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      Volokolamsk is a small, medieval Russian town about 120 km west of Moscow, where I spent about a couple of years before being taken to the West.

      As a strategic portage point on the River Lama – the name Volokolamsk literally means “portage on the Lama” (волок на Ламе) – it figured in numerous battles, including the Polish invasion during the Time of Troubles, and the two month occupation by Germans in 1941. As such, it is an occasional host for historical reenactment festivals, such as Field of Battle (Поле Боя).

      Volokolamsk was also the center of the Markov Republic, a peasant autonomy that existed for less than a year during 1905-1906. It was crushed when the regime restored its authority, but there were no mass repressions and even its organizers were merely exiled abroad or to Siberia, as opposed to being executed for treason as would have happened in most other countries. For comparison, the Bolsheviks exterminated 250,000 peasants during the Tambov Uprising.

      Historically, it is most notable as the birthplace of St. Joseph of Volokolamsk, a major figure in Russian monasticism during the late 15th-early 16th centuries. Joseph championed clerical land ownership, an alliance between church and state, and a firm line against heretics against the ascetic liberalism of the “Non-Possessor” hermits. Expropriated by the Bolsheviks, the Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery now again belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church, although in much diminished form thanks to 20th century history: The Soviets melted down its bells, while the Germans blew up its belltower (which was the tallest structure in Russia for a short period after its construction in the 1490s).

      But unfortunately, as we shall see, Volokolamsk hasn’t thrived since the end of the USSR.

      When I visited in 2017, the railway station was in a ramshackle state, probably unchanged since the 1960s or so. The public restrooms in particular were a reeking mess along the lines of this memetic painting by Vasily Shulzhenko.

      Ruined church getting slowly repaired… three years and counting as of 2017.

      There is a certain Russian prole specimen who talks exclusively in “blya” (“slut”), “khuy” (“dick”), and various permutations thereof. One doesn’t encounter them very often, but the workmen there fit the bill.

      This used to be a boathouse. It is now a post-Soviet ruin.

      The oldest factory in Volokolamsk (now disused).

      During the Soviet period, Volokolamsk was little more than a town-sized agricultural depot. There was a minor textile industry, where my dad as a schoolboy in the 1960s was surprised to see that the machines were stamped as having been manufactured in the 1900s. With no major heavy industrial or hi-tech enterprises, and subjected to Moscow’s gravity well, the population has fallen by more than 25% since 1991 (after adjusting for territorial expansions).

      “The New Russian University: Quality education – path to a successful career!”

      The Eternal Flame is a centerpiece of Great Patriotic War memorials throughout Russian cities, and Volokolamsk is no exception.

      And yet even that is in a state of chronic disrepair.

      This is the central administrative building for a town of less than 20,000 people. The disproportion between bureaucratic scale and local populations seems to be a recurring feature of commie regimes.

      Our taxi driver claimed that their previous mayor – a United Russia member called Alexander Sharov – was very corrupt. He had apparently sold off a Sturmgeschütz III war trophy to a German collector and replaced it with a cheap model at the Vzryv memorial complex. I looked up these claims online and found them to be fake news. The person in charge of the restoration was someone else, and he had, in any case, been cleared of the charges (though why you’d need to “restore” a hulk of metal in the first place remains unclear to me).

      However, it was still pretty clear that Sharov had an odious reputation, and was removed from office in 2016 for corruption that appears to have been notable even by the standards of Russian backwaters. He was replaced by a Communist.

      But this didn’t end the town’s woes. Last year, the toxic landfills that surrounded Volokolamsk wreathed the town in a putrid miasma, thanks to local officials taking kickbacks for taking Moscow’s garbage and failing to invest in modern waste incineration plants. I was there again in 2018, and I can confirm that the stench really was rather nauseating… I shudder to think about having to live through that. This understandably ignited local protests, and during the 2018 Presidential elections – almost uniquely for a small Russian city – Putin ended up getting a worse result in Volokolamsk than he did in the Tverskaya area of Moscow (Russia’s most expensive ZIP code).

      In the distance, beyond the Lenin statue in front of the administrative building, is the Volokolamsk Kremlin, which towers over the town.

      The top of the Resurrection Cathedral belltower hosts a beautiful panoramic view of Volokolamsk’s environs, including the photo headlining this post.

      The Kremlin hosts a very nice – if underfunded – local museum (краеведческий музей). There are coins, armors, and other artifacts from the medieval period, icons and books from the Tsarist/Imperial era, and misc paraphernalia from the Civil War (one public decree from September 23, 1919 demands the “mandatory registration of former landowners, capitalists, and officials who occupied senior positions in the Tsarist and bourgeois order” on pain of confiscation of property confiscation and prosecution for treason).

      Unsurprisingly, though, the single biggest part of the collection has to do with World War II. According to one statistic in the museum, there were more than 13,000 residents of Volokolamsk raion who took part in combat, of whom almost 7,000 died. For comparison, its entire population was 55,000 in 1939 (of whom 25,000 were men).

      There is also an art gallery featuring the work of local artists.

      And here is the monument on which that painting is based on. The T-34 monument is another hallmark of small Russian towns that were heavily afflicted by the war.

      As with most things in Volokolamsk, the Church of the Nativity at the foot of the Kremlin is in a state of disrepair. Having served as a materials depot during the Soviet era, it now subsists on small donations from the general public.

      The above account is rather depressing, but I would stop to note that Volokolamsk is not the Russian average; it is substantially below average. As I have noted, many Russian cities are becoming better and nicer, and this doesn’t include apply to just Moscow and the millioniki. It includes decidedly middling cities such as Bryansk (which I visited last year), which were also relative dumps during the Soviet era, but which have now been cleaned up and restored, and have even started acquiring some elements of SWPL culture. Actually, Volokolamsk is probably the single most depressive place I have visited in Russia since coming back, despite it only being 120 km from Moscow.

      That said, it’s not all bad. The town now has a shopping mall (perhaps the ultimate economic symbol of the Putin era), numerous fast food joints and modern retail outlets, new apartment blocks, and an Italian restaurant. This reflects growing material prosperity, even if Volokolamsk lags more dynamic regions, suffers from brain drain to Moscow, and has its coffers intermittently looted by the ex-sovok bandits who constitute the local political elites.

      ***

       
      • Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Economy, Russia, The AK, Travel, Volokolamsk 
      Hide 117 CommentsLeave a Comment
      117 Comments to "Volokolamsk 2017"
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      1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

        You can find all my travel posts here.

        My personal website has a list of all of my travel reviews here.

      2. [MORE]

        Good article, but why wasn’t it posted last year?

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin


        Does it matter? I don't imagine things cardinally changed there between 2017 and today.
        , @RadicalCenter
        Glad to have this article. I hope Anatoly gives us a whole long series of Russian cities and towns, with even more detail than this one. Some of us like to vicariously see Russia through AK till we can get over there in person ;)
      3. @Mitleser


        Good article, but why wasn't it posted last year?

        [MORE]

        Does it matter? I don’t imagine things cardinally changed there between 2017 and today.

        • Replies: @Mitleser
        No, it is just sounds like something that could have been posted last year.
      4. Nice article.

        Regarding the bit about the StuG Life:

        He had apparently sold off a Sturmgeschütz III war trophy to a German collector and replaced it with a cheap model at the Vzryv memorial complex. I looked up these claims online and found them to be fake news. The person in charge of the restoration was someone else, and he had, in any case, been cleared of the charges (though why you’d need to “restore” a hulk of metal in the first place remains unclear to me).


        These photos are from 2011. Does it look the same today?

        If there’s been no change since 2011 restoration may simply have been paint and fitting of any exterior components which had disappeared or deteriorated since the war.

        Interestingly the vehicle is an early mark StuG manufactured prior to March, 1942 when a long-barreled gun was fitted for anti-tank work. Not that many of these earlier StuGs were made. Given the vehicle type and the geographic location, it was probably destroyed during Operation Barbarossa.

        Here’s a decent video about the StuG life:

        The USSR also produced many similar assault guns and tank destroyers with casemate mounted guns, but these were largely not produced by the Anglo-Americans. Resource disparity is why–turreted AFVs are more expensive to manufacture. In the postwar period Sweden also produced a casemate gun “tank” known as the Stridsvagn 103.

        • Replies: @Vishnugupta
        A pity this tank wasn't developed further by Sweden and replaced by the Leopard 2.

        I think the concept had a lot if merits particularly a low profile compared to other tanks of its generation and lack of a obvious weak spot between the turret and hull.

        Very impressive for a small country like Sweden to develop or atleast be the first to practically implement so many military tech innovations S Tank,Stirling Engine Aip,stealth surface ship (visby) ,advanced data links for Gripen far superior to NATO link 16 etc.
      5. Good article. Hope to see more travel posts in the future, would rather not have to rely on varlamov for everything.

        • Replies: @Alfa158
        I enjoy seeing these glimpses into modern Russia. There is plenty of material online and in media that touris pretty much all the other major countries of the world and giving insights on them. Russia on the other hand,as a “naughty” country that refuses to totally submit to the New Order, has become a great blank area on the map with the exception of the major cities. It is simplistically derided as a “gas station with nukes” that needs to have a no-fly zone imposed on it until it starts celebrating Pride Month.
        It would be delightful having Lin Dinh added it to his travelogues if that had been feasible.
      6. @Anatoly Karlin


        Does it matter? I don't imagine things cardinally changed there between 2017 and today.

        No, it is just sounds like something that could have been posted last year.

        • Replies: @Mr. Hack


        With the multitude of "Open Threads" and articles that cold have been posted a year ago, it's plainly apparent that Karlin is busy with other things and has less time to devote to this blog. One only wonders why he doesn't do a post about his doctoral program and what he's up to. I hope that he doesn't think that I'm too nosy (being a private sort myself), but he has included posts about his travels and about his great remodeling project.
      7. @Mitleser
        No, it is just sounds like something that could have been posted last year.

        [MORE]

        With the multitude of “Open Threads” and articles that cold have been posted a year ago, it’s plainly apparent that Karlin is busy with other things and has less time to devote to this blog. One only wonders why he doesn’t do a post about his doctoral program and what he’s up to. I hope that he doesn’t think that I’m too nosy (being a private sort myself), but he has included posts about his travels and about his great remodeling project.

      8. Good post. I’ve missed AK’s travelogues. Any plans to go abroad this summer?

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
        Current travel plans:

        * Austria - 80% certainty [~Oct, standing invite]
        * * Will also probably use this opportunity to tick off Hungary, Slovakia, and perhaps Czechia
        * Serbia - 80% [~Oct, standing invite]
        * Crimea - 50% [August]
        * LDNR - 20% [before end of the year, depends on other people]
        * Vladivostok - the relevant conference in September was cancelled, so that probably means no China or Best Korea this year either

        I will also start doing a bunch of nearby Russian cities soon, since we now have a decent car, so I thought it best I get my old trips "out of the way" so far as writing about them goes.
      9. @Thulean Friend
        Good post. I've missed AK's travelogues. Any plans to go abroad this summer?

        Current travel plans:

        * Austria – 80% certainty [~Oct, standing invite]
        * * Will also probably use this opportunity to tick off Hungary, Slovakia, and perhaps Czechia
        * Serbia – 80% [~Oct, standing invite]
        * Crimea – 50% [August]
        * LDNR – 20% [before end of the year, depends on other people]
        * Vladivostok – the relevant conference in September was cancelled, so that probably means no China or Best Korea this year either

        I will also start doing a bunch of nearby Russian cities soon, since we now have a decent car, so I thought it best I get my old trips “out of the way” so far as writing about them goes.

        • Replies: @TheTotallyAnonymous
        Are your Austria and Serbia standing invites mutually exclusive?

        It would be a shame for you to have to miss one of them because of the other.
      10. @Anatoly Karlin
        Current travel plans:

        * Austria - 80% certainty [~Oct, standing invite]
        * * Will also probably use this opportunity to tick off Hungary, Slovakia, and perhaps Czechia
        * Serbia - 80% [~Oct, standing invite]
        * Crimea - 50% [August]
        * LDNR - 20% [before end of the year, depends on other people]
        * Vladivostok - the relevant conference in September was cancelled, so that probably means no China or Best Korea this year either

        I will also start doing a bunch of nearby Russian cities soon, since we now have a decent car, so I thought it best I get my old trips "out of the way" so far as writing about them goes.

        Are your Austria and Serbia standing invites mutually exclusive?

        It would be a shame for you to have to miss one of them because of the other.

        • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
      11. @Thorfinnsson
        Nice article.

        Regarding the bit about the StuG Life:

        He had apparently sold off a Sturmgeschütz III war trophy to a German collector and replaced it with a cheap model at the Vzryv memorial complex. I looked up these claims online and found them to be fake news. The person in charge of the restoration was someone else, and he had, in any case, been cleared of the charges (though why you’d need to “restore” a hulk of metal in the first place remains unclear to me).
         
        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/StuG_3_Leibstandarte_workshop_006.jpg

        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/83/StuG_III_Sappers_monument_Volokolamsk_005..jpg

        These photos are from 2011. Does it look the same today?

        If there's been no change since 2011 restoration may simply have been paint and fitting of any exterior components which had disappeared or deteriorated since the war.

        Interestingly the vehicle is an early mark StuG manufactured prior to March, 1942 when a long-barreled gun was fitted for anti-tank work. Not that many of these earlier StuGs were made. Given the vehicle type and the geographic location, it was probably destroyed during Operation Barbarossa.

        Here's a decent video about the StuG life:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFXZcC1xZnI

        The USSR also produced many similar assault guns and tank destroyers with casemate mounted guns, but these were largely not produced by the Anglo-Americans. Resource disparity is why--turreted AFVs are more expensive to manufacture. In the postwar period Sweden also produced a casemate gun "tank" known as the Stridsvagn 103.

        A pity this tank wasn’t developed further by Sweden and replaced by the Leopard 2.

        I think the concept had a lot if merits particularly a low profile compared to other tanks of its generation and lack of a obvious weak spot between the turret and hull.

        Very impressive for a small country like Sweden to develop or atleast be the first to practically implement so many military tech innovations S Tank,Stirling Engine Aip,stealth surface ship (visby) ,advanced data links for Gripen far superior to NATO link 16 etc.

        • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
        The S-tank was obviously obsolete by the 1980s owing to its 1950s-vintage armor. The Bofors 105mm L74, while probably still quite useful against T-72s, was also obsolete. Automotive technology, while less of a problem, was obsolescent as well.

        It's a pity, but in light of the large surplus of Leopard 2 tanks available from the downsizing post-Cold War Bundeswehr it was a very sensible decision. Especially bearing in mind that the Swedish Army only has three tank companies. The subsequent production contract (following the lease of used Bundeswehr Leopard 2A4s) for the Stridsvagn 122 also came in at a lower unit price than any other Western (or Western-allied Asian) MBT.

        The concept of a turretless "tank" or, really, a tank destroyer is of course good for a country like Sweden. A Western MBT chassis with a casemate gun mounting could probably carry a 155m high velocity cannon, which would certainly knock the piss out of any MBT in service. A country with a larger army equipped with normal turreted MBTs could also benefit from such vehicles in dedicated tank destroyer companies. The Germans and Soviets in WW2 were clearly onto something.
      12. Glad to know America isn’t the only country with horrible railroad stations.

        Ours were once gems, long ago. I can’t even blame the decline merely on the blacks, though – we, the whites, started letting our railroads go to literal shit by the 1940s and ’50s.

      13. I just wrote a draft post on Kolomna.

        Still to come: Veliky Novgorod (2018), Bryansk (2018), Sergiev Posad (2019). Will be posting them in intervals of a few days so as not to overload on Russia travelogues.

      14. @Mitleser


        Good article, but why wasn't it posted last year?

        Glad to have this article. I hope Anatoly gives us a whole long series of Russian cities and towns, with even more detail than this one. Some of us like to vicariously see Russia through AK till we can get over there in person 😉

        • Replies: @Anonymous
        I would like to see travelogues on Grozny, Irkutsk, and Vladivostok.
        Outside of Russia I would like to see travelogues on on Mongolia, Nigeria, North Korea and Iran.
        , @Dmitry
        I'm visiting in Saint Petersburg right now (just stoppingover for a minute, until tomorrow). In the center of the city is beautiful Europe. E.g. you can walk for at least 100 metres in any direction, before finding any crack in the pavement with any green grass growing in the crack.

        -

        But center of Moscow, is the craziest example - becoming not just a different country, but a different planet (maybe a different universe) from Russia we know and love.
      15. Volokolamsk was also the center of the Markov Republic, a peasant autonomy that existed for less than a year during 1905-1906. It was crushed when the regime restored its authority

        You mean legitimate government, not regime. You have written that Nicholas II was the last legitimate ruler of Russia, ergo any government of which he was head of state was per se legitimate.
        Be consistent, man !

      16. Anonymous[388] • Disclaimer says:
        @RadicalCenter
        Glad to have this article. I hope Anatoly gives us a whole long series of Russian cities and towns, with even more detail than this one. Some of us like to vicariously see Russia through AK till we can get over there in person ;)

        I would like to see travelogues on Grozny, Irkutsk, and Vladivostok.
        Outside of Russia I would like to see travelogues on on Mongolia, Nigeria, North Korea and Iran.

      17. Thanks for the interesting report and photos.

        I have not been – but to me, Volokolamsk looks relatively attractive, for a city of this size.

        This is not an unattractive looking city at all.

        • Replies: @anonymous coward

        I have not been – but to me, Volokolamsk looks relatively attractive, for a city of this size.
         
