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A new research and development (R&D) centre is to by opened by Google in the Russian city of St Petersburg, Moscow Google has announced.

Some of the very best engineers in the world are reported to be based in Russia and highly-skilled teams will be working on innovative products to be sold worldwide when the new centre is opened.

Russia will become only the second country outside of the US in which Google has two R&D centres, testament to its growing wealth of scientific expertise.

As much as 30 per cent of finalists in the recent Google "Code Jam" competition hailed from the former Soviet country.

Kannan Pashupathy, vice-president of international engineering operations at Google, said: "Google is investing in Russia for the benefit of users and advertisers.

"Technology is at the heart of everything we do as a business and we’re looking forward to working with our new St Petersburg team to develop great products for our users."

Located on the delta of the Neva River in northwestern Russia, St Petersburg was known as Leningrad between 1924 and 1991 and Petrograd before then.

Google recently acquired the video-sharing company YouTube in a near billion dollar deal.