Bill Clinton photo

Exchange With Reporters in St. Petersburg

April 19, 1996

Q. Mr. President, can I ask you—anything you wanted to see in particular?

The President. I saw the Impressionists' paintings; I wanted to see them. And I wanted to see the living quarters of Catherine the Great. [Laughter]

Q. How did it compare to yours?

The President. I like mine just fine. [Laughter]

Q. [Inaudible]—house, Mr. President?

The President. Well, she didn't have to run for election. [Laughter]

Q. Are you going to see the Rembrandts here?

The President. Perhaps, yes. I love the desks. The thing that strikes me is the woodwork. I hadn't counted on seeing all that. You ought to go back and see all the secret chambers in the desk back there. He put everything he had in there.

Q. Mr. President, you've seen some religious symbols today that have been opened in the last few years to the Russian people. What are your thoughts on seeing things that didn't used to be open during the Soviet era?

The President. That's a very good thing, not only making it available to the people but also making religious expression legitimate again and making it—encouraging and nourishing it. I think it's a real sign of the health of the Russian democracy that religion is respected and people are free to pursue it and express their honest convictions.

NOTE: The exchange began at approximately 2:30 p.m. in the White Hall Room at the Hermitage Museum. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters in St. Petersburg Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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