Skip to the navigation Skip to the content

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg, Russia

NUTS codeRussia is not member of EU
Population5.38 Million
Area in km²1439 km²
GDP/inhabitant (year)727 211 Russian rubles (2017)
GDP growth rate (year)100.2% (2016)
Unemployment rate (year)1.4% (May-July 2019)
Cohesion Policy categoryRussia is not member of EU

Number of CCI support organizations: ~ 60
Global creativity index – GCI, country level: 0.579 (2015)

1. Introduction

The advancement of creative spaces and creative industries is one of the development directions
of Saint Petersburg. Currently, the city holds a leading position in terms of GRP per capita, and due  to the contribution to the economic development of the region of the creative cluster, these positions will be significantly strengthened.  St. Petersburg along with Moscow is the largest economic, scientific and cultural center of the country. The unique geographical location (on the one hand, the proximity of the most developed regions of Russia, on the other hand, the EU countries) makes St. Petersburg the center of Russian and international transport.

Creative industries contribution to the urban economy (% of GRP) - 6%
Employment in creative industries - 65,000 people
Employment as a percentage of the total working population - 2%.
Federal budget spending for culture – 82710,1 million RUB, 2014 .

The concept of creative industries, which is used by the city authorities, largely corresponds to the UK approach and definition: “The creative industries include music, visual arts, cinema, performing arts, gallery business, fashion, publishing, advertising, design, architecture, the Internet and computer technology, cultural tourism”. As the former Chairman of the Saint Petersburg Investment Committee, Irina Babyuk noted, “Saint Petersburg was the first city in Russian Federation which introduced in 2018 the term “creative activity” at the legislative level.

2. General information about Saint Petersburg

Considered Russia’s most culturally diverse city, St Petersburg is home to a unique assembly of classical museums, theatres, and palaces. The city historical center and its palace suburbs are Russia's first UNESCO world heritage site. It’s also widely considered as the hip capital of Russia with endless experimental bars and creative quarters.

Today, Saint Petersburg’s respected universities and large IT companies, world-known cultural institutions and huge empty industrial buildings make for a thriving creative sector, though the city is criticized for its conservatism. Many projects and startups treat Saint Petersburg as a testing ground before moving to Moscow, where the money and open-minded investors are concentrated. Fashion is a burgeoning market in St. Petersburg and is currently in a state of adolescence.

Information according to the The Saint Petersburg City Passport:
Today the city can offer its guests to visit 8 500 thousand cultural heritage objects, including 4,2 thousand objects of cultural heritage of Federal importance, which is almost 10% of all monuments protected by the state on the territory of the Russian Federation. That is why Saint Petersburg is called an open-air Museum.

There are more than 250 scientific institutions here and around 70 universities, 71 vocational training institutions, music and art schools.

Around 800 festivals are organized every year, the city hosts a large number of international art festivals, music and theater festivals, competitions and premieres.

More than 60 creative spaces with a total area of over 300 thousand square meters, in which 500 residents are located. St Petersburg is rapidly becoming the center of creative workshops and independent art spaces.

3. Economy

Economic importance of the CCI in the region

The industry’s share in the city’s GDP fluctuates between 1% and 1.5%. According to the report of Analytical center under the government of the Russian Federation, the revenue of the Russian creative industry can be estimated at about 8 trillion RUB annually. In contrast to the international practice, where the absolute leadership of television, among the domestic branches of the creative industry, the first line belongs to the field of information technology, software and computer services, the second — advertising and marketing, and the three leaders in profitability closes the publishing industry. Thus, the absolute leader among the areas of the creative industry, as in the case of international practice, is "Media", but the second position is "Functional creativity". The third place is shared by the areas of the creative industry "Art" and "Heritage". At the same time, it should be noted that in Russia, in contrast to international practices, "Cultural objects" and "Traditional cultural expression" (the area of the creative industry "Heritage"), exceed the global average by 5 times. The creative industry can become one of the most important areas of GDP growth, and its contribution can be 4 time increased in less than 10 years.
According to the UNCTAD, Creative Economy Outlook Country Profiles 2018 Report, the digital/IT sector is one of the most dynamic: growing annually at about 35% from 2005 to 2014. The city government has supported the creation of several Technoparks and is developing a ‘roadmap’ for state-owned monopolies like Gazprom to increase their use of domestic technological solutions/software. Gaming and other digital creative products/services have also been experiencing growth (gaming alone grew at a staggering annual rate of 24.2%), thanks to the growing local demand.

