A festival in St Petersburg dedicated to the 350th anniversary of Peter The Great opened with flower displays, historical costumes and artistic performances on Thursday 9 June. Russia's Peter I was an autocratic moderniser who seized the land on which the city is built, from Sweden. It is also the home town of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who recently compared his own mission to the historical leader's long wars to win back Russian lands. Among the many events marking the anniversary, was the Ball of Flowers, costumed dance performances, historical re-enactment and an event where members of the public could dance with costumed performers in the style of Peter The Great's court.
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