        I've been there many times in the late '80ies. Today is a big step up, it was worse back then.

        Glad to know America isn’t the only country with horrible railroad stations
         
        They recently upgraded their long-distance bus station, it's quite OK now.

        Russia is intent on only keeping long-distance and in-city trains. Local trains are being squeezed out of existence, despite being a 'socially important' service for many communities.
      18. @Vishnugupta
        A pity this tank wasn't developed further by Sweden and replaced by the Leopard 2.

        I think the concept had a lot if merits particularly a low profile compared to other tanks of its generation and lack of a obvious weak spot between the turret and hull.

        Very impressive for a small country like Sweden to develop or atleast be the first to practically implement so many military tech innovations S Tank,Stirling Engine Aip,stealth surface ship (visby) ,advanced data links for Gripen far superior to NATO link 16 etc.

        The S-tank was obviously obsolete by the 1980s owing to its 1950s-vintage armor. The Bofors 105mm L74, while probably still quite useful against T-72s, was also obsolete. Automotive technology, while less of a problem, was obsolescent as well.

        It’s a pity, but in light of the large surplus of Leopard 2 tanks available from the downsizing post-Cold War Bundeswehr it was a very sensible decision. Especially bearing in mind that the Swedish Army only has three tank companies. The subsequent production contract (following the lease of used Bundeswehr Leopard 2A4s) for the Stridsvagn 122 also came in at a lower unit price than any other Western (or Western-allied Asian) MBT.

        The concept of a turretless “tank” or, really, a tank destroyer is of course good for a country like Sweden. A Western MBT chassis with a casemate gun mounting could probably carry a 155m high velocity cannon, which would certainly knock the piss out of any MBT in service. A country with a larger army equipped with normal turreted MBTs could also benefit from such vehicles in dedicated tank destroyer companies. The Germans and Soviets in WW2 were clearly onto something.

        • Replies: @Vishnugupta
        I believe Rhinemetall is working on a new 130mm tank gun and Giat is working on a new 140 mm gun.

        IIRC Rhinemetall was offering a 140mm tank gun in the early 1990s as the K2 tank is designed to be up gunned with this in future versions if required.

        What do you think the next jump will be for the standard tank gun beyond the present 120(NATO)/125 mm(Warsaw Pact) smooth bore standard?
      19. I was wondering why the quality of the photos is so low… while I do use a phone camera for everything, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 isn’t that old.

        So I just realized that it is drag and dropping the files from Google Photos hurts the quality a lot as it saves them at a low quality level.

        In consequent posts, I will be downloading the photos from Google Photos in bulk before using a bulk image resize tool (this one seems to work well: https://bulkresizephotos.com/) to convert the photos to smaller versions but at 100% quality.

        • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
        I have G Suite with Backup & Sync. You can change the settings so photos are kept at their original size.

        Granted, I have unlimited storage which is not free.

        There are probably alternative cloud storage systems with a lot of space for less money for those not requiring the full G Suite or unwilling to pay for it.

        If you want to get techie you can also create a personal cloud using your own server: https://www.cloudwards.net/diy-cloud-storage-tools/

        I like IrfanView for bulk resizing: www.irfanview.com
      20. @Anatoly Karlin
        I was wondering why the quality of the photos is so low... while I do use a phone camera for everything, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 isn't that old.

        So I just realized that it is drag and dropping the files from Google Photos hurts the quality a lot as it saves them at a low quality level.

        In consequent posts, I will be downloading the photos from Google Photos in bulk before using a bulk image resize tool (this one seems to work well: https://bulkresizephotos.com/) to convert the photos to smaller versions but at 100% quality.

        I have G Suite with Backup & Sync. You can change the settings so photos are kept at their original size.

        Granted, I have unlimited storage which is not free.

        There are probably alternative cloud storage systems with a lot of space for less money for those not requiring the full G Suite or unwilling to pay for it.

        If you want to get techie you can also create a personal cloud using your own server: https://www.cloudwards.net/diy-cloud-storage-tools/

        I like IrfanView for bulk resizing: http://www.irfanview.com

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
        I think Google saves my pictures at ok settings, displaying them absolute full quality/size is impractical anyway because every image would then be at around 3GB.

        I noticed that the website struggles to load my full Portugal post, let alone the ridiculous Romania travelogue. :)

        Anyhow, I just swapped out the photos, keeping the same size but making sure quality is at 100% instead of the default 70% or whatever Google gives you when you drag and drop. I do think they look a lot better now.

        PS. Also I just recalled that I only got the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in early 2018, so during 2017 I was still using the Sony Xperia Z2 (a 2014 model). I notice that the quality of my photos greatly improves from that point on.
      21. @Dmitry
        Thanks for the interesting report and photos.

        I have not been - but to me, Volokolamsk looks relatively attractive, for a city of this size.

        This is not an unattractive looking city at all.

        I have not been – but to me, Volokolamsk looks relatively attractive, for a city of this size.

        I’ve been there many times in the late ’80ies. Today is a big step up, it was worse back then.

        Glad to know America isn’t the only country with horrible railroad stations

        They recently upgraded their long-distance bus station, it’s quite OK now.

        Russia is intent on only keeping long-distance and in-city trains. Local trains are being squeezed out of existence, despite being a ‘socially important’ service for many communities.

      22. @RadicalCenter
        Glad to have this article. I hope Anatoly gives us a whole long series of Russian cities and towns, with even more detail than this one. Some of us like to vicariously see Russia through AK till we can get over there in person ;)

        I’m visiting in Saint Petersburg right now (just stoppingover for a minute, until tomorrow). In the center of the city is beautiful Europe. E.g. you can walk for at least 100 metres in any direction, before finding any crack in the pavement with any green grass growing in the crack.

        But center of Moscow, is the craziest example – becoming not just a different country, but a different planet (maybe a different universe) from Russia we know and love.

      23. @Thorfinnsson
        I have G Suite with Backup & Sync. You can change the settings so photos are kept at their original size.

        Granted, I have unlimited storage which is not free.

        There are probably alternative cloud storage systems with a lot of space for less money for those not requiring the full G Suite or unwilling to pay for it.

        If you want to get techie you can also create a personal cloud using your own server: https://www.cloudwards.net/diy-cloud-storage-tools/

        I like IrfanView for bulk resizing: www.irfanview.com

        I think Google saves my pictures at ok settings, displaying them absolute full quality/size is impractical anyway because every image would then be at around 3GB.

        I noticed that the website struggles to load my full Portugal post, let alone the ridiculous Romania travelogue. 🙂

        Anyhow, I just swapped out the photos, keeping the same size but making sure quality is at 100% instead of the default 70% or whatever Google gives you when you drag and drop. I do think they look a lot better now.

        PS. Also I just recalled that I only got the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in early 2018, so during 2017 I was still using the Sony Xperia Z2 (a 2014 model). I notice that the quality of my photos greatly improves from that point on.

      24. [MORE]

        Can I post off topic here? I don’t see an open thread.

        Does anyone think it significant that the up coming Top Gun sequel doesn’t appear to us the F-35? That must have been a major call that had to be made. Is this the US Navy making a propaganda push to resist the F-35?

        AK: There is, see first comment: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/open-thread-83/
        I’ll soon make another one.

      25. Just did Bryansk. Will try to finish off Veliky Novgorod and Sergiev Posad tomorrow (today).

      26. @Adam
        Good article. Hope to see more travel posts in the future, would rather not have to rely on varlamov for everything.

        I enjoy seeing these glimpses into modern Russia. There is plenty of material online and in media that touris pretty much all the other major countries of the world and giving insights on them. Russia on the other hand,as a “naughty” country that refuses to totally submit to the New Order, has become a great blank area on the map with the exception of the major cities. It is simplistically derided as a “gas station with nukes” that needs to have a no-fly zone imposed on it until it starts celebrating Pride Month.
        It would be delightful having Lin Dinh added it to his travelogues if that had been feasible.

      27. Thanks for the insightful article. The ‘little’ details add a great deal to it. It’s very much appreciated.

      28. @Thorfinnsson
        The S-tank was obviously obsolete by the 1980s owing to its 1950s-vintage armor. The Bofors 105mm L74, while probably still quite useful against T-72s, was also obsolete. Automotive technology, while less of a problem, was obsolescent as well.

        It's a pity, but in light of the large surplus of Leopard 2 tanks available from the downsizing post-Cold War Bundeswehr it was a very sensible decision. Especially bearing in mind that the Swedish Army only has three tank companies. The subsequent production contract (following the lease of used Bundeswehr Leopard 2A4s) for the Stridsvagn 122 also came in at a lower unit price than any other Western (or Western-allied Asian) MBT.

        The concept of a turretless "tank" or, really, a tank destroyer is of course good for a country like Sweden. A Western MBT chassis with a casemate gun mounting could probably carry a 155m high velocity cannon, which would certainly knock the piss out of any MBT in service. A country with a larger army equipped with normal turreted MBTs could also benefit from such vehicles in dedicated tank destroyer companies. The Germans and Soviets in WW2 were clearly onto something.

        I believe Rhinemetall is working on a new 130mm tank gun and Giat is working on a new 140 mm gun.

        IIRC Rhinemetall was offering a 140mm tank gun in the early 1990s as the K2 tank is designed to be up gunned with this in future versions if required.

        What do you think the next jump will be for the standard tank gun beyond the present 120(NATO)/125 mm(Warsaw Pact) smooth bore standard?

        • Replies: @Epigon
        The jump would have occured had the 1980s prototypes and projects materialized. Even T-14 Armata is a downgrade in hard stats compared to planned tanks stemming from Object 195, 477, 490 prototypes.

        Soviet 152 mm (T-14 is designed with it in mind) would be an overkill right now - indeed, 2A82 125 mm with Svinets is more than capable of defeating any Western threat.

        Cold War ended, and everyone is still driving around in vehicles based on 1970-1980 designs, firing modern ammunition, upgraded with modern electronics and add-on armour.

        US had a 140 mm gun planned, but there were no targets that would be resistant to 120 mm with top ammunition so it was discontinued.
        , @Thorfinnsson
        If there are any caliber increases at all, they won't be large. Existing MBTs can carry somewhat larger guns, though at the cost of increased weight and further diminished ammunition stowage (which is already very low). Transportation is already a problem for the Challenger 2, M1 Abrams, and Leopard 2. Russian MBTs are lighter for a reason, as are the French LeClerc and Japanese Type 10,

        As Epigon noted, the top performing rounds in the 120 - 125mm class reliably penetrate most existing MBTs.

        It's also a mistake to design tanks with anti-tank warfare as the only consideration. Tanks were originally invented to cross poor terrain and destroy battlefield fortifications. This function is ultimately why they still exist.

        Further increasing caliber size means even fewer HE rounds can be carried.

        That said, in light of the efficacy of modern reactive armor and the increasing performance of hard kill active protection systems there's growing awareness of the importance of the large caliber, high velocity gun in knocking out tanks. ATGMs are now recognized as being much less useful than once thought. So caliber growth to 130 - 140mm seems reasonable.

        There is also long time ongoing research about how to increase the gun performance of existing calibers through propellant innovation. Electrothermal-chemical technology has been under study since the 1980s.
      29. @Vishnugupta
        I believe Rhinemetall is working on a new 130mm tank gun and Giat is working on a new 140 mm gun.

        IIRC Rhinemetall was offering a 140mm tank gun in the early 1990s as the K2 tank is designed to be up gunned with this in future versions if required.

        What do you think the next jump will be for the standard tank gun beyond the present 120(NATO)/125 mm(Warsaw Pact) smooth bore standard?

        The jump would have occured had the 1980s prototypes and projects materialized. Even T-14 Armata is a downgrade in hard stats compared to planned tanks stemming from Object 195, 477, 490 prototypes.

        Soviet 152 mm (T-14 is designed with it in mind) would be an overkill right now – indeed, 2A82 125 mm with Svinets is more than capable of defeating any Western threat.

        Cold War ended, and everyone is still driving around in vehicles based on 1970-1980 designs, firing modern ammunition, upgraded with modern electronics and add-on armour.

        US had a 140 mm gun planned, but there were no targets that would be resistant to 120 mm with top ammunition so it was discontinued.

      30. Damn this looks worse than parts of rural Romania. I can only imagine what some whole cities in Eastern Ukraine are like these days.

        • Replies: @Dmitry
        I have never been in Volokolamsk, so this is just my superficial view.

        But it looks like visually this is an attractive city. Look at all the prerevolutionary architecture.

        Also buildings look like they are in relatively good condition for a city of this size.

        Maybe it's below average for Moscow region, but standards are distorted there. Also they developed a bad reputation in the media because of the rubbish dump near them.

        They also seem to know it has potential for the tourist market, if they could solve its ecological problems. You can see they are restoring historical buildings.

        -

        My superficial impression from videos as well

        1. Road and pavement quality is high in the centre.
        2. Buildings are in good condition.
        3. Cars are relatively new and indicate middle class population (e.g. find a new Volvo SUV there).
        4. Good quality cottages.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSzXrWaJ8FM
        , @AP
        Probably not much worse than this, but without the new mall.
      31. LH says:

        A recent article about highways in Russia mentioned, that in Soviet era there were only three modern highways: Moscow ring, motorway to Tula and 99 km long motorway to Volokolamsk. Last two “had been built for the Moscow Olympics to showcase the progress and modernity of the Soviet Union“.

        Perhaps Volokolamsk was bit more important than just an agricultural depot.

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

        Last two “had been built for the Moscow Olympics to showcase the progress and modernity of the Soviet Union“.
         
        If you think the Soviets were going to sink meager resources on a motorway from Moscow (pop: 8M) to Volokolamsk (pop: 25K) then I have a bridge over the Bering Straits to sell to you.

        In reality, it was either (a) what it says on the sin - a showcase, or, more likely, (b) an emergency air strip for the Soviet Air Force (just like the Moscow Ring Road was also constructed out of military as opposed to economic considerations). There were in fact rumors - I have been unable to verify them, not that I ever tried - that there were ideas about contracting out the Volokolamsk motorway construction to the Americans (this was the detente era). But the Americans refused on account of their suspicions it would be dual use.
      32. @Vishnugupta
        I believe Rhinemetall is working on a new 130mm tank gun and Giat is working on a new 140 mm gun.

        IIRC Rhinemetall was offering a 140mm tank gun in the early 1990s as the K2 tank is designed to be up gunned with this in future versions if required.

        What do you think the next jump will be for the standard tank gun beyond the present 120(NATO)/125 mm(Warsaw Pact) smooth bore standard?

        If there are any caliber increases at all, they won’t be large. Existing MBTs can carry somewhat larger guns, though at the cost of increased weight and further diminished ammunition stowage (which is already very low). Transportation is already a problem for the Challenger 2, M1 Abrams, and Leopard 2. Russian MBTs are lighter for a reason, as are the French LeClerc and Japanese Type 10,

        As Epigon noted, the top performing rounds in the 120 – 125mm class reliably penetrate most existing MBTs.

        It’s also a mistake to design tanks with anti-tank warfare as the only consideration. Tanks were originally invented to cross poor terrain and destroy battlefield fortifications. This function is ultimately why they still exist.

        Further increasing caliber size means even fewer HE rounds can be carried.

        That said, in light of the efficacy of modern reactive armor and the increasing performance of hard kill active protection systems there’s growing awareness of the importance of the large caliber, high velocity gun in knocking out tanks. ATGMs are now recognized as being much less useful than once thought. So caliber growth to 130 – 140mm seems reasonable.

        There is also long time ongoing research about how to increase the gun performance of existing calibers through propellant innovation. Electrothermal-chemical technology has been under study since the 1980s.

      33. Anatoly, what do you consider the US equivalent of Volokolamsk to be? Some dirt-poor but heavily white medium-sized city in Appalachia? I certainly can’t imagine Volokolamsk being comparable to (or worse than) heavily black US cities such as Baltimore or Gary or Detroit or Flint or Youngstown.

        BTW, Anatoly, do you consider it a good thing or a bad thing that Russia’s cognitive elites cluster in two major areas (the Moscow area and the St. Pete’s area)? Here in the US, our cognitive elites appear to be more spread out across the country.

        • Replies: @Dmitry
        Why a poor city, by normal comparison? It has problems of falling population, but average salary in Volokolamsky district is slightly above average salary of Russia.

        Average salary Volokolamsky district is up to 5% higher than average salary of Russia in some years.
        , @Anatoly Karlin

        Some dirt-poor but heavily white medium-sized city in Appalachia?
         
        No, that would be a Volokolamsk somewhere in Irkutsk oblast. In terms of crime, it would of course be better than any majority black US city.

        BTW, Anatoly, do you consider it a good thing or a bad thing that Russia’s cognitive elites cluster in two major areas (the Moscow area and the St. Pete’s area)?
         
        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia's economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf's Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements and (2) losing Kiev, the USSR's third city.

        In a "normal" 20th century, apart from having a much larger population, it would also have been more concentrated in big second-tier cities, with places such as Krasnodar, Rostov on Don, Odessa, Kazan, Yekaterinburg all reaching populations of 3-5 million people as opposed to <1.5 million. There would be no monotown monstrosities like Tolyatti, and no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk. There would also be fewer small towns such as Volokolamsk.

        It is however a good thing that Russia does have a world-tier megapolis as opposed to not having one.
        , @AP
        A crappy place not far from New York, such as Newburgh (although it's a lot smaller).
      34. @Yevardian
        Damn this looks worse than parts of rural Romania. I can only imagine what some whole cities in Eastern Ukraine are like these days.