International links

According to a study by the Cinema Foundation, in 2017, the total sales volume of Russian cinema content to foreign markets in 2017 amounted to about 1.2 billion rubles. In recent years, the domestic digital content education industry has experienced a boom: film production, animation, film series, IT applications, VR / AR technologies, and the development of computer games. Russian products in these areas of creative industries have a good demand in foreign markets.

4. Regional business eco-system

Types of support

CCI Support OrganizationTypes of SupportImportant CCI projects, programs, partnerships
Lenpoligraphmash Holding - Creative Tech Cluster:
  • Technopark Saint Petersburg
  • Ingria Business Incubator
  • Coworking space Boiling Point
  • Center for Prototyping
  • Congress Center LP

Incubators, acceleration, mentoring, renting, coworking, Sharing of equipment and production facilities to innovative companies

IT companies: Microsoft  Kaspersky Lab - EMC  DataArt -  North West Laboratory – DigitalDesign
Art and Crafts: Gora Enamel Art Centre, Wow mosaics studio, FabLab, creative studios and craftsman workshops
Yota Open LabIncubators, Networking, Sharing of equipment and production facilities to innovative companiesThe Lab has already gathered top 10 tech projects within Russia in the field of neurotechnologies, robotics, VR, prototyping, artificial intelligence. All of this was possible due to the created unified ecosystem within which any startup idea could result into the final product.
Other creative spacesRenting facilities, Acceleration, Networking Incubators, Mentoring, EventsThere are over 60 creative spaces in Saint Petersburg acting as CCI support organizations, mainly represented by coworkings and creative clusters.

5. CCI in the region - Overview of the role of CCI sector in regional business

There are three main governmental support strategies for CCI secror:

Strategy of the socio-economic development of Saint Petersburg for 2035: The strategy-is based on strategic resources of Saint Petersburg - rich cultural heritage and the worldwide reputation of the city, diversified economy and extensive scientific potential, the advantageous geographical position and, the key point is citizens with the high standards of education and culture. The main focus is on the technological breakthrough, creation of a comfortable environment, openness to new ideas and skills.

Strategy of economic and social development of Saint Petersburg until 2030. Creative industries are identified among the key priorities within the Strategy.

State programme “Development of Culture Sector in Saint-Petersburg”: Objective of the programme: achievement of harmonious development of a personality based on historical and cultural diversity of St. Petersburg including the following items:

  • Preservation, development and promotion of cultural and historical heritage of
  • St. Petersburg;
  • Preservation and development of professional art, support of creative activity variety in
  • St. Petersburg;
  • Image making of culture as a main competitive advantage.

Support from the government is also expressed in the preferential provision of buildings that are owned by the city, to accommodate creative spaces and creative industries. This is done either by a lease agreement or through a concession agreement.

Professionals are organized in various unions and there are many associations throughout all sectors, working for the improvements of their respective sectors (professional development, intellectual property rights; social security improvements).


CCI support and development system

(national, city)
1. HERITAGETraditional cultural expressions 
  • Traditional Artistic handicrafts
  • Performances
  • Folk festivals and celebrations
Saint Petersburg Historical and Cultural Association “Heritage” (
Saint Petersburg Cluster of Crafts
Cultural facilities 
  • Historical monuments
  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Archives, etc.
Russian Library Association (
Union of Museums of Russia
Association of Museums of Russia
2. ARTSVisual arts 
  • Painting, graphics
  • Sculpture
  • Antique
  • Photography, etc.
Saint Petersburg Union of Artists (
Saint Petersburg Creative Union of Artists
Union of Photographers of Russia
Performing arts 
  • Theater
  • Dance
  • Opera
  • Puppet theater
  • Circus, etc.
Saint Petersburg Union of Composers
Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Society
Children’s and Youth Choral Directors Association of the North-West Region (
Saint Petersburg Music House (
Union of Theatre Workers of Russia,
Saint Petersburg branch
3. MEDIAPrint publishing 
  • Books
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines, etc.
Saint Petersburg Union of Printers
Russian Book Union,
Saint Petersburg branch
Audio-visual media 
  • Digital content
  • Software
  • Video games
  • Animation
  • Film, etc.
Union of Cinematographers of Russia, Saint Petersburg branch
Russian Animated Film Association
4. DESIGNDesign 
  • Interior
  • Graphic  
  • Fashion
  • Jewelry
  • Toys
Digital Manufactory Company
Saint Petersburg Union of Designers
Creative services 
  • Architecture
  • Advertising
  • Creative R&D
  • Cultural services
  • Digital services, etc.
Saint Petersburg Union of Architects (
Saint Petersburg Association of Architectural Studios (
Saint Petersburg Guild of Architects and Engineers
Saint Petersburg Union of Concert Figures
6. LITERATURE Journalists
Union of Journalists of Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Region (
Saint Petersburg House of Journalist
Saint Petersburg Union of Writers
Saint Petersburg House of Writer
Union of Writers of Russia,
Saint Petersburg branch


