Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday. The Russian leader welcomed Lagarde to his hometown, underlining the role of the IMF in economic and financial issues, saying: «We have always awaited with interest your speeches... Еще.» Lagarde in her turn expressed joy of visiting St. Petersburg and SPIEF again. «I was delighted to come back to your hometown Saint Petersburg. I only have one regret because the last time I was at the forum it was in Saint Petersburg downtown. And it is such a gorgeous beautiful city that I miss the fact it was there and now it is here», she said. The three-day St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) opens on May 24 in Russia's second largest city with representatives from over 70 countries expected at the event.