        I have never been in Volokolamsk, so this is just my superficial view.

        But it looks like visually this is an attractive city. Look at all the prerevolutionary architecture.

        Also buildings look like they are in relatively good condition for a city of this size.

        Maybe it’s below average for Moscow region, but standards are distorted there. Also they developed a bad reputation in the media because of the rubbish dump near them.

        They also seem to know it has potential for the tourist market, if they could solve its ecological problems. You can see they are restoring historical buildings.

        My superficial impression from videos as well

        1. Road and pavement quality is high in the centre.
        2. Buildings are in good condition.
        3. Cars are relatively new and indicate middle class population (e.g. find a new Volvo SUV there).
        4. Good quality cottages.

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
        Those are all correct points, but they need to be set against:

        - The pace of restoration is slow, not just relative to towns like Sergiev Posad (turbocharged with money) but many provincial ones such as Bryansk.
        - It isn't an extremely poor town, but it's not visibly any richer than provincial towns outside Moscow oblast.
        , @silviosilver
        If I had not known this was a Russian town, based on that video I would have guessed somewhere in the Balkans. That's very much what it reminds me of.

        Most of google maps/youtube drivethroughs I've seen of Russian cities look much nicer than this. Youtubes usually showcase the nicer parts of town, but through googling I've discovered that pretty there are some horridly dumpy parts of Russian cities - in terms of housing and street quality, roughly on the level of black ghettos in America, and often worse. (Eg what remains of black south LA looks much nicer than the dumpier parts of big Russian cities.)

        I used to think the depressingly dumpy quality of housing in eastern Europe had something to do with communism. But crappy housing quality is pretty much a global phenomenon. I have to confess to being amazed at the persistence of shitty housing across the world. I'm sure there are numerous tricks to the trade, but building a house is not exactly rocket science. And yet housing pretty much everywhere outside northern Europe, N. America and Aus/NZ continues to be dreadful at worst or underwhelming at best. (I mean even developed countries like France and Italy. Compare the crappy apartments so many of them live in to the average home in, say, LA or Toronto or Melbourne - forget it, there's no comparison at all.)
      35. @Mr. XYZ
        Anatoly, what do you consider the US equivalent of Volokolamsk to be? Some dirt-poor but heavily white medium-sized city in Appalachia? I certainly can't imagine Volokolamsk being comparable to (or worse than) heavily black US cities such as Baltimore or Gary or Detroit or Flint or Youngstown.

        BTW, Anatoly, do you consider it a good thing or a bad thing that Russia's cognitive elites cluster in two major areas (the Moscow area and the St. Pete's area)? Here in the US, our cognitive elites appear to be more spread out across the country.

        Why a poor city, by normal comparison? It has problems of falling population, but average salary in Volokolamsky district is slightly above average salary of Russia.

        Average salary Volokolamsky district is up to 5% higher than average salary of Russia in some years.

        • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
        How do Bryansk, Moscow, and St. Pete's compare, though? Also, what about Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar?
      36. @Mr. XYZ
        Anatoly, what do you consider the US equivalent of Volokolamsk to be? Some dirt-poor but heavily white medium-sized city in Appalachia? I certainly can't imagine Volokolamsk being comparable to (or worse than) heavily black US cities such as Baltimore or Gary or Detroit or Flint or Youngstown.

        BTW, Anatoly, do you consider it a good thing or a bad thing that Russia's cognitive elites cluster in two major areas (the Moscow area and the St. Pete's area)? Here in the US, our cognitive elites appear to be more spread out across the country.

        Some dirt-poor but heavily white medium-sized city in Appalachia?

        No, that would be a Volokolamsk somewhere in Irkutsk oblast. In terms of crime, it would of course be better than any majority black US city.

        BTW, Anatoly, do you consider it a good thing or a bad thing that Russia’s cognitive elites cluster in two major areas (the Moscow area and the St. Pete’s area)?

        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia’s economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf’s Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements and (2) losing Kiev, the USSR’s third city.

        In a “normal” 20th century, apart from having a much larger population, it would also have been more concentrated in big second-tier cities, with places such as Krasnodar, Rostov on Don, Odessa, Kazan, Yekaterinburg all reaching populations of 3-5 million people as opposed to <1.5 million. There would be no monotown monstrosities like Tolyatti, and no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk. There would also be fewer small towns such as Volokolamsk.

        It is however a good thing that Russia does have a world-tier megapolis as opposed to not having one.

        • Replies: @Mr. XYZ

        No, that would be a Volokolamsk somewhere in Irkutsk oblast. In terms of crime, it would of course be better than any majority black US city.
         
        There's another Volokolamsk in Irkutsk oblast? Or are you simply using Volokolamsk as a term to describe a dumpy city?

        Also, if so, what would be a good US equivalent of Volokolamsk, in your honest opinion?

        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia’s economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf’s Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements and (2) losing Kiev, the USSR’s third city.
         
        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don, this problem could have been slightly rectified, no? In fact, it's not too late to do this right now if Russia would have been that determined to do this. Of course, I suspect that doing this right now would be a huge waste of money that Russia could better spend on other things.

        In a “normal” 20th century, apart from having a much larger population, it would also have been more concentrated in big second-tier cities, with places such as Krasnodar, Rostov on Don, Odessa, Kazan, Yekaterinburg all reaching populations of 3-5 million people as opposed to <1.5 million.
         
        But wouldn't Moscow and St. Pete's also had much more people in this scenario? If so, this could have cancelled out this effect. In other words, while the second-tier cities might have had larger populations, their size relative to Moscow or St. Pete's might not have been too different from what it was in real life.

        Of course, as I previously mentioned, moving the Russian capital further south to Rostov-on-Don could have created a huge Russian city in the south comparable in size at least to St. Pete's.

        There would be no monotown monstrosities like Tolyatti, and no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk. There would also be fewer small towns such as Volokolamsk.
         
        What's the issue with Tolyatti?

        Also, how are Perm and Krasnoyarsk much worse than Yekaterinburg?

        It is however a good thing that Russia does have a world-tier megapolis as opposed to not having one.
         
        Agreed.

        Also, how larger do you think that Caucasian (including Ottoman Armenia, if Russia would have ever successfully conquered it) and Central Asian cities would have been right now in a scenario where Russia would have experienced a normal 20th century?
        , @melanf

        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia’s economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf’s Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements
         
        Urban growth rates 2007-2017

        Tyumen 135%
        Makhachkala 127%
        Krasnodar 124%
        Voronezh 123%
        Krasnoyarsk 116%
        St. Petersburg 115%
        Novosibirsk 115%
        Moscow 112%
        Yekaterinburg 111%
        Kazan 110%
        Ufa 110%
        Rostov-on-don 107%
        Khabarovsk 107%
        Vladivostok 104%
        Nizhny Novgorod 99%

        Kiev, the USSR’s third city.
         
        Nizhny Novgorod was USSR’s third city by population
        , @anonymous coward

        ...no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk
         
        You should really go visit the Siberian cities, because what you wrote is wildly inaccurate.

        a) They're not colder or any more inhospitable that St. Pete. And unlike St. Pete, they have natural resources, including oil.

        b) Their population growth is almost entirely natural, not centrally-planned. See if point 'a', there's a lot of natural motivation to move there.

        c) Population movement towards Siberia is not a Soviet phenomenon, it has been going on for centuries and centuries. Read some history of the place, it's fascinating.

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B3%D0%B0%D0%B7%D0%B5%D1%8F
      37. @Dmitry
        I have never been in Volokolamsk, so this is just my superficial view.

        But it looks like visually this is an attractive city. Look at all the prerevolutionary architecture.

        Also buildings look like they are in relatively good condition for a city of this size.

        Maybe it's below average for Moscow region, but standards are distorted there. Also they developed a bad reputation in the media because of the rubbish dump near them.

        They also seem to know it has potential for the tourist market, if they could solve its ecological problems. You can see they are restoring historical buildings.

        -

        My superficial impression from videos as well

        1. Road and pavement quality is high in the centre.
        2. Buildings are in good condition.
        3. Cars are relatively new and indicate middle class population (e.g. find a new Volvo SUV there).
        4. Good quality cottages.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSzXrWaJ8FM

        Those are all correct points, but they need to be set against:

        – The pace of restoration is slow, not just relative to towns like Sergiev Posad (turbocharged with money) but many provincial ones such as Bryansk.
        – It isn’t an extremely poor town, but it’s not visibly any richer than provincial towns outside Moscow oblast.

      38. @LH
        A recent article about highways in Russia mentioned, that in Soviet era there were only three modern highways: Moscow ring, motorway to Tula and 99 km long motorway to Volokolamsk. Last two "had been built for the Moscow Olympics to showcase the progress and modernity of the Soviet Union".

        Perhaps Volokolamsk was bit more important than just an agricultural depot.

        Last two “had been built for the Moscow Olympics to showcase the progress and modernity of the Soviet Union“.

        If you think the Soviets were going to sink meager resources on a motorway from Moscow (pop: 8M) to Volokolamsk (pop: 25K) then I have a bridge over the Bering Straits to sell to you.

        In reality, it was either (a) what it says on the sin – a showcase, or, more likely, (b) an emergency air strip for the Soviet Air Force (just like the Moscow Ring Road was also constructed out of military as opposed to economic considerations). There were in fact rumors – I have been unable to verify them, not that I ever tried – that there were ideas about contracting out the Volokolamsk motorway construction to the Americans (this was the detente era). But the Americans refused on account of their suspicions it would be dual use.

      39. @Yevardian
        Damn this looks worse than parts of rural Romania. I can only imagine what some whole cities in Eastern Ukraine are like these days.

        Probably not much worse than this, but without the new mall.

      40. @Mr. XYZ
        Anatoly, what do you consider the US equivalent of Volokolamsk to be? Some dirt-poor but heavily white medium-sized city in Appalachia? I certainly can't imagine Volokolamsk being comparable to (or worse than) heavily black US cities such as Baltimore or Gary or Detroit or Flint or Youngstown.

        BTW, Anatoly, do you consider it a good thing or a bad thing that Russia's cognitive elites cluster in two major areas (the Moscow area and the St. Pete's area)? Here in the US, our cognitive elites appear to be more spread out across the country.

        A crappy place not far from New York, such as Newburgh (although it’s a lot smaller).

        • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
        Newburgh is one-third black, though:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newburgh,_New_York#Demographics
      41. @Dmitry
        I have never been in Volokolamsk, so this is just my superficial view.

        But it looks like visually this is an attractive city. Look at all the prerevolutionary architecture.

        Also buildings look like they are in relatively good condition for a city of this size.

        Maybe it's below average for Moscow region, but standards are distorted there. Also they developed a bad reputation in the media because of the rubbish dump near them.

        They also seem to know it has potential for the tourist market, if they could solve its ecological problems. You can see they are restoring historical buildings.

        -

        My superficial impression from videos as well

        1. Road and pavement quality is high in the centre.
        2. Buildings are in good condition.
        3. Cars are relatively new and indicate middle class population (e.g. find a new Volvo SUV there).
        4. Good quality cottages.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSzXrWaJ8FM

        If I had not known this was a Russian town, based on that video I would have guessed somewhere in the Balkans. That’s very much what it reminds me of.

        Most of google maps/youtube drivethroughs I’ve seen of Russian cities look much nicer than this. Youtubes usually showcase the nicer parts of town, but through googling I’ve discovered that pretty there are some horridly dumpy parts of Russian cities – in terms of housing and street quality, roughly on the level of black ghettos in America, and often worse. (Eg what remains of black south LA looks much nicer than the dumpier parts of big Russian cities.)

        I used to think the depressingly dumpy quality of housing in eastern Europe had something to do with communism. But crappy housing quality is pretty much a global phenomenon. I have to confess to being amazed at the persistence of shitty housing across the world. I’m sure there are numerous tricks to the trade, but building a house is not exactly rocket science. And yet housing pretty much everywhere outside northern Europe, N. America and Aus/NZ continues to be dreadful at worst or underwhelming at best. (I mean even developed countries like France and Italy. Compare the crappy apartments so many of them live in to the average home in, say, LA or Toronto or Melbourne – forget it, there’s no comparison at all.)

        • Replies: @Dmitry

        I would have guessed somewhere in the Balkans.
         
        It is an ancient city, with a few architectural treasures there and it seems like this city is interested in historical preservation.

        (Karlin has presumably vacationed there, because of its historical buildings).

        I’ve seen of Russian cities look much nicer than this

         
        It depends on aesthetics, region and history.
        For a small city of 20,000 people - in my mind, is places like...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2z6JU07emh0

        horridly dumpy parts of Russian cities – in terms of housing and street quality
         
        Quality of the cottages in Volokolamsk looks quite good though (you can see in the video, large and luxurious ones). Salaries are average, or slightly above average there. And seems like they have slightly middle class residents, quite new cars, etc.

        They were cursed with a famous rubbish dump problem, however. And all the media has focused a lot on their protests, partly because they're close to Moscow.

        quality of housing in eastern Europe had something to do with communism

         
        Postwar Soviet Union was excellent in the area of housing, relative to its situation. For example, they created modern housing for tens of millions of people - who had never lived at such a high level - in a very short time. And they provided this housing with all the most modern infrastructure: excellent transport, heating, electricity, etc.

        But engineers who developed the prefabricated technology of housing, built it to endure for 30 years, and then to be replaced by more upgraded housing that would exist by then.

        However, now a lot of this housing is more than 50 years old, and after so many years, some of the buildings are in a very bad way.

        yet housing pretty much everywhere outside northern Europe, N. America and Aus/NZ continues

         
        American housing is often terrible from urban design perspective, as it results in far too low population density, dependence on automobiles, and vast sprawling of a city over the countryside.

        I would say 19th century English, were possibly the greatest housing designers in history. They could create very beautiful, dense and practical housing, all at same time. Some of these residential English roads of the 19th century, are more like artistic masterpieces.

        But that was in the 19th century. Modern English housing is not like this.

        developed countries like France and Italy. Compare the crappy apartments

         
        Apartments in countries like France, Italy and Spain, will be on average very good quality, though. In addition, they are usually located in dense "mixed-service" areas, where there is very convenient shop 5 minutes walk from your door, and even many services within 10 minutes walk.
      42. @AP
        A crappy place not far from New York, such as Newburgh (although it's a lot smaller).
      43. @Anatoly Karlin

        Some dirt-poor but heavily white medium-sized city in Appalachia?
         
        No, that would be a Volokolamsk somewhere in Irkutsk oblast. In terms of crime, it would of course be better than any majority black US city.

        BTW, Anatoly, do you consider it a good thing or a bad thing that Russia’s cognitive elites cluster in two major areas (the Moscow area and the St. Pete’s area)?
         
        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia's economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf's Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements and (2) losing Kiev, the USSR's third city.

        In a "normal" 20th century, apart from having a much larger population, it would also have been more concentrated in big second-tier cities, with places such as Krasnodar, Rostov on Don, Odessa, Kazan, Yekaterinburg all reaching populations of 3-5 million people as opposed to <1.5 million. There would be no monotown monstrosities like Tolyatti, and no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk. There would also be fewer small towns such as Volokolamsk.

        It is however a good thing that Russia does have a world-tier megapolis as opposed to not having one.

        No, that would be a Volokolamsk somewhere in Irkutsk oblast. In terms of crime, it would of course be better than any majority black US city.

        There’s another Volokolamsk in Irkutsk oblast? Or are you simply using Volokolamsk as a term to describe a dumpy city?

        Also, if so, what would be a good US equivalent of Volokolamsk, in your honest opinion?

        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia’s economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf’s Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements and (2) losing Kiev, the USSR’s third city.

        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don, this problem could have been slightly rectified, no? In fact, it’s not too late to do this right now if Russia would have been that determined to do this. Of course, I suspect that doing this right now would be a huge waste of money that Russia could better spend on other things.

        In a “normal” 20th century, apart from having a much larger population, it would also have been more concentrated in big second-tier cities, with places such as Krasnodar, Rostov on Don, Odessa, Kazan, Yekaterinburg all reaching populations of 3-5 million people as opposed to <1.5 million.

        But wouldn’t Moscow and St. Pete’s also had much more people in this scenario? If so, this could have cancelled out this effect. In other words, while the second-tier cities might have had larger populations, their size relative to Moscow or St. Pete’s might not have been too different from what it was in real life.

        Of course, as I previously mentioned, moving the Russian capital further south to Rostov-on-Don could have created a huge Russian city in the south comparable in size at least to St. Pete’s.

        There would be no monotown monstrosities like Tolyatti, and no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk. There would also be fewer small towns such as Volokolamsk.

        What’s the issue with Tolyatti?

        Also, how are Perm and Krasnoyarsk much worse than Yekaterinburg?

        It is however a good thing that Russia does have a world-tier megapolis as opposed to not having one.

        Agreed.

        Also, how larger do you think that Caucasian (including Ottoman Armenia, if Russia would have ever successfully conquered it) and Central Asian cities would have been right now in a scenario where Russia would have experienced a normal 20th century?

        • Replies: @melanf

        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don
         
        In this case, the capital should be moved to the far East, to Vladivostok or Khabarovsk
        , @Anatoly Karlin

        Newburgh is one-third black, though...
         
        You're not going to find any down on their luck all-white small towns within driving commuting range of any American metropolis. AP is correct.

        Or are you simply using Volokolamsk as a term to describe a dumpy city? Also, if so, what would be a good US equivalent of Volokolamsk, in your honest opinion?
         
        This, and what AP said.

        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don, this problem could have been slightly rectified, no?
         
