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St. Petersburg to celebrate name change of sister city

ST. PETERSBURG — The Russian Heritage cultural group and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg's Poynter Library will mark the 25th anniversary of the name change of St. Petersburg's "sister-city" on Sept. 17. The Russian city of Leningrad actually changed its name back to St. Petersburg on Sept. 6, 1991.

The program will also celebrate the opening of the new "Peter Demens and the Two St. Petersburgs Archive." The archive will be made up of a collection from William Parsons, professor emeritus of history and Russian studies at Eckerd College and secretary of the Russian Heritage group. The organization was founded in 1995 after a successful local exhibit featuring artifacts from the Kremlin museums in Moscow. Exhibits from the new archive will be on display during next week's event.

Florida's St. Petersburg has a connection to the former Russian nobleman Pyotr Dementyev, who changed his name to Peter Demens. He brought the Orange Belt Railway to St. Petersburg and named the city after the place where he grew up.

The celebration will take place 2 to 4 p.m. at the Poynter Library, 140 Seventh Ave. S. The official program begins at 2:30 p.m. The event is free.