dmitry Medvedev’s take has been that nothing is very straightforward these days, and you cannot really attach the experience of one country to another, you have to look at the country’s very specific ways of moving forward, the country’s background, and the country’s history.

Delegates disagreed on what democracy is in the first place.

President Medvedev has been saying that democracy is a process, first and foremost, and that it is not just a term. As for Russia, he reminded his guests about Russia’s specific path towards democratization.