        Rectified what? The problem is the lack of 2-5 million population cities - this would have been avoided organically under a normal 20th century, artificially bumping up Rostov above the 2 million mark would be an idiotic waste of money (and Krasnodar would be a better candidate for a southern capital anyway).

        But wouldn’t Moscow and St. Pete’s also had much more people in this scenario? If so, this could have cancelled out this effect.
         
        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe's most populated country - by far - to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M, with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf's Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa). No, why would it. It would mean that Russia would have two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one, and a good dozen or so dynamic cities in the 2-5M range (as opposed to zero).

        What’s the issue with Tolyatti?
         
        It's the biggest "single enterprise" city (or monotown) in Russia - a huge drain on resources in the transition period, because those enterprises fed entire cities and could not be shut down for political reasons.

        Also, how are Perm and Krasnoyarsk much worse than Yekaterinburg?
         
        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.

        Also, how larger do you think that Caucasian (including Ottoman Armenia, if Russia would have ever successfully conquered it) and Central Asian cities would have been right now in a scenario where Russia would have experienced a normal 20th century?
         
        Central Asian ones - probably similar. They weren't demographically crippled during the 20th century as the Slavic areas were. Caucasian ones would be moderately bigger.
      44. @Dmitry
        Why a poor city, by normal comparison? It has problems of falling population, but average salary in Volokolamsky district is slightly above average salary of Russia.

        Average salary Volokolamsky district is up to 5% higher than average salary of Russia in some years.

        How do Bryansk, Moscow, and St. Pete’s compare, though? Also, what about Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar?

      45. @Anatoly Karlin

        Some dirt-poor but heavily white medium-sized city in Appalachia?
         
        No, that would be a Volokolamsk somewhere in Irkutsk oblast. In terms of crime, it would of course be better than any majority black US city.

        BTW, Anatoly, do you consider it a good thing or a bad thing that Russia’s cognitive elites cluster in two major areas (the Moscow area and the St. Pete’s area)?
         
        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia's economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf's Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements and (2) losing Kiev, the USSR's third city.

        In a "normal" 20th century, apart from having a much larger population, it would also have been more concentrated in big second-tier cities, with places such as Krasnodar, Rostov on Don, Odessa, Kazan, Yekaterinburg all reaching populations of 3-5 million people as opposed to <1.5 million. There would be no monotown monstrosities like Tolyatti, and no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk. There would also be fewer small towns such as Volokolamsk.

        It is however a good thing that Russia does have a world-tier megapolis as opposed to not having one.

        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia’s economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf’s Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements

        Urban growth rates 2007-2017

        Tyumen 135%
        Makhachkala 127%
        Krasnodar 124%
        Voronezh 123%
        Krasnoyarsk 116%
        St. Petersburg 115%
        Novosibirsk 115%
        Moscow 112%
        Yekaterinburg 111%
        Kazan 110%
        Ufa 110%
        Rostov-on-don 107%
        Khabarovsk 107%
        Vladivostok 104%
        Nizhny Novgorod 99%

        Kiev, the USSR’s third city.

        Nizhny Novgorod was USSR’s third city by population

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

        Nizhny Novgorod was USSR’s third city by population
         
        No, that is simply incorrect.

        https://ic.pics.livejournal.com/matveychev_oleg/27303223/10854459/10854459_900.png
      46. @Mr. XYZ

        No, that would be a Volokolamsk somewhere in Irkutsk oblast. In terms of crime, it would of course be better than any majority black US city.
         
        There's another Volokolamsk in Irkutsk oblast? Or are you simply using Volokolamsk as a term to describe a dumpy city?

        Also, if so, what would be a good US equivalent of Volokolamsk, in your honest opinion?

        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia’s economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf’s Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements and (2) losing Kiev, the USSR’s third city.
         
        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don, this problem could have been slightly rectified, no? In fact, it's not too late to do this right now if Russia would have been that determined to do this. Of course, I suspect that doing this right now would be a huge waste of money that Russia could better spend on other things.

        In a “normal” 20th century, apart from having a much larger population, it would also have been more concentrated in big second-tier cities, with places such as Krasnodar, Rostov on Don, Odessa, Kazan, Yekaterinburg all reaching populations of 3-5 million people as opposed to <1.5 million.
         
        But wouldn't Moscow and St. Pete's also had much more people in this scenario? If so, this could have cancelled out this effect. In other words, while the second-tier cities might have had larger populations, their size relative to Moscow or St. Pete's might not have been too different from what it was in real life.

        Of course, as I previously mentioned, moving the Russian capital further south to Rostov-on-Don could have created a huge Russian city in the south comparable in size at least to St. Pete's.

        There would be no monotown monstrosities like Tolyatti, and no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk. There would also be fewer small towns such as Volokolamsk.
         
        What's the issue with Tolyatti?

        Also, how are Perm and Krasnoyarsk much worse than Yekaterinburg?

        It is however a good thing that Russia does have a world-tier megapolis as opposed to not having one.
         
        Agreed.

        Also, how larger do you think that Caucasian (including Ottoman Armenia, if Russia would have ever successfully conquered it) and Central Asian cities would have been right now in a scenario where Russia would have experienced a normal 20th century?

        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don

        In this case, the capital should be moved to the far East, to Vladivostok or Khabarovsk

        • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
        Why? Indeed, why make Russia's capital be located on or near the Pacific Ocean when most of Russia's population lives in Europe?
      47. @melanf

        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don
         
        In this case, the capital should be moved to the far East, to Vladivostok or Khabarovsk

        Why? Indeed, why make Russia’s capital be located on or near the Pacific Ocean when most of Russia’s population lives in Europe?

        • Replies: @melanf
        Because the far East (unlike the densely populated South of Russia) is super underdeveloped (in comparison with its potential)

        http://tigirek.ru/sites/default/files/%D0%94%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0%20%D0%91%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0.%20www.zapovedsever.ru_.jpg

        https://idilesom.com/files/photos/places/b/53b63ed526f3d.jpg
      48. @Mr. XYZ
        Why? Indeed, why make Russia's capital be located on or near the Pacific Ocean when most of Russia's population lives in Europe?

        Because the far East (unlike the densely populated South of Russia) is super underdeveloped (in comparison with its potential)

        • Replies: @Anonymoose
        I'd prefer if those two places where the pictures were taken were left undeveloped especially the second picture.
        , @Mr. XYZ
        Are the Russian people actually going to tolerate moving the Russian capital that far away, though?

        BTW, what do you think is the full potential of the Russian Far East?
        , @Mitleser
        What potential?

        The main reason it is not more developed/populated is the climate.
        Moving the capital would not change that.

        https://dasgeographer.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/asia_climate.jpg
      49. @melanf
        Because the far East (unlike the densely populated South of Russia) is super underdeveloped (in comparison with its potential)

        http://tigirek.ru/sites/default/files/%D0%94%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0%20%D0%91%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0.%20www.zapovedsever.ru_.jpg

        https://idilesom.com/files/photos/places/b/53b63ed526f3d.jpg

        I’d prefer if those two places where the pictures were taken were left undeveloped especially the second picture.

        • Agree: RadicalCenter
      50. @melanf
        Because the far East (unlike the densely populated South of Russia) is super underdeveloped (in comparison with its potential)

        http://tigirek.ru/sites/default/files/%D0%94%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0%20%D0%91%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0.%20www.zapovedsever.ru_.jpg

        https://idilesom.com/files/photos/places/b/53b63ed526f3d.jpg

        Are the Russian people actually going to tolerate moving the Russian capital that far away, though?

        BTW, what do you think is the full potential of the Russian Far East?

        • Replies: @melanf

        Are the Russian people actually going to tolerate moving the Russian capital that far away, though?
         
        The transfer of the capital from Moscow (if its didn't consume money) the Russian people (excluding Muscovites) will certainly be welcome, simply because of the strong dislike which the Russian people have for the Muscovites. But given the cost of such an enterprise - it will require a new Peter the Great with his methods.

        https://i.pinimg.com/originals/6e/b2/52/6eb252d1031e6912109f583ad4ef4e5a.jpg
      51. @Anatoly Karlin

        Some dirt-poor but heavily white medium-sized city in Appalachia?
         
        No, that would be a Volokolamsk somewhere in Irkutsk oblast. In terms of crime, it would of course be better than any majority black US city.

        BTW, Anatoly, do you consider it a good thing or a bad thing that Russia’s cognitive elites cluster in two major areas (the Moscow area and the St. Pete’s area)?
         
        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia's economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf's Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements and (2) losing Kiev, the USSR's third city.

        In a "normal" 20th century, apart from having a much larger population, it would also have been more concentrated in big second-tier cities, with places such as Krasnodar, Rostov on Don, Odessa, Kazan, Yekaterinburg all reaching populations of 3-5 million people as opposed to <1.5 million. There would be no monotown monstrosities like Tolyatti, and no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk. There would also be fewer small towns such as Volokolamsk.

        It is however a good thing that Russia does have a world-tier megapolis as opposed to not having one.

        …no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk

        You should really go visit the Siberian cities, because what you wrote is wildly inaccurate.

        a) They’re not colder or any more inhospitable that St. Pete. And unlike St. Pete, they have natural resources, including oil.

        b) Their population growth is almost entirely natural, not centrally-planned. See if point ‘a’, there’s a lot of natural motivation to move there.

        c) Population movement towards Siberia is not a Soviet phenomenon, it has been going on for centuries and centuries. Read some history of the place, it’s fascinating.

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B3%D0%B0%D0%B7%D0%B5%D1%8F

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

        You should really go visit the Siberian cities, because what you wrote is wildly inaccurate.
         

        They’re not colder or any more inhospitable that St. Pete.
         
        As I have noted on previous occasions, you have a penchant for being wrong in some of the stupidest ways possible. But this takes the cake even by your standards.
      52. @Mr. XYZ

        No, that would be a Volokolamsk somewhere in Irkutsk oblast. In terms of crime, it would of course be better than any majority black US city.
         
        There's another Volokolamsk in Irkutsk oblast? Or are you simply using Volokolamsk as a term to describe a dumpy city?

        Also, if so, what would be a good US equivalent of Volokolamsk, in your honest opinion?

        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia’s economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf’s Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements and (2) losing Kiev, the USSR’s third city.
         
        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don, this problem could have been slightly rectified, no? In fact, it's not too late to do this right now if Russia would have been that determined to do this. Of course, I suspect that doing this right now would be a huge waste of money that Russia could better spend on other things.

        In a “normal” 20th century, apart from having a much larger population, it would also have been more concentrated in big second-tier cities, with places such as Krasnodar, Rostov on Don, Odessa, Kazan, Yekaterinburg all reaching populations of 3-5 million people as opposed to <1.5 million.
         
        But wouldn't Moscow and St. Pete's also had much more people in this scenario? If so, this could have cancelled out this effect. In other words, while the second-tier cities might have had larger populations, their size relative to Moscow or St. Pete's might not have been too different from what it was in real life.

        Of course, as I previously mentioned, moving the Russian capital further south to Rostov-on-Don could have created a huge Russian city in the south comparable in size at least to St. Pete's.

        There would be no monotown monstrosities like Tolyatti, and no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk. There would also be fewer small towns such as Volokolamsk.
         
        What's the issue with Tolyatti?

        Also, how are Perm and Krasnoyarsk much worse than Yekaterinburg?

        It is however a good thing that Russia does have a world-tier megapolis as opposed to not having one.
         
        Agreed.

        Also, how larger do you think that Caucasian (including Ottoman Armenia, if Russia would have ever successfully conquered it) and Central Asian cities would have been right now in a scenario where Russia would have experienced a normal 20th century?

        Newburgh is one-third black, though…

        You’re not going to find any down on their luck all-white small towns within driving commuting range of any American metropolis. AP is correct.

        Or are you simply using Volokolamsk as a term to describe a dumpy city? Also, if so, what would be a good US equivalent of Volokolamsk, in your honest opinion?

        This, and what AP said.

        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don, this problem could have been slightly rectified, no?

        Rectified what? The problem is the lack of 2-5 million population cities – this would have been avoided organically under a normal 20th century, artificially bumping up Rostov above the 2 million mark would be an idiotic waste of money (and Krasnodar would be a better candidate for a southern capital anyway).

        But wouldn’t Moscow and St. Pete’s also had much more people in this scenario? If so, this could have cancelled out this effect.

        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe’s most populated country – by far – to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M, with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf’s Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa). No, why would it. It would mean that Russia would have two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one, and a good dozen or so dynamic cities in the 2-5M range (as opposed to zero).

        What’s the issue with Tolyatti?

        It’s the biggest “single enterprise” city (or monotown) in Russia – a huge drain on resources in the transition period, because those enterprises fed entire cities and could not be shut down for political reasons.

        Also, how are Perm and Krasnoyarsk much worse than Yekaterinburg?

        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.

        Also, how larger do you think that Caucasian (including Ottoman Armenia, if Russia would have ever successfully conquered it) and Central Asian cities would have been right now in a scenario where Russia would have experienced a normal 20th century?

        Central Asian ones – probably similar. They weren’t demographically crippled during the 20th century as the Slavic areas were. Caucasian ones would be moderately bigger.

        • Replies: @anonymous coward

        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.
         
        Perm is a natural, organic capital of the Urals on the European side. (Yekaterinburg on the Asian side.)

        The two are (relatively) close together, with linked population transfers and economies, and historically sort of rivals.

        Perm has the advantage of connecting to the Volga river. (Maybe not so important today.)

        Krasnoyarsk is the natural, organic capital of Siberia. (And it's one of the few places in Russia with continuous 'native', i.e., aboriginal, populations dating back to the ancient paleolithic.)

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D0%B5%D1%82%D1%8B
        , @AP

        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe’s most populated country – by far – to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M, with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf’s Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa)
         
        In this scenario Moscow would have been Russia's Chicago to St. Petersburg's New York (Odessa - LA?). The country's largest "real" Russian city.
        , @Dmitry

        two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one,
         
        On this point, I think, even in our universe - Saint-Petersburg is a world-tier megalopolis, at least from any cultural or demographic perspective.

        So currently, in Russia, "two world-tier megalopolises" - Moscow and Peter. The latter is even the 3rd largest city in the European continent, just by population, after London and Moscow.

        By comparison, in America, there's possibly only one world-tier megalopolis - New York?

        -


        Although there are some really weird rankings.

        Some influential idiots, think it is the same level as Vilnius and Tallin, but below Riga and Guayaquil. Actually this whole league is rather amazing, as I think it impossible to make it logical from any perspective (economic, globalization, cultural, etc).

        https://i.imgur.com/So5nebY.jpg

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalization_and_World_Cities_Research_Network#2018_city_classification
        , @Mr. XYZ

        You’re not going to find any down on their luck all-white small towns within driving commuting range of any American metropolis. AP is correct.
         
        An hour's drive from Washington DC should result in one reaching rural Virginia, rural West Virginia, and rural Pennsylvania, no? A daily commute can still be done in an hour in one direction. It wouldn't necessarily be easy, but some people could certainly do it.

        This, and what AP said.
         
        OK.

        Rectified what? The problem is the lack of 2-5 million population cities – this would have been avoided organically under a normal 20th century, artificially bumping up Rostov above the 2 million mark would be an idiotic waste of money (and Krasnodar would be a better candidate for a southern capital anyway).
         
        Why would Krasnodar be a better choice for a southern Russian capital when Rostov is located on the Don River and near the location where the Don River connects to the Black Sea?

        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe’s most populated country – by far – to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M,
         
        Would a non-Bolshevik Russia have permanently kept its capital at St. Pete's?

        with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf’s Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa). No, why would it. It would mean that Russia would have two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one, and a good dozen or so dynamic cities in the 2-5M range (as opposed to zero).
         
        Kiev is much more likely than Odessa to be Russia's third-largest city in this scenario, no? I mean, Kiev is likely to still become the capital of a Ukrainian federal component within Russia (a Russia led by moderate socialists would have still likely eventually transformed Russia into a federation)--which would in turn mean that Ukrainians from all parts of Ukraine would have moved to Kiev in search of a better life (unless they would have moved to Moscow or St. Pete's instead, but the opportunities in Kiev would have probably been pretty decent as well).

        Odessa's location isn't exactly advantageous. The Dneister River isn't exactly a huge hub for commerce and most of Ukraine's large cities aren't located that close to Odessa. Kiev, on the other hand, is ideally located on the Dneiper River.

        It’s the biggest “single enterprise” city (or monotown) in Russia – a huge drain on resources in the transition period, because those enterprises fed entire cities and could not be shut down for political reasons.
         
        What's the single enterprise there? Car production/car manufacturing?

        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.
         
        What exactly makes you say that Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals?

        Central Asian ones – probably similar. They weren’t demographically crippled during the 20th century as the Slavic areas were.
         
        Kazakhstan suffered pretty heavily as a result of the 1930s famines and forced collectivization in the Soviet Union, no? Didn't Kazakhstan lose something like a third of its total population during this time?

        Also, didn't a lot of Kazakh cities lose population in the 1990s as a result of the post-Soviet Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, German, and Jewish (but especially Russian) exodus from Kazakhstan?

        I do agree with you that southern Central Asia does not appear to have been particularly demographically hurt by Bolshevism, though.

        Caucasian ones would be moderately bigger.
         
