Russian Constitutional Court relocates to St Petersburg on May 12

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Moscow, May 4 (UNI) The Russian Constitutional Court, currently based here, will complete its relocation in St Petersburg on May 12.

''The judges and court personnel will leave Moscow on May 12,'' a spokesman for the Constitutional Court told RIA Novosti news agency today.

He added that all 19 judges and 30 out of 250 members of staff agreed to follow the Court to St Petersburg, known as Russia's cultural capital and native place of Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev.

Almost all the Court's archives and documentation have already been transferred to St Petersburg and suits are already being moved there.

The relocation began on February 1 and the Court's first session in St Petersburg is to take place on May 22.

The Constitutional Court will occupy the reconstructed 19th-century buildings of the Senate and the Synod, overlooking the Bronze Horseman statue of Peter the Great and the Neva River in the centre of St Petersburg.

The idea to relocate the court was originally put forward by St Petersburg governor Valentina Matvienko, a close Putin ally, who was backed by the city's legislature.

Russian Parliament approved it in 2006, and Mr Putin signed a decree on its transfer in December, last year.

Members of the Constitutional Court earlier opposed the move, saying the Court could lose qualified staff and the change of location could damage its efficiency.

The Court will retain a representative office and a press office in Moscow.

UNI XC SKB BST1831

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