6. Knowledge base and skills

There are different educational programmes in various universities of Saint Petersburg. They cover such spheres as: heritage, arts, media, design, functional art and literature.
Several ambitious programs on art and event management in CCI have appeared with the support of state and international partners more than 10 years ago: Pro Arte Foundation – the foundation promotes contemporary arts and culture, its main fields of activity being visual art, music, architecture, art journalism, and design. Other initiatives include: Institute for cultural programs Saint Petersburg, Educational centre “Benua House” alongside with other creative and third spaces, Masters School - a private art education project founded in 2015, offering courses about the history of fine and decorative arts, architecture and design, theater and cinema, music and literature.

7. Regional CCI development outlook

The legislation regarding creative spaces has been amended in 2018 to strengthen the favorable investment climate of Saint Petersburg, ensure the involvement of unprofitable real estate objects in the economic turnover and promote the involvement of small and medium-sized businesses and large corporations in the development of creative clusters.
Smolny decree, according to which urban premises leased by business can no longer be rented of May, 30 2018 favours creative spaces, allowing them to continue the practice of sublease agreements. The new generation of entrepreneurial, dynamic cultural players have started to redefine St Petersburg creative and cultural identity. New cultural spaces have developed in former industrial areas, including several successful clusters and hubs (Lenpoligraphmash creative tech-cluster, ARTPLAY Design Centre, Golitsyn Loft, Cultural and Business Port - Sevcabel Port, Lumiere Hall creative space, Art space Fligel, "Охта Lab", Berthold Centre, Loft Project ETAGI, PALMA Art Space, Creative cluster ArtMuza), FREEDOM Art Space, Art space “New Holland”, Benois House, Creative space Tkachi, “Igri Razuma” intellectual cluster, etc.)

The possible growth points and difficulties of developing a creative economy that currently exist:

  • At the state level, the creative sector does not receive sufficient investment from the Federal and regional authorities. Preference is given to more traditional areas of production, which does not allow the formation of targeted programs to support creative enterprises.
  • Lack of sustainable communication both within the creative community itself, and between representatives of creative industries, government officials and the business community;
  • The education system does not provide sufficient number of professional and competitive personnel and does not allow existing specialists to improve their skills and competencies
  • Lack of knowledge and skills in business and marketing;
  • Knowledge gaps about creative sector performance and its contribution to support policymakers in evidence-based policy development and decision-making
  • Due to the creative sector’s high risk and its lack of tangible assets that can serve as collateral, it is very hard for cultural enterprises to obtain loans and other services from banks,
  • Creative enterprise development is hampered not only by lack of capital, but also by a lack of human capacities, technical, entrepreneurial and leadership skills as well as up-to-date digital training
  • High level of shadow creative activities, many creative entrepreneurs operate “off the books”, low added value, over-dependence on foreign firms and essential copyright infringement
  • Limits of domestic markets for cultural goods and services,
  • Lack of intellectual property protection as a barrier to creative-economy growth, creative economy development requires a functioning system of intellectual property rights



  1. Draft of the Law on the Federal Budget of the Russian Federation for 2012-2014.
  2. Official website of Saint Petersburg administrartion
  3. The Calvert Journal
  4. Saint Petersburg City Passport, Committee for External Relations of Saint-Petersburg 2017
  5. A place for creativity. Creative spaces. "Investment Forum". / KOMMERSANT BUSINESS guide / Appendix №208 from 09.11.2017, стр. 20.
  6. Р а с п о р я ж е н и е  от 31.05.2018 №64-р О внесении изменений в распоряжение Комитета по управлению городским имуществом от 22.01.2008 №16-р, распоряжение Комитета имущественных отношений Санкт-Петербурга от 30.10.2015
  7. Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation - Education and the Creative Industry in International and Domestic Practices
  8. UNCTAD Creative Economy Outlook Country Profiles 2018 Report
  9. Strategy of economic and social development of Saint Petersburg until 2030 (adopted in 2015)
  10. Creative Industries in the Modern City. Encouraging Enterprise and Creativity in Saint Petersburg. Saint Petersburg, Helsinki, Manchester, 2002.,