        What about cities in Ottoman Armenia such as Trebizond and Samsun, among others? Could they see a massive population explosion in this scenario as a result of Ottoman Armenia becoming Russia's version of Florida in this scenario?
      53. @melanf

        It is certainly a bad thing. One of the worst things about Russia’s economic geography (apart from how cold it is) is that there are zero cities in the ~2-5 million range, of which the US has multitudes (counting in terms of metropolitan area). Zipf’s Law breaks down in Russia thanks to (1) 70 years of central control over population movements
         
        Urban growth rates 2007-2017

        Tyumen 135%
        Makhachkala 127%
        Krasnodar 124%
        Voronezh 123%
        Krasnoyarsk 116%
        St. Petersburg 115%
        Novosibirsk 115%
        Moscow 112%
        Yekaterinburg 111%
        Kazan 110%
        Ufa 110%
        Rostov-on-don 107%
        Khabarovsk 107%
        Vladivostok 104%
        Nizhny Novgorod 99%

        Kiev, the USSR’s third city.
         
        Nizhny Novgorod was USSR’s third city by population

        Nizhny Novgorod was USSR’s third city by population

        No, that is simply incorrect.

        • Replies: @melanf

        No, that is simply incorrect
         
        My bad

        Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did
         
        .

        Urban growth rates 2007-2017 (with market economy)

        Krasnoyarsk 116%
        Perm 106%

        St. Petersburg 115%
        Moscow 112%
        https://mingitau.livejournal.com/293084.html

        Tyumen (also in Siberia) in General, the absolute champion of growth among Russian cities

        http://www.poyshie-serdsa-fest.narod.ru/photo02.jpg
      54. @anonymous coward

        ...no millioniki or near-millioniki in the inhospitable depths of Siberia or the Far North such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk
         
        You should really go visit the Siberian cities, because what you wrote is wildly inaccurate.

        a) They're not colder or any more inhospitable that St. Pete. And unlike St. Pete, they have natural resources, including oil.

        b) Their population growth is almost entirely natural, not centrally-planned. See if point 'a', there's a lot of natural motivation to move there.

        c) Population movement towards Siberia is not a Soviet phenomenon, it has been going on for centuries and centuries. Read some history of the place, it's fascinating.

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B3%D0%B0%D0%B7%D0%B5%D1%8F

        You should really go visit the Siberian cities, because what you wrote is wildly inaccurate.

        They’re not colder or any more inhospitable that St. Pete.

        As I have noted on previous occasions, you have a penchant for being wrong in some of the stupidest ways possible. But this takes the cake even by your standards.

        • Replies: @anonymous coward

        But this takes the cake even by your standards.
         
        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A1%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BA%D1%82-%D0%9F%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B1%D1%83%D1%80%D0%B3#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B2%D0%B0#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9F%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BC%D1%8C#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%BD%D0%BE%D1%8F%D1%80%D1%81%D0%BA#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        Perm has a colder December, January and February, being a place with a much more continental climate.

        But the difference between -6 and -12 in January is hardly "inhospitable".

        Again: I suggest you really go visit. They're really nice cities and generally better maintained than cities in European Russia. On the ground you'll see that it isn't some polar snow wilderness like you imagine. They're exactly like cities in European Russia except with a slightly more continental climate.
      55. @Anatoly Karlin

        You should really go visit the Siberian cities, because what you wrote is wildly inaccurate.
         

        They’re not colder or any more inhospitable that St. Pete.
         
        As I have noted on previous occasions, you have a penchant for being wrong in some of the stupidest ways possible. But this takes the cake even by your standards.

        But this takes the cake even by your standards.

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A1%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BA%D1%82-%D0%9F%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B1%D1%83%D1%80%D0%B3#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B2%D0%B0#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9F%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BC%D1%8C#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%BD%D0%BE%D1%8F%D1%80%D1%81%D0%BA#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        Perm has a colder December, January and February, being a place with a much more continental climate.

        But the difference between -6 and -12 in January is hardly “inhospitable”.

        Again: I suggest you really go visit. They’re really nice cities and generally better maintained than cities in European Russia. On the ground you’ll see that it isn’t some polar snow wilderness like you imagine. They’re exactly like cities in European Russia except with a slightly more continental climate.

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
        Thanks for helpfully providing the data.

        Mean Jan temperatures:
        SPB: −5,5
        Moscow: −6,5
        Perm: −12,8
        Krasnoyarsk: −15,5

        10C point difference between SPB and Krasnoyarsk.

        Now for context:
        London: 5,0

        The difference between Moscow/SPB and Krasnoyarsk, is equivalent to the difference between London and Moscow/SPB.

        "Not colder" indeed.

        I am not saying that they are polar snow wildernesses year round, that is something you imputed to me. However, operating machinery, heating, construction, and basically most of the other necessary functions of industrial civilization are much harder and costlier in places such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk relative to European Russia.
      56. @Anatoly Karlin

        Newburgh is one-third black, though...
         
        You're not going to find any down on their luck all-white small towns within driving commuting range of any American metropolis. AP is correct.

        Or are you simply using Volokolamsk as a term to describe a dumpy city? Also, if so, what would be a good US equivalent of Volokolamsk, in your honest opinion?
         
        This, and what AP said.

        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don, this problem could have been slightly rectified, no?
         
        Rectified what? The problem is the lack of 2-5 million population cities - this would have been avoided organically under a normal 20th century, artificially bumping up Rostov above the 2 million mark would be an idiotic waste of money (and Krasnodar would be a better candidate for a southern capital anyway).

        But wouldn’t Moscow and St. Pete’s also had much more people in this scenario? If so, this could have cancelled out this effect.
         
        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe's most populated country - by far - to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M, with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf's Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa). No, why would it. It would mean that Russia would have two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one, and a good dozen or so dynamic cities in the 2-5M range (as opposed to zero).

        What’s the issue with Tolyatti?
         
        It's the biggest "single enterprise" city (or monotown) in Russia - a huge drain on resources in the transition period, because those enterprises fed entire cities and could not be shut down for political reasons.

        Also, how are Perm and Krasnoyarsk much worse than Yekaterinburg?
         
        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.

        Also, how larger do you think that Caucasian (including Ottoman Armenia, if Russia would have ever successfully conquered it) and Central Asian cities would have been right now in a scenario where Russia would have experienced a normal 20th century?
         
        Central Asian ones - probably similar. They weren't demographically crippled during the 20th century as the Slavic areas were. Caucasian ones would be moderately bigger.

        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.

        Perm is a natural, organic capital of the Urals on the European side. (Yekaterinburg on the Asian side.)

        The two are (relatively) close together, with linked population transfers and economies, and historically sort of rivals.

        Perm has the advantage of connecting to the Volga river. (Maybe not so important today.)

        Krasnoyarsk is the natural, organic capital of Siberia. (And it’s one of the few places in Russia with continuous ‘native’, i.e., aboriginal, populations dating back to the ancient paleolithic.)

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D0%B5%D1%82%D1%8B

      57. AP says:
        @Anatoly Karlin

        Newburgh is one-third black, though...
         
        You're not going to find any down on their luck all-white small towns within driving commuting range of any American metropolis. AP is correct.

        Or are you simply using Volokolamsk as a term to describe a dumpy city? Also, if so, what would be a good US equivalent of Volokolamsk, in your honest opinion?
         
        This, and what AP said.

        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don, this problem could have been slightly rectified, no?
         
        Rectified what? The problem is the lack of 2-5 million population cities - this would have been avoided organically under a normal 20th century, artificially bumping up Rostov above the 2 million mark would be an idiotic waste of money (and Krasnodar would be a better candidate for a southern capital anyway).

        But wouldn’t Moscow and St. Pete’s also had much more people in this scenario? If so, this could have cancelled out this effect.
         
        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe's most populated country - by far - to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M, with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf's Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa). No, why would it. It would mean that Russia would have two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one, and a good dozen or so dynamic cities in the 2-5M range (as opposed to zero).

        What’s the issue with Tolyatti?
         
        It's the biggest "single enterprise" city (or monotown) in Russia - a huge drain on resources in the transition period, because those enterprises fed entire cities and could not be shut down for political reasons.

        Also, how are Perm and Krasnoyarsk much worse than Yekaterinburg?
         
        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.

        Also, how larger do you think that Caucasian (including Ottoman Armenia, if Russia would have ever successfully conquered it) and Central Asian cities would have been right now in a scenario where Russia would have experienced a normal 20th century?
         
        Central Asian ones - probably similar. They weren't demographically crippled during the 20th century as the Slavic areas were. Caucasian ones would be moderately bigger.

        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe’s most populated country – by far – to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M, with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf’s Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa)

        In this scenario Moscow would have been Russia’s Chicago to St. Petersburg’s New York (Odessa – LA?). The country’s largest “real” Russian city.

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
        Yes, I have come round to your logic since we last had this discussion.
      58. @silviosilver
        If I had not known this was a Russian town, based on that video I would have guessed somewhere in the Balkans. That's very much what it reminds me of.

        Most of google maps/youtube drivethroughs I've seen of Russian cities look much nicer than this. Youtubes usually showcase the nicer parts of town, but through googling I've discovered that pretty there are some horridly dumpy parts of Russian cities - in terms of housing and street quality, roughly on the level of black ghettos in America, and often worse. (Eg what remains of black south LA looks much nicer than the dumpier parts of big Russian cities.)

        I used to think the depressingly dumpy quality of housing in eastern Europe had something to do with communism. But crappy housing quality is pretty much a global phenomenon. I have to confess to being amazed at the persistence of shitty housing across the world. I'm sure there are numerous tricks to the trade, but building a house is not exactly rocket science. And yet housing pretty much everywhere outside northern Europe, N. America and Aus/NZ continues to be dreadful at worst or underwhelming at best. (I mean even developed countries like France and Italy. Compare the crappy apartments so many of them live in to the average home in, say, LA or Toronto or Melbourne - forget it, there's no comparison at all.)

        I would have guessed somewhere in the Balkans.

        It is an ancient city, with a few architectural treasures there and it seems like this city is interested in historical preservation.

        (Karlin has presumably vacationed there, because of its historical buildings).

        I’ve seen of Russian cities look much nicer than this

        It depends on aesthetics, region and history.
        For a small city of 20,000 people – in my mind, is places like…

        horridly dumpy parts of Russian cities – in terms of housing and street quality

        Quality of the cottages in Volokolamsk looks quite good though (you can see in the video, large and luxurious ones). Salaries are average, or slightly above average there. And seems like they have slightly middle class residents, quite new cars, etc.

        They were cursed with a famous rubbish dump problem, however. And all the media has focused a lot on their protests, partly because they’re close to Moscow.

        quality of housing in eastern Europe had something to do with communism

        Postwar Soviet Union was excellent in the area of housing, relative to its situation. For example, they created modern housing for tens of millions of people – who had never lived at such a high level – in a very short time. And they provided this housing with all the most modern infrastructure: excellent transport, heating, electricity, etc.

        But engineers who developed the prefabricated technology of housing, built it to endure for 30 years, and then to be replaced by more upgraded housing that would exist by then.

        However, now a lot of this housing is more than 50 years old, and after so many years, some of the buildings are in a very bad way.

        yet housing pretty much everywhere outside northern Europe, N. America and Aus/NZ continues

        American housing is often terrible from urban design perspective, as it results in far too low population density, dependence on automobiles, and vast sprawling of a city over the countryside.

        I would say 19th century English, were possibly the greatest housing designers in history. They could create very beautiful, dense and practical housing, all at same time. Some of these residential English roads of the 19th century, are more like artistic masterpieces.

        But that was in the 19th century. Modern English housing is not like this.

        developed countries like France and Italy. Compare the crappy apartments

        Apartments in countries like France, Italy and Spain, will be on average very good quality, though. In addition, they are usually located in dense “mixed-service” areas, where there is very convenient shop 5 minutes walk from your door, and even many services within 10 minutes walk.

        • Replies: @AP

        Postwar Soviet Union was excellent in the area of housing, relative to its situation. For example, they created modern housing for tens of millions of people – who had never lived at such a high level – in a very short time. And they provided this housing with all the most modern infrastructure: excellent transport, heating, electricity, etc.
         
        It looks ugly and is comparable to American housing projects, for poor people who don't work.

        American housing is often terrible from urban design perspective, as it results in far too low population density, dependence on automobiles, and vast sprawling of a city over the countryside.
         
        American sprawl is also ugly but it is far more comfortable than Sovok mass housing, with every family having its own house and yard and every adult having their own automobile.

        If you had to choose which ugly place to live, in would it be this where your wife, kids and perhaps parents share 2-3 rooms:

        https://c8.alamy.com/comp/KH092J/old-low-cost-soviet-union-style-khrushchyovka-apartment-building-numbered-KH092J.jpg

        Or this, where everyone had their own room and the family had a couple of cars to get around in (and often their own family swimming pool out back):

        https://thumbs-prod.si-cdn.com/cCYupZoooOTqahgT1JqvLicahdc=/fit-in/1072x0/https://public-media.si-cdn.com/filer/6c/11/6c11bc85-03ca-447f-8218-94c23011d0fd/documerica-national-archives-arthur-tress-suburbia-staten-island-8.jpg
        , @Gerard2
        On a separate note - Did it not strike you, that despite the extremely bad problems with flooding in Irkutsk region in the last month - the quality of the housing there , in the areas affected is quite good, or at least aesthetic?
      59. AP says:
        @Dmitry

        I would have guessed somewhere in the Balkans.
         
        It is an ancient city, with a few architectural treasures there and it seems like this city is interested in historical preservation.

        (Karlin has presumably vacationed there, because of its historical buildings).

        I’ve seen of Russian cities look much nicer than this

         
        It depends on aesthetics, region and history.
        For a small city of 20,000 people - in my mind, is places like...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2z6JU07emh0

        horridly dumpy parts of Russian cities – in terms of housing and street quality
         
        Quality of the cottages in Volokolamsk looks quite good though (you can see in the video, large and luxurious ones). Salaries are average, or slightly above average there. And seems like they have slightly middle class residents, quite new cars, etc.

        They were cursed with a famous rubbish dump problem, however. And all the media has focused a lot on their protests, partly because they're close to Moscow.

        quality of housing in eastern Europe had something to do with communism

         
        Postwar Soviet Union was excellent in the area of housing, relative to its situation. For example, they created modern housing for tens of millions of people - who had never lived at such a high level - in a very short time. And they provided this housing with all the most modern infrastructure: excellent transport, heating, electricity, etc.

        But engineers who developed the prefabricated technology of housing, built it to endure for 30 years, and then to be replaced by more upgraded housing that would exist by then.

        However, now a lot of this housing is more than 50 years old, and after so many years, some of the buildings are in a very bad way.

        yet housing pretty much everywhere outside northern Europe, N. America and Aus/NZ continues

         
        American housing is often terrible from urban design perspective, as it results in far too low population density, dependence on automobiles, and vast sprawling of a city over the countryside.

        I would say 19th century English, were possibly the greatest housing designers in history. They could create very beautiful, dense and practical housing, all at same time. Some of these residential English roads of the 19th century, are more like artistic masterpieces.

        But that was in the 19th century. Modern English housing is not like this.

        developed countries like France and Italy. Compare the crappy apartments

         
        Apartments in countries like France, Italy and Spain, will be on average very good quality, though. In addition, they are usually located in dense "mixed-service" areas, where there is very convenient shop 5 minutes walk from your door, and even many services within 10 minutes walk.

        Postwar Soviet Union was excellent in the area of housing, relative to its situation. For example, they created modern housing for tens of millions of people – who had never lived at such a high level – in a very short time. And they provided this housing with all the most modern infrastructure: excellent transport, heating, electricity, etc.

        It looks ugly and is comparable to American housing projects, for poor people who don’t work.

        American housing is often terrible from urban design perspective, as it results in far too low population density, dependence on automobiles, and vast sprawling of a city over the countryside.

        American sprawl is also ugly but it is far more comfortable than Sovok mass housing, with every family having its own house and yard and every adult having their own automobile.

        If you had to choose which ugly place to live, in would it be this where your wife, kids and perhaps parents share 2-3 rooms:

        Or this, where everyone had their own room and the family had a couple of cars to get around in (and often their own family swimming pool out back):

        • Replies: @Dmitry

        It looks ugly
         
        Buildings themselves looked a lot better when new, and represented an amazing increase in living standards for millions of people.

        You have to understand how inadequate the previous housing situation had been, and how Soviet engineering solved these problems. And also how advanced some of it was - including construction technology used, or even what they provided to residents: e.g. electricity in every apartment.

        You also have to remember, in terms of some aspects of infrastructure (hot water supply, transport for residents) - it can often be better than even modern Western bourgeois housing.

        -

        Historical context is necessary - and also to remember, even in Victorian England, the wealthiest country in the world of its era, only a small proportion could live in an English bourgeois townhouse in Belsize Park or Primrose Hill (really, probably only a 5-10% of Victorian Englishmen lived in such really beautiful housing that we admire today).

        If you had to choose which ugly place to live, in would it be this where
        your wife, kids and perhaps parents

         
        Think about the situation in Moscow now. A lot of middle class people are protesting against the planned destruction of their buildings.

        There are middle class people even today, who can enjoy this housing, if (and it's the important thing), the residents maintain and upgrade the building, and they have good neighbours.

        A lot depended, on the quality of your neighbours. E.g. a couple of drunks could ruin life for the whole building.

        Or this, where everyone had their own room and the family had a couple of cars to get around in (and often their own family swimming pool out back):

         
        More intelligent, clean and efficient, from the society perspective, is to provide adequate mass transit solutions.

        What is the effect on city transport - between the car, and the tram or metro?

        Cars destroy a city, disfigure it with highways, pollute the air, and creates traffic jams, and unpleasant urban sprawl.

