Monday, September 4, 2017

Unlike in Europe, Life in Suburbs of Russian Cities is Boring and Unbearable, Gubin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 3 – The fight over renovation of the five-storey apartment blocks in Moscow has called attention to something anyone who visits a Russian city knows but seldom comments upon: everything is concentrated in the city center, and almost nothing is available in the “sleeping” regions surrounding it.

            In a commentary for the Rosbalt news agency, Dmitry Gubin, a writer and television personality, says that a truly contemporary city is not about skyscrapers or trade centers but one in which every district has its own life and personality, something that is not true of Russian cities (

            Instead and in contrast to cities in Europe, everything in Russian cities is concentrated in the center and at the edges of the megalopolises is only a boring and unbearable “emptiness.” In the latter places, “it is impossible to live because there is nothing there, while in the center it is impossible to live because everyone is trying to get to the center from where there is nothing.”

            In fact, he says, this “actually is a copy of Russia in miniature” and so should perhaps not surprise anyone despite the fact that in cities at least, many things could be done to change the situation and for not much of an investment as has happened in some post-Soviet cities in Kazakhstan, for example.

            But so far, the hyper-centralization of Russia continues to be reproduced and reinforced by the hyper-centralization of Russian cities, thereby creating conditions in which few are happy with where they are living and why. 

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