        -

        In 1943, in Los Angeles, the first smog hit - the people thought it was a Japanese gas attack on the city.

        https://timeline.com/la-smog-pollution-4ca4bc0cc95d

        By the 1950s, Los Angeles became like this purely as a result of overuse of automobiles for transport:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcvvJcy1lkU
        , @Gerard2
        LOLOL this is beyond retarded - 20 wooden clad houses in sunshine....... versus a successful mass housing project for probably 500+ people, in a city, in autumn/winter ( lower than a freak as yourself somehow using snowed-on streets as a sign of "cleanliness" in some ukrop west shithole)

        Of course it's 'normal" for mass apartment buildings to be clad in wood isn't it? lol

        The car issue is also America specific - absolutely nothing to do with democracy vs Communism, unlike gun issues where Tsarist/Communist laws were very much different, I don't think transport in Russian Empire would have turned out much different to how they were designed in USSR time
      60. @Anatoly Karlin

        Newburgh is one-third black, though...
         
        You're not going to find any down on their luck all-white small towns within driving commuting range of any American metropolis. AP is correct.

        Or are you simply using Volokolamsk as a term to describe a dumpy city? Also, if so, what would be a good US equivalent of Volokolamsk, in your honest opinion?
         
        This, and what AP said.

        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don, this problem could have been slightly rectified, no?
         
        Rectified what? The problem is the lack of 2-5 million population cities - this would have been avoided organically under a normal 20th century, artificially bumping up Rostov above the 2 million mark would be an idiotic waste of money (and Krasnodar would be a better candidate for a southern capital anyway).

        But wouldn’t Moscow and St. Pete’s also had much more people in this scenario? If so, this could have cancelled out this effect.
         
        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe's most populated country - by far - to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M, with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf's Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa). No, why would it. It would mean that Russia would have two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one, and a good dozen or so dynamic cities in the 2-5M range (as opposed to zero).

        What’s the issue with Tolyatti?
         
        It's the biggest "single enterprise" city (or monotown) in Russia - a huge drain on resources in the transition period, because those enterprises fed entire cities and could not be shut down for political reasons.

        Also, how are Perm and Krasnoyarsk much worse than Yekaterinburg?
         
        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.

        Also, how larger do you think that Caucasian (including Ottoman Armenia, if Russia would have ever successfully conquered it) and Central Asian cities would have been right now in a scenario where Russia would have experienced a normal 20th century?
         
        Central Asian ones - probably similar. They weren't demographically crippled during the 20th century as the Slavic areas were. Caucasian ones would be moderately bigger.

        two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one,

        On this point, I think, even in our universe – Saint-Petersburg is a world-tier megalopolis, at least from any cultural or demographic perspective.

        So currently, in Russia, “two world-tier megalopolises” – Moscow and Peter. The latter is even the 3rd largest city in the European continent, just by population, after London and Moscow.

        By comparison, in America, there’s possibly only one world-tier megalopolis – New York?

        Although there are some really weird rankings.

        Some influential idiots, think it is the same level as Vilnius and Tallin, but below Riga and Guayaquil. Actually this whole league is rather amazing, as I think it impossible to make it logical from any perspective (economic, globalization, cultural, etc).

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalization_and_World_Cities_Research_Network#2018_city_classification

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
        SPB is in many ways merely a prosperous and a very outsized millionik, as opposed to Russia's "northern capital", let alone a world-tier megalopolis.

        You need at least around 10M to be a candidate for a world-tier megalopolis.

        There are two of them in Western Europe: London and Paris (Berlin would also have probably become that if Germany had a more normal 20th century). Moscow is comparable to them both demographically and economically. Saint-Petersburg has half their population and no more than 10% of their GDP. Sure, it has a lot of history and culture, but so does Venice and Vienna.
      61. @Anatoly Karlin

        Nizhny Novgorod was USSR’s third city by population
         
        No, that is simply incorrect.

        https://ic.pics.livejournal.com/matveychev_oleg/27303223/10854459/10854459_900.png

        No, that is simply incorrect

        My bad

        Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did

        .

        Urban growth rates 2007-2017 (with market economy)

        Krasnoyarsk 116%
        Perm 106%

        St. Petersburg 115%
        Moscow 112%
        https://mingitau.livejournal.com/293084.html

        Tyumen (also in Siberia) in General, the absolute champion of growth among Russian cities

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
        Tyumen is supercharged by the oil boom.

        Krasnoyarsk and Perm are already in place and form established economic nodes with existing urban infrastructure (sunk costs), so it is not that surprising that they're expanding. All the smaller and even less economical cities around them are rapidly emptying out, and many of those migrants are moving to the bigger Siberian & Urals cities.
        , @AP

        On this point, I think, even in our universe – Saint-Petersburg is a world-tier megalopolis, at least from any cultural or demographic perspective...

        By comparison, in America, there’s possibly only one world-tier megalopolis – New York?
         
        LA and Chicago may not be "World-tier megalopoli", but they are much closer to that status than is Saint Petersburg.

        LA - entertainment capital of the world, 3rd largest GDP of any city in the world, 13.3 million people in the metro area

        Chicago - 10th-ranked university in the world (also - Northwestern is at #23), more Nobel prize winners than any other city in the world (mostly economics I think), largest futures exchange in the world, first skyscraper, 9.4 million people in metro area

        St. Petersburg metro area only has 6.2 million people. It's mostly a very large historical city, like Vienna or Rome (except Rome surrounds the Vatican, so it is more globally important).
      62. @AP

        Postwar Soviet Union was excellent in the area of housing, relative to its situation. For example, they created modern housing for tens of millions of people – who had never lived at such a high level – in a very short time. And they provided this housing with all the most modern infrastructure: excellent transport, heating, electricity, etc.
         
        It looks ugly and is comparable to American housing projects, for poor people who don't work.

        American housing is often terrible from urban design perspective, as it results in far too low population density, dependence on automobiles, and vast sprawling of a city over the countryside.
         
        American sprawl is also ugly but it is far more comfortable than Sovok mass housing, with every family having its own house and yard and every adult having their own automobile.

        If you had to choose which ugly place to live, in would it be this where your wife, kids and perhaps parents share 2-3 rooms:

        https://c8.alamy.com/comp/KH092J/old-low-cost-soviet-union-style-khrushchyovka-apartment-building-numbered-KH092J.jpg

        Or this, where everyone had their own room and the family had a couple of cars to get around in (and often their own family swimming pool out back):

        https://thumbs-prod.si-cdn.com/cCYupZoooOTqahgT1JqvLicahdc=/fit-in/1072x0/https://public-media.si-cdn.com/filer/6c/11/6c11bc85-03ca-447f-8218-94c23011d0fd/documerica-national-archives-arthur-tress-suburbia-staten-island-8.jpg

        It looks ugly

        Buildings themselves looked a lot better when new, and represented an amazing increase in living standards for millions of people.

        You have to understand how inadequate the previous housing situation had been, and how Soviet engineering solved these problems. And also how advanced some of it was – including construction technology used, or even what they provided to residents: e.g. electricity in every apartment.

        You also have to remember, in terms of some aspects of infrastructure (hot water supply, transport for residents) – it can often be better than even modern Western bourgeois housing.

        Historical context is necessary – and also to remember, even in Victorian England, the wealthiest country in the world of its era, only a small proportion could live in an English bourgeois townhouse in Belsize Park or Primrose Hill (really, probably only a 5-10% of Victorian Englishmen lived in such really beautiful housing that we admire today).

        If you had to choose which ugly place to live, in would it be this where
        your wife, kids and perhaps parents

        Think about the situation in Moscow now. A lot of middle class people are protesting against the planned destruction of their buildings.

        There are middle class people even today, who can enjoy this housing, if (and it’s the important thing), the residents maintain and upgrade the building, and they have good neighbours.

        A lot depended, on the quality of your neighbours. E.g. a couple of drunks could ruin life for the whole building.

        Or this, where everyone had their own room and the family had a couple of cars to get around in (and often their own family swimming pool out back):

        More intelligent, clean and efficient, from the society perspective, is to provide adequate mass transit solutions.

        What is the effect on city transport – between the car, and the tram or metro?

        Cars destroy a city, disfigure it with highways, pollute the air, and creates traffic jams, and unpleasant urban sprawl.

        In 1943, in Los Angeles, the first smog hit – the people thought it was a Japanese gas attack on the city.

        https://timeline.com/la-smog-pollution-4ca4bc0cc95d

        By the 1950s, Los Angeles became like this purely as a result of overuse of automobiles for transport:

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
        For once I agree with your urbanism take. Resident housing construction increased by something like fivefold in terms of annual floor space inducted under Khrushchev. There was no net expansion in the Soviet urban housing stock between 1916 and ~1950, despite a doubling of the urban population. City dwellers were crammed into kommunalka or temporary barracks, with the bulk of residential construction focusing on the "luxury" segment for the nomenklatura. Given the problems that had developed by 1955, the khrushchevki were the least bad solution.
        , @silviosilver

        Buildings themselves looked a lot better when new, and represented an amazing increase in living standards for millions of people.
         
        That's true enough. I've seen photos of commie apartments from Yugoslavia when they were new and it was hard to believe they were the same buildings that I was looking at decades later. (Age takes its toll on apartment buildings and human bodies alike, lol.)

        But engineers who developed the prefabricated technology of housing, built it to endure for 30 years, and then to be replaced by more upgraded housing that would exist by then.
         
        Well, I'll take your word for it, but that wasn't Kruschev's opinion during the 'Kitchen War' debate with Nixon in 1959: "Your American houses are built to last only 20 years so builders could sell new houses at the end. We build firmly. We build for our children and grandchildren. "

        More intelligent, clean and efficient, from the society perspective, is to provide adequate mass transit solutions.
         
        You're passing off your values as facts. For myself, I vastly prefer driving to taking public transport. The only time public transport makes sense is the last portion of a trip to the CBD during rush hour, since I'm unwilling to pay so much in parking fees. (I park at the closest station I can get free parking at.) In America, public transport means sitting next to ungodly numbers of mexers and naggers, while in Australia it means hindoos and chinks - it's bearable, but you couldn't call it pleasant. And during morning rush hour, everyone looks so depressed it's hard to maintain an upbeat attitude about the day to come. At least in your car, your spared from having to look at this.

        Cars destroy a city, disfigure it with highways, pollute the air, and creates traffic jams, and unpleasant urban sprawl.
         
        The ugliness of highways and urban sprawl is overrated. With modern urban design principles, the only time you have to look at a highway is when you're on one. And 'urban sprawl' - or at least its aesthetically displeasing aspect - is something you only ever notice from photos or videos; it's just not apparent otherwise. In contrast, the sight of street after street of depressingly ugly apartment blocks is something you can't avoid noticing every time you pass by it.

        Check out Arroyomolinos, a new planned neighborhood in Madrid. (Mass density new apartment buildings, presumably all with easy access to mass transit.) That looks much less inviting to me than some 'sprawling' American suburb.

        Apartments in countries like France, Italy and Spain, will be on average very good quality, though. In addition, they are usually located in dense “mixed-service” areas, where there is very convenient shop 5 minutes walk from your door, and even many services within 10 minutes walk.
         
        I didn't mean to make it sound like there's a world of difference between western/southern Europe and America. There really isn't. It's just a bunch of small things that I can't help noticing - the quality of bathroom and kitchen fittings, floors, doors, floorplans, things like that. When you take them all together, they often add up to a sizable difference, imo. And what's more, for the same money, I bet I could always find something considerably more appealing in America than in Europe.

        I mean check this out. That's over 110 square meters of living area (large/largish by European but not by American standards) in one of the top 10 wealthiest neighborhoods in Chicago, for only $250k. And deals like that are common. If you sample what's available in the better neighborhoods of European capitals for that price, I think you'll agree it's inferior.
        , @Gerard2
        A quite excellent post - 100% in tandem with my own views - though I hadn't thought about the smog issue.

        These soviet buildings ( Khrushchev era onwards) were well ahead of their time and actually influenced numerous mass housing, infrastructure projects in the west also
        A ton of the major multi-storey hotels in the spanish resorts ( and even some American ones) are pretty much communist buildings - but the sun, sand( and cladding/white paint) don't make them look ugly

        Also the prick AP is just typing mindless attnetion-seeking BS
      63. @Mr. XYZ
        Are the Russian people actually going to tolerate moving the Russian capital that far away, though?

        BTW, what do you think is the full potential of the Russian Far East?

        Are the Russian people actually going to tolerate moving the Russian capital that far away, though?

        The transfer of the capital from Moscow (if its didn’t consume money) the Russian people (excluding Muscovites) will certainly be welcome, simply because of the strong dislike which the Russian people have for the Muscovites. But given the cost of such an enterprise – it will require a new Peter the Great with his methods.

      64. @anonymous coward

        But this takes the cake even by your standards.
         
        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A1%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BA%D1%82-%D0%9F%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B1%D1%83%D1%80%D0%B3#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B2%D0%B0#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9F%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BC%D1%8C#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%BD%D0%BE%D1%8F%D1%80%D1%81%D0%BA#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

        Perm has a colder December, January and February, being a place with a much more continental climate.

        But the difference between -6 and -12 in January is hardly "inhospitable".

        Again: I suggest you really go visit. They're really nice cities and generally better maintained than cities in European Russia. On the ground you'll see that it isn't some polar snow wilderness like you imagine. They're exactly like cities in European Russia except with a slightly more continental climate.

        Thanks for helpfully providing the data.

        Mean Jan temperatures:
        SPB: −5,5
        Moscow: −6,5
        Perm: −12,8
        Krasnoyarsk: −15,5

        10C point difference between SPB and Krasnoyarsk.

        Now for context:
        London: 5,0

        The difference between Moscow/SPB and Krasnoyarsk, is equivalent to the difference between London and Moscow/SPB.

        “Not colder” indeed.

        I am not saying that they are polar snow wildernesses year round, that is something you imputed to me. However, operating machinery, heating, construction, and basically most of the other necessary functions of industrial civilization are much harder and costlier in places such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk relative to European Russia.

        • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
        What are the figures for Yekaterinburg?
        , @anonymous coward
        Let's try for some more context.

        Mean Jan temperatures:

        Ulaanbaator: −21,6
        Harbin: −17,4
        Changchun: −14.7
        Urumqi: −12.6

        Are you going to claim that the Chinese or Mongolians are somehow more adapted to cold winters than Russians?

        Or maybe that the -17 in Harbin is somehow warmer than the -15 in Krasnoyarsk?

        Harbin has a population of 10 million, by the way.
      65. @AP

        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe’s most populated country – by far – to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M, with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf’s Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa)
         
        In this scenario Moscow would have been Russia's Chicago to St. Petersburg's New York (Odessa - LA?). The country's largest "real" Russian city.

        Yes, I have come round to your logic since we last had this discussion.

      66. @Dmitry

        two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one,
         
        On this point, I think, even in our universe - Saint-Petersburg is a world-tier megalopolis, at least from any cultural or demographic perspective.

        So currently, in Russia, "two world-tier megalopolises" - Moscow and Peter. The latter is even the 3rd largest city in the European continent, just by population, after London and Moscow.

        By comparison, in America, there's possibly only one world-tier megalopolis - New York?

        -


        Although there are some really weird rankings.

        Some influential idiots, think it is the same level as Vilnius and Tallin, but below Riga and Guayaquil. Actually this whole league is rather amazing, as I think it impossible to make it logical from any perspective (economic, globalization, cultural, etc).

        https://i.imgur.com/So5nebY.jpg

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalization_and_World_Cities_Research_Network#2018_city_classification

        SPB is in many ways merely a prosperous and a very outsized millionik, as opposed to Russia’s “northern capital”, let alone a world-tier megalopolis.

        You need at least around 10M to be a candidate for a world-tier megalopolis.

        There are two of them in Western Europe: London and Paris (Berlin would also have probably become that if Germany had a more normal 20th century). Moscow is comparable to them both demographically and economically. Saint-Petersburg has half their population and no more than 10% of their GDP. Sure, it has a lot of history and culture, but so does Venice and Vienna.

      67. @melanf

        No, that is simply incorrect
         
        My bad

        Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did
         
        .

        Urban growth rates 2007-2017 (with market economy)

        Krasnoyarsk 116%
        Perm 106%

        St. Petersburg 115%
        Moscow 112%
        https://mingitau.livejournal.com/293084.html

        Tyumen (also in Siberia) in General, the absolute champion of growth among Russian cities

        http://www.poyshie-serdsa-fest.narod.ru/photo02.jpg

        Tyumen is supercharged by the oil boom.

        Krasnoyarsk and Perm are already in place and form established economic nodes with existing urban infrastructure (sunk costs), so it is not that surprising that they’re expanding. All the smaller and even less economical cities around them are rapidly emptying out, and many of those migrants are moving to the bigger Siberian & Urals cities.

      68. @Dmitry

        It looks ugly
         
        Buildings themselves looked a lot better when new, and represented an amazing increase in living standards for millions of people.

        You have to understand how inadequate the previous housing situation had been, and how Soviet engineering solved these problems. And also how advanced some of it was - including construction technology used, or even what they provided to residents: e.g. electricity in every apartment.

        You also have to remember, in terms of some aspects of infrastructure (hot water supply, transport for residents) - it can often be better than even modern Western bourgeois housing.

        -

        Historical context is necessary - and also to remember, even in Victorian England, the wealthiest country in the world of its era, only a small proportion could live in an English bourgeois townhouse in Belsize Park or Primrose Hill (really, probably only a 5-10% of Victorian Englishmen lived in such really beautiful housing that we admire today).

        If you had to choose which ugly place to live, in would it be this where
        your wife, kids and perhaps parents

         
        Think about the situation in Moscow now. A lot of middle class people are protesting against the planned destruction of their buildings.

        There are middle class people even today, who can enjoy this housing, if (and it's the important thing), the residents maintain and upgrade the building, and they have good neighbours.

        A lot depended, on the quality of your neighbours. E.g. a couple of drunks could ruin life for the whole building.

        Or this, where everyone had their own room and the family had a couple of cars to get around in (and often their own family swimming pool out back):

         
        More intelligent, clean and efficient, from the society perspective, is to provide adequate mass transit solutions.

        What is the effect on city transport - between the car, and the tram or metro?

        Cars destroy a city, disfigure it with highways, pollute the air, and creates traffic jams, and unpleasant urban sprawl.

        -

        In 1943, in Los Angeles, the first smog hit - the people thought it was a Japanese gas attack on the city.

        https://timeline.com/la-smog-pollution-4ca4bc0cc95d

        By the 1950s, Los Angeles became like this purely as a result of overuse of automobiles for transport:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcvvJcy1lkU

        For once I agree with your urbanism take. Resident housing construction increased by something like fivefold in terms of annual floor space inducted under Khrushchev. There was no net expansion in the Soviet urban housing stock between 1916 and ~1950, despite a doubling of the urban population. City dwellers were crammed into kommunalka or temporary barracks, with the bulk of residential construction focusing on the “luxury” segment for the nomenklatura. Given the problems that had developed by 1955, the khrushchevki were the least bad solution.

      69. @melanf
        Because the far East (unlike the densely populated South of Russia) is super underdeveloped (in comparison with its potential)

        http://tigirek.ru/sites/default/files/%D0%94%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0%20%D0%91%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0.%20www.zapovedsever.ru_.jpg

        https://idilesom.com/files/photos/places/b/53b63ed526f3d.jpg

        What potential?

        The main reason it is not more developed/populated is the climate.
        Moving the capital would not change that.

        • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
        Do you have a comparable map for Europe?

        Also, it's interesting that Chinese Manchuria has over 100 million people in spite of it likewise having a shitty climate.
        , @anonymous coward
        The Russian Far East is not Siberia.

        Its climate is like a colder Seattle, or like the southern tip of Alaska.

        The biggest problem there is 'cyclones' and precipitation, not cold.

        Vladivostok is only slightly colder than Sapporo.
        , @melanf

        The main reason it (russian far east) is not more developed/populated is the climate.
        Moving the capital would not change that.
         
        The green region in the South of the Russian Far East has a climate no worse than in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
        http://www.agroatlas.ru/content/agroecology/climatic_maps/Data_vsn_prh/Data_vsn_prh5/Data_vsn_prh5_en.gif
        In Vladivostok, the average temperature in January -12,3 °C., in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk -7 °C. in Moscow - 9 °C. At the same time in the russian far east long and hot summer, so you can grow rice, soy and corn.
        https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/370294/51604349.2ac/0_dff38_9088e54a_orig.jpg

        https://cdn.fishki.net/upload/post/2017/02/13/2217249/tn/0e9043c9087e46e8fe2cc33e53ff5531.jpg

        Well, the ocean itself is a great advantage

        http://ocean-media.su/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Avtor.jpg
      70. @Anatoly Karlin
        Thanks for helpfully providing the data.

        Mean Jan temperatures:
        SPB: −5,5
        Moscow: −6,5
        Perm: −12,8
        Krasnoyarsk: −15,5

        10C point difference between SPB and Krasnoyarsk.

        Now for context:
        London: 5,0

        The difference between Moscow/SPB and Krasnoyarsk, is equivalent to the difference between London and Moscow/SPB.

        "Not colder" indeed.

        I am not saying that they are polar snow wildernesses year round, that is something you imputed to me. However, operating machinery, heating, construction, and basically most of the other necessary functions of industrial civilization are much harder and costlier in places such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk relative to European Russia.

        What are the figures for Yekaterinburg?

        • Replies: @Dmitry
        Cold enough that you don't let your cat go outside, or it can freeze dead overnight to the pavement.
      71. @Mitleser
        What potential?

        The main reason it is not more developed/populated is the climate.
        Moving the capital would not change that.

        https://dasgeographer.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/asia_climate.jpg

        Do you have a comparable map for Europe?

        Also, it’s interesting that Chinese Manchuria has over 100 million people in spite of it likewise having a shitty climate.

        • Replies: @Mitleser
        Climate in North-East China is more habitable than in the Russian Far East yet it was the only big part of China that suffered from depopulation in the mid-2010s.

        Resident population of Chinese provinces by the end of 2016

        Province Population yoy % change
        Tibet 3.31 2.03%
        Xinjiang 23.98 1.61%
        Guangdong 109.99 1.38%
        Chongqing 30.48 1.06%
        Ningxia 6.75 1.03%
        Shandong 99.47 1.01%
        Tianjin 15.62 0.98%
        Zhejiang 55.90 0.92%
        Fujian 38.74 0.91%
        Guangxi 48.38 0.88%
        Qinghai 5.93 0.85%
        Anhui 61.96 0.84%
        Guizhou 35.55 0.72%
        Sichuan 82.62 0.71%
        Hainan 9.17 0.69%
        Hebei 74.70 0.61%
        Yunnan 47.71 0.61%
        National Average 1382.71 0.59%
        Jiangxi 45.92 0.58%
        Hunan 68.22 0.57%
        Hubei 58.85 0.57%
        Henan 95.32 0.55%
        Shaanxi 38.13 0.52%
        Shanxi 36.82 0.48%
        Gansu 26.10 0.40%
        Inner Mongolia 25.20 0.36%
        Jiangsu 79.99 0.28%
        Shanghai 24.20 0.18%
        Beijing 21.73 0.11%
        Liaoning 43.78 -0.10%
        Heilongjiang 37.99 -0.34%
        Jilin 27.33 -0.74%

        Unit: Million
         
        https://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?p=140337845#post140337845
      72. @Anatoly Karlin
        Thanks for helpfully providing the data.

        Mean Jan temperatures:
        SPB: −5,5
        Moscow: −6,5
        Perm: −12,8
        Krasnoyarsk: −15,5

        10C point difference between SPB and Krasnoyarsk.

        Now for context:
        London: 5,0

        The difference between Moscow/SPB and Krasnoyarsk, is equivalent to the difference between London and Moscow/SPB.

        "Not colder" indeed.

        I am not saying that they are polar snow wildernesses year round, that is something you imputed to me. However, operating machinery, heating, construction, and basically most of the other necessary functions of industrial civilization are much harder and costlier in places such as Perm and Krasnoyarsk relative to European Russia.

        Let’s try for some more context.

        Mean Jan temperatures:

        Ulaanbaator: −21,6
        Harbin: −17,4
        Changchun: −14.7
        Urumqi: −12.6

        Are you going to claim that the Chinese or Mongolians are somehow more adapted to cold winters than Russians?

        Or maybe that the -17 in Harbin is somehow warmer than the -15 in Krasnoyarsk?

        Harbin has a population of 10 million, by the way.

      73. @Mitleser
        What potential?

        The main reason it is not more developed/populated is the climate.
        Moving the capital would not change that.

        https://dasgeographer.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/asia_climate.jpg

        The Russian Far East is not Siberia.

        Its climate is like a colder Seattle, or like the southern tip of Alaska.

        The biggest problem there is ‘cyclones’ and precipitation, not cold.

        Vladivostok is only slightly colder than Sapporo.

      74. @Mr. XYZ
        Do you have a comparable map for Europe?

        Also, it's interesting that Chinese Manchuria has over 100 million people in spite of it likewise having a shitty climate.

        Climate in North-East China is more habitable than in the Russian Far East yet it was the only big part of China that suffered from depopulation in the mid-2010s.

        Resident population of Chinese provinces by the end of 2016

        Province Population yoy % change
        Tibet 3.31 2.03%
        Xinjiang 23.98 1.61%
        Guangdong 109.99 1.38%
        Chongqing 30.48 1.06%
        Ningxia 6.75 1.03%
        Shandong 99.47 1.01%
        Tianjin 15.62 0.98%
        Zhejiang 55.90 0.92%
        Fujian 38.74 0.91%
        Guangxi 48.38 0.88%
        Qinghai 5.93 0.85%
        Anhui 61.96 0.84%
        Guizhou 35.55 0.72%
        Sichuan 82.62 0.71%
        Hainan 9.17 0.69%
        Hebei 74.70 0.61%
        Yunnan 47.71 0.61%
        National Average 1382.71 0.59%
        Jiangxi 45.92 0.58%
        Hunan 68.22 0.57%
        Hubei 58.85 0.57%
        Henan 95.32 0.55%
        Shaanxi 38.13 0.52%
        Shanxi 36.82 0.48%
        Gansu 26.10 0.40%
        Inner Mongolia 25.20 0.36%
        Jiangsu 79.99 0.28%
        Shanghai 24.20 0.18%
        Beijing 21.73 0.11%
        Liaoning 43.78 -0.10%
        Heilongjiang 37.99 -0.34%
        Jilin 27.33 -0.74%

        Unit: Million

        https://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?p=140337845#post140337845

      75. @Mitleser
        What potential?

        The main reason it is not more developed/populated is the climate.
        Moving the capital would not change that.

        https://dasgeographer.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/asia_climate.jpg

        The main reason it (russian far east) is not more developed/populated is the climate.
        Moving the capital would not change that.

        The green region in the South of the Russian Far East has a climate no worse than in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In Vladivostok, the average temperature in January -12,3 °C., in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk -7 °C. in Moscow – 9 °C. At the same time in the russian far east long and hot summer, so you can grow rice, soy and corn.
        Well, the ocean itself is a great advantage

        • Replies: @Mitleser
        I know that southern Primorye is perfectly fine.
        The problem is that it makes up only a small part of the RFE.
      76. @Dmitry

        It looks ugly
         
        Buildings themselves looked a lot better when new, and represented an amazing increase in living standards for millions of people.

        You have to understand how inadequate the previous housing situation had been, and how Soviet engineering solved these problems. And also how advanced some of it was - including construction technology used, or even what they provided to residents: e.g. electricity in every apartment.

        You also have to remember, in terms of some aspects of infrastructure (hot water supply, transport for residents) - it can often be better than even modern Western bourgeois housing.

        -

        Historical context is necessary - and also to remember, even in Victorian England, the wealthiest country in the world of its era, only a small proportion could live in an English bourgeois townhouse in Belsize Park or Primrose Hill (really, probably only a 5-10% of Victorian Englishmen lived in such really beautiful housing that we admire today).

        If you had to choose which ugly place to live, in would it be this where
        your wife, kids and perhaps parents

         
        Think about the situation in Moscow now. A lot of middle class people are protesting against the planned destruction of their buildings.

        There are middle class people even today, who can enjoy this housing, if (and it's the important thing), the residents maintain and upgrade the building, and they have good neighbours.

        A lot depended, on the quality of your neighbours. E.g. a couple of drunks could ruin life for the whole building.

        Or this, where everyone had their own room and the family had a couple of cars to get around in (and often their own family swimming pool out back):

         
        More intelligent, clean and efficient, from the society perspective, is to provide adequate mass transit solutions.

        What is the effect on city transport - between the car, and the tram or metro?

        Cars destroy a city, disfigure it with highways, pollute the air, and creates traffic jams, and unpleasant urban sprawl.

        -

        In 1943, in Los Angeles, the first smog hit - the people thought it was a Japanese gas attack on the city.

        https://timeline.com/la-smog-pollution-4ca4bc0cc95d

        By the 1950s, Los Angeles became like this purely as a result of overuse of automobiles for transport:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcvvJcy1lkU

        Buildings themselves looked a lot better when new, and represented an amazing increase in living standards for millions of people.

        That’s true enough. I’ve seen photos of commie apartments from Yugoslavia when they were new and it was hard to believe they were the same buildings that I was looking at decades later. (Age takes its toll on apartment buildings and human bodies alike, lol.)

        But engineers who developed the prefabricated technology of housing, built it to endure for 30 years, and then to be replaced by more upgraded housing that would exist by then.

        Well, I’ll take your word for it, but that wasn’t Kruschev’s opinion during the ‘Kitchen War’ debate with Nixon in 1959: “Your American houses are built to last only 20 years so builders could sell new houses at the end. We build firmly. We build for our children and grandchildren. ”

        More intelligent, clean and efficient, from the society perspective, is to provide adequate mass transit solutions.

        You’re passing off your values as facts. For myself, I vastly prefer driving to taking public transport. The only time public transport makes sense is the last portion of a trip to the CBD during rush hour, since I’m unwilling to pay so much in parking fees. (I park at the closest station I can get free parking at.) In America, public transport means sitting next to ungodly numbers of mexers and naggers, while in Australia it means hindoos and chinks – it’s bearable, but you couldn’t call it pleasant. And during morning rush hour, everyone looks so depressed it’s hard to maintain an upbeat attitude about the day to come. At least in your car, your spared from having to look at this.

        Cars destroy a city, disfigure it with highways, pollute the air, and creates traffic jams, and unpleasant urban sprawl.

        The ugliness of highways and urban sprawl is overrated. With modern urban design principles, the only time you have to look at a highway is when you’re on one. And ‘urban sprawl’ – or at least its aesthetically displeasing aspect – is something you only ever notice from photos or videos; it’s just not apparent otherwise. In contrast, the sight of street after street of depressingly ugly apartment blocks is something you can’t avoid noticing every time you pass by it.

        Check out Arroyomolinos, a new planned neighborhood in Madrid. (Mass density new apartment buildings, presumably all with easy access to mass transit.) That looks much less inviting to me than some ‘sprawling’ American suburb.

        Apartments in countries like France, Italy and Spain, will be on average very good quality, though. In addition, they are usually located in dense “mixed-service” areas, where there is very convenient shop 5 minutes walk from your door, and even many services within 10 minutes walk.

        I didn’t mean to make it sound like there’s a world of difference between western/southern Europe and America. There really isn’t. It’s just a bunch of small things that I can’t help noticing – the quality of bathroom and kitchen fittings, floors, doors, floorplans, things like that. When you take them all together, they often add up to a sizable difference, imo. And what’s more, for the same money, I bet I could always find something considerably more appealing in America than in Europe.

        I mean check this out. That’s over 110 square meters of living area (large/largish by European but not by American standards) in one of the top 10 wealthiest neighborhoods in Chicago, for only $250k. And deals like that are common. If you sample what’s available in the better neighborhoods of European capitals for that price, I think you’ll agree it’s inferior.

        • Replies: @Dmitry

        “Your American houses are built to last only 20 years so builders could sell new houses
         
        I haven't heard this quote, but maybe it was some kind of projection from him.

        These panel houses which begin in the Khrushchev epoch, are very specifically designed by the engineers for a short (I believe 30 year) life expectancy.

        For myself, I vastly prefer driving to taking public transport.
         
        Personal preference is not the issue. (Obviously many people prefer driving - you have your own space and don't have to sit near to peasants).

        Problem is the social or net cost. An individual automobile for every citizen, is wildly inefficient in energy terms. But it also results is slower transportation (traffic jams, etc), greater overall transport cost (which is overlapping with the energy efficienty point), and all kinds of negative externalities both in terms of health (pollution) and also city design.

        Self-driving cars will improve some of these issues (more efficient traffic flow), but all the damage to the cities will still be there.

        With modern urban design principles, the only time you have to look at a highway is when you’re on one.

         
        I disagree. Highways often destroy the whole continuity and possibility of navigating inside the city. This is especially in cities like London.

        For example, Westway in London, is just a toxic barrier across the city.

        Actually, the automobile has such a bad effect in London, that if you really want to explore city London by walking (or even more fun, is bicycle) - the best time is late at night, when there are no cars.

        Arroyomolinos, a new planned neighborhood in Madrid. (Mass density new apartment buildings, presumably all with easy access to mass transit.)

         
        Spanish are strange, culturally in this area. They prefer to live in new surburbs, than in historical areas of their own cities.

        I bet I could always find something considerably more appealing in America than in Europe.

        I mean check this out. That’s over 110 square meters of living area (large/largish by European but not by American standards) in one of the top 10 wealthiest neighborhoods in Chicago, for only $250k.
         
        I agree about new apartment buildings they are recently constructing in America.

        By the way, my brother is working in America. I visited him a couple of years ago, and I remember his new building seemed constructed in very good quality.

        Old buildings in America, however, do not seem to me at a high standard of construction - for example, in California, a lot of the old buildings look like something that constructed by amateurs with a hammer and some nails.

        The new buildings they are building now in America, do seem very strongly constructed and often luxurious though.
      77. @melanf

        The main reason it (russian far east) is not more developed/populated is the climate.
        Moving the capital would not change that.
         
        The green region in the South of the Russian Far East has a climate no worse than in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
        http://www.agroatlas.ru/content/agroecology/climatic_maps/Data_vsn_prh/Data_vsn_prh5/Data_vsn_prh5_en.gif
        In Vladivostok, the average temperature in January -12,3 °C., in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk -7 °C. in Moscow - 9 °C. At the same time in the russian far east long and hot summer, so you can grow rice, soy and corn.
        https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/370294/51604349.2ac/0_dff38_9088e54a_orig.jpg

        https://cdn.fishki.net/upload/post/2017/02/13/2217249/tn/0e9043c9087e46e8fe2cc33e53ff5531.jpg

        Well, the ocean itself is a great advantage

        http://ocean-media.su/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Avtor.jpg

        I know that southern Primorye is perfectly fine.
        The problem is that it makes up only a small part of the RFE.

        • Replies: @melanf

        I know that southern Primorye is perfectly fine.
        The problem is that it makes up only a small part of the RFE.
         
        Climatic fine part of RFE has an area equal to the area of Italy
      78. AP says:
        @melanf

        No, that is simply incorrect
         
        My bad

        Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did
         
        .

        Urban growth rates 2007-2017 (with market economy)

        Krasnoyarsk 116%
        Perm 106%

        St. Petersburg 115%
        Moscow 112%
        https://mingitau.livejournal.com/293084.html

        Tyumen (also in Siberia) in General, the absolute champion of growth among Russian cities

        http://www.poyshie-serdsa-fest.narod.ru/photo02.jpg

        On this point, I think, even in our universe – Saint-Petersburg is a world-tier megalopolis, at least from any cultural or demographic perspective…

        By comparison, in America, there’s possibly only one world-tier megalopolis – New York?

        LA and Chicago may not be “World-tier megalopoli”, but they are much closer to that status than is Saint Petersburg.

        LA – entertainment capital of the world, 3rd largest GDP of any city in the world, 13.3 million people in the metro area

        Chicago – 10th-ranked university in the world (also – Northwestern is at #23), more Nobel prize winners than any other city in the world (mostly economics I think), largest futures exchange in the world, first skyscraper, 9.4 million people in metro area

        St. Petersburg metro area only has 6.2 million people. It’s mostly a very large historical city, like Vienna or Rome (except Rome surrounds the Vatican, so it is more globally important).

        • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
        Should average IQ be factored into calculations of whether a particular city deserves global city status? I mean, Chicago has close to ten million people if one includes its metro area but a significant percentage of these people are black--who presumably have a lower average IQ than whites in this metro area or even in the surrounding countryside have.
        , @Dmitry
        I don't think it's especially eccentric or idiosyncratic of me, when I say Los Angeles is more like a group of suburbs, than metropolis. And say that, while I personally quite like Los Angeles.

        For example, why are Beverly Hills and Santa Monica separate cities, but Venice Beach, is part of Los Angeles?

        And you can travel around in Los Angeles, looking for "real city", and yet never find it - but just more and more suburbs.

        Let's go to Melrose Avenue, most famous shopping street in Los Angeles - and it's like you are on an outside part of a small city.

        https://i.imgur.com/YQ3fyaJ.jpg


        But then you try to go to Downtown central, and apart from office buildings - there is no "city there" either (even less city than in Melrose).

        https://i.imgur.com/taOV1Ov.jpg

        It's like the city part of the city is some kind of elusive thing which you can never find there, however much you will walk its streets and ride in her buses.

        Chicago

         
        Apologies I forgot about Chicago - which I have not been to, so it's not near my consciousness. However, it's significantly smaller by population, and it's far from the cultural capital of America.

        Obviously the university in Chicago vastly more advanced than anything in Russia or the Former Soviet Union (98 Nobel Prizes, Chicago school of economics, etc).

        But I don't see university quality as relevant to being a metropolis.

        Cambridge has a better university than London, Moscow, and even Tokyo and Osaka - but no-one would argue that the beautiful small (although recently growing) city of Cambridge is a metropolis for that reason.

        Petersburg metro area only has 6.2 million people. It’s mostly a very large historical city, like Vienna or Rome
         
        It's either the 3rd largest city of Europe (after Moscow, then London), or the 4th largest city (after Moscow, London and Paris), depending if you include banlieues in Paris population figure.

        It's true that for accurate comparison, you would include probably banlieues in Paris population. But then you would include Murino et al, for Petersburg.

        Anyway, Petersburg is a lot larger by population, than any American city except New York.
      79. @Mitleser
        I know that southern Primorye is perfectly fine.
        The problem is that it makes up only a small part of the RFE.

        I know that southern Primorye is perfectly fine.
        The problem is that it makes up only a small part of the RFE.

        Climatic fine part of RFE has an area equal to the area of Italy

        • Replies: @Mitleser
        Not sure about that considering that Italy is almost twice as large the whole Primorsky Krai.
      80. @AP

        On this point, I think, even in our universe – Saint-Petersburg is a world-tier megalopolis, at least from any cultural or demographic perspective...

        By comparison, in America, there’s possibly only one world-tier megalopolis – New York?
         
        LA and Chicago may not be "World-tier megalopoli", but they are much closer to that status than is Saint Petersburg.

        LA - entertainment capital of the world, 3rd largest GDP of any city in the world, 13.3 million people in the metro area

        Chicago - 10th-ranked university in the world (also - Northwestern is at #23), more Nobel prize winners than any other city in the world (mostly economics I think), largest futures exchange in the world, first skyscraper, 9.4 million people in metro area

        St. Petersburg metro area only has 6.2 million people. It's mostly a very large historical city, like Vienna or Rome (except Rome surrounds the Vatican, so it is more globally important).

        Should average IQ be factored into calculations of whether a particular city deserves global city status? I mean, Chicago has close to ten million people if one includes its metro area but a significant percentage of these people are black–who presumably have a lower average IQ than whites in this metro area or even in the surrounding countryside have.

        • Replies: @AP
        Chicago blacks created electric blues and house music, which are of modern global significance.
        , @Anatoly Karlin
        My vision of what constitutes a world-tier megapolis:
        * Demographic weight - usually at least 10M
        * Developed economy
        * Hi-tech industries, center of at least one major sector
        * Geopolitical weight

        Demonstrated through examples:

        North America: NYC, LA, Chicago, SF
        Europe: London, Paris, Moscow
        China: Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen
        Other: Tokyo

        I think that's pretty much it.

        SF, by which I ofc mean the metropolitan area + Santa Clara (San Jose), slides in by dint of the technological and cultural influence of Silicon Valley.
        Toronto may become one come mid-century.
        I don't really think that are any further credible current or future candidates in either the Anglosphere or the EU.
        Shenzhen slides in by dint of being China's tech hub, Sinotriumphalism embodied, and forming the core of the world's largest single megalopolis
        Guangzhou is the last of the four Chinese tier-1 cities, but I don't yet consider it a world-tier megalopolis.
        Mumbai and New Delhi may join this list in 2-3 decades.
      81. @melanf

        I know that southern Primorye is perfectly fine.
        The problem is that it makes up only a small part of the RFE.
         
        Climatic fine part of RFE has an area equal to the area of Italy

        Not sure about that considering that Italy is almost twice as large the whole Primorsky Krai.

        • Replies: @melanf

        https://justpaste.it/img/07488b2366de06850ab311eee05c5460.jpg
         
        True, but the Khabarovsk territory and southern Sakhalin also have a good climate ( from an agronomic point of view worse than Italy, but better than St. Petersburg). Together it is about the territory of Italy (but almost 20 times less population)


        Even in Kamchatka, the climate is quite normal
        https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/15524/270415153.6/0_115975_a9fce21e_XXXL.jpg

        http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/andreyphoto/68136518/195986/195986_original.jpg

        http://photokamchatka.ru/upload/iblock/9d7/9d7a4d93ef35271b579abda69a166319.jpg
      82. @Mitleser
        Not sure about that considering that Italy is almost twice as large the whole Primorsky Krai.

        https://justpaste.it/img/07488b2366de06850ab311eee05c5460.jpg

        True, but the Khabarovsk territory and southern Sakhalin also have a good climate ( from an agronomic point of view worse than Italy, but better than St. Petersburg). Together it is about the territory of Italy (but almost 20 times less population)

        Even in Kamchatka, the climate is quite normal

      83. Does Khabarovsk have a good climate?

        • Replies: @melanf

        Does Khabarovsk have a good climate?
         
        Wheat, soy and watermelons are successfully grown in this region.
      84. @Mr. XYZ
        Should average IQ be factored into calculations of whether a particular city deserves global city status? I mean, Chicago has close to ten million people if one includes its metro area but a significant percentage of these people are black--who presumably have a lower average IQ than whites in this metro area or even in the surrounding countryside have.

        Chicago blacks created electric blues and house music, which are of modern global significance.

        • Replies: @AP
        Black Chicagoans also include Obama (a transplant from Hawaii but a creature of Chicago politics) and Oprah Winfrey, one of the richest and most influential women in the world.

        Unrelated to blacks, Chicago is also HQ of global companies such as Boeing and Motorola. In addition to the first skyscraper, Chicago produced the first nuclear reaction. Its Zenith company was once a huge 20th century radio and TV innovator and producer of global importance.

        Overall, a good case can be made that Chicago is a modern global megalopolis, certainly more so than St. Petersburg.
      85. AP says:
        @AP
        Chicago blacks created electric blues and house music, which are of modern global significance.

        Black Chicagoans also include Obama (a transplant from Hawaii but a creature of Chicago politics) and Oprah Winfrey, one of the richest and most influential women in the world.

        Unrelated to blacks, Chicago is also HQ of global companies such as Boeing and Motorola. In addition to the first skyscraper, Chicago produced the first nuclear reaction. Its Zenith company was once a huge 20th century radio and TV innovator and producer of global importance.

        Overall, a good case can be made that Chicago is a modern global megalopolis, certainly more so than St. Petersburg.

      86. @Mr. XYZ
        Should average IQ be factored into calculations of whether a particular city deserves global city status? I mean, Chicago has close to ten million people if one includes its metro area but a significant percentage of these people are black--who presumably have a lower average IQ than whites in this metro area or even in the surrounding countryside have.

        My vision of what constitutes a world-tier megapolis:
        * Demographic weight – usually at least 10M
        * Developed economy
        * Hi-tech industries, center of at least one major sector
        * Geopolitical weight

        Demonstrated through examples:

        North America: NYC, LA, Chicago, SF
        Europe: London, Paris, Moscow
        China: Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen
        Other: Tokyo

        I think that’s pretty much it.

        SF, by which I ofc mean the metropolitan area + Santa Clara (San Jose), slides in by dint of the technological and cultural influence of Silicon Valley.
        Toronto may become one come mid-century.
        I don’t really think that are any further credible current or future candidates in either the Anglosphere or the EU.
        Shenzhen slides in by dint of being China’s tech hub, Sinotriumphalism embodied, and forming the core of the world’s largest single megalopolis
        Guangzhou is the last of the four Chinese tier-1 cities, but I don’t yet consider it a world-tier megalopolis.
        Mumbai and New Delhi may join this list in 2-3 decades.

        • Replies: @Dmitry

        Other: Tokyo
         
        In Japan, perhaps there is more than one great city.

        For example, what about Osaka? Traditionally, Osaka is the center of business, and the Osaka people are considered vulgar materialists. It's more decentralized, and less oriented for tourism. But today, can be more fashionable and for hipsters than Tokyo.

        Japan's Moscow, is Tokyo. And their Saint-Petersburg, is Kyoto. But then they also have Osaka - which is maybe like their Ekaterinburg (but Osaka is a of course a lot cooler, more significant, etc).

        Europe: London, Paris, Moscow
         
        Also - Madrid, Rome. And possibly Vienna and Milan?

        I would agree Berlin does not belong on this list (it's just, a messy and disjointed city).
        , @Mr. XYZ
        What about Istanbul?
      87. @AP

        On this point, I think, even in our universe – Saint-Petersburg is a world-tier megalopolis, at least from any cultural or demographic perspective...

        By comparison, in America, there’s possibly only one world-tier megalopolis – New York?
         
        LA and Chicago may not be "World-tier megalopoli", but they are much closer to that status than is Saint Petersburg.

        LA - entertainment capital of the world, 3rd largest GDP of any city in the world, 13.3 million people in the metro area

        Chicago - 10th-ranked university in the world (also - Northwestern is at #23), more Nobel prize winners than any other city in the world (mostly economics I think), largest futures exchange in the world, first skyscraper, 9.4 million people in metro area

        St. Petersburg metro area only has 6.2 million people. It's mostly a very large historical city, like Vienna or Rome (except Rome surrounds the Vatican, so it is more globally important).

        I don’t think it’s especially eccentric or idiosyncratic of me, when I say Los Angeles is more like a group of suburbs, than metropolis. And say that, while I personally quite like Los Angeles.

        For example, why are Beverly Hills and Santa Monica separate cities, but Venice Beach, is part of Los Angeles?

        And you can travel around in Los Angeles, looking for “real city”, and yet never find it – but just more and more suburbs.

        Let’s go to Melrose Avenue, most famous shopping street in Los Angeles – and it’s like you are on an outside part of a small city.

        But then you try to go to Downtown central, and apart from office buildings – there is no “city there” either (even less city than in Melrose).

        It’s like the city part of the city is some kind of elusive thing which you can never find there, however much you will walk its streets and ride in her buses.

        Chicago

        Apologies I forgot about Chicago – which I have not been to, so it’s not near my consciousness. However, it’s significantly smaller by population, and it’s far from the cultural capital of America.

        Obviously the university in Chicago vastly more advanced than anything in Russia or the Former Soviet Union (98 Nobel Prizes, Chicago school of economics, etc).

        But I don’t see university quality as relevant to being a metropolis.

        Cambridge has a better university than London, Moscow, and even Tokyo and Osaka – but no-one would argue that the beautiful small (although recently growing) city of Cambridge is a metropolis for that reason.

        Petersburg metro area only has 6.2 million people. It’s mostly a very large historical city, like Vienna or Rome

        It’s either the 3rd largest city of Europe (after Moscow, then London), or the 4th largest city (after Moscow, London and Paris), depending if you include banlieues in Paris population figure.

        It’s true that for accurate comparison, you would include probably banlieues in Paris population. But then you would include Murino et al, for Petersburg.

        Anyway, Petersburg is a lot larger by population, than any American city except New York.

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
        It only makes sense to compare the metropolitan population of cities which has always been my assumption (that I noted).

        Paris - 12M.

        SPB metropolis - <7M.

        And demographics is the component on which SPB comes closest to Paris, so absolutely no comparison anyway.
        , @AP
        The category isn’t urban setting but globally significant megalopolis. LA looks like small suburbs but has 12 million people, 3rd largest GDP of worlds metro areas, etc.

        Chicago doesn’t just have the university of Chicago, it also has 9.4 million people, has had global technological and cultural impact, etc.

        Also American cities by their nature are suburbanites so metropolitan area populations are what matters.
        , @silviosilver

        For example, why are Beverly Hills and Santa Monica separate cities, but Venice Beach, is part of Los Angeles?
         
        These are largely lexical distinctions that carry no real geographic significance. We're talking here about cities in the sense of a contiguous metropolitan area, regardless of whether the "city" in question possesses features akin to traditional European cities - such as a historic center with all its attendant "charm" and political and economic importance.
      88. @Dmitry
        I don't think it's especially eccentric or idiosyncratic of me, when I say Los Angeles is more like a group of suburbs, than metropolis. And say that, while I personally quite like Los Angeles.

        For example, why are Beverly Hills and Santa Monica separate cities, but Venice Beach, is part of Los Angeles?

        And you can travel around in Los Angeles, looking for "real city", and yet never find it - but just more and more suburbs.

        Let's go to Melrose Avenue, most famous shopping street in Los Angeles - and it's like you are on an outside part of a small city.

        https://i.imgur.com/YQ3fyaJ.jpg


        But then you try to go to Downtown central, and apart from office buildings - there is no "city there" either (even less city than in Melrose).

        https://i.imgur.com/taOV1Ov.jpg

        It's like the city part of the city is some kind of elusive thing which you can never find there, however much you will walk its streets and ride in her buses.

        Chicago

         
        Apologies I forgot about Chicago - which I have not been to, so it's not near my consciousness. However, it's significantly smaller by population, and it's far from the cultural capital of America.

        Obviously the university in Chicago vastly more advanced than anything in Russia or the Former Soviet Union (98 Nobel Prizes, Chicago school of economics, etc).

        But I don't see university quality as relevant to being a metropolis.

        Cambridge has a better university than London, Moscow, and even Tokyo and Osaka - but no-one would argue that the beautiful small (although recently growing) city of Cambridge is a metropolis for that reason.

        Petersburg metro area only has 6.2 million people. It’s mostly a very large historical city, like Vienna or Rome
         
        It's either the 3rd largest city of Europe (after Moscow, then London), or the 4th largest city (after Moscow, London and Paris), depending if you include banlieues in Paris population figure.

        It's true that for accurate comparison, you would include probably banlieues in Paris population. But then you would include Murino et al, for Petersburg.

        Anyway, Petersburg is a lot larger by population, than any American city except New York.

        It only makes sense to compare the metropolitan population of cities which has always been my assumption (that I noted).

        Paris – 12M.

        SPB metropolis – <7M.

        And demographics is the component on which SPB comes closest to Paris, so absolutely no comparison anyway.

      89. @Anatoly Karlin
        My vision of what constitutes a world-tier megapolis:
        * Demographic weight - usually at least 10M
        * Developed economy
        * Hi-tech industries, center of at least one major sector
        * Geopolitical weight

        Demonstrated through examples:

        North America: NYC, LA, Chicago, SF
        Europe: London, Paris, Moscow
        China: Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen
        Other: Tokyo

        I think that's pretty much it.

        SF, by which I ofc mean the metropolitan area + Santa Clara (San Jose), slides in by dint of the technological and cultural influence of Silicon Valley.
        Toronto may become one come mid-century.
        I don't really think that are any further credible current or future candidates in either the Anglosphere or the EU.
        Shenzhen slides in by dint of being China's tech hub, Sinotriumphalism embodied, and forming the core of the world's largest single megalopolis
        Guangzhou is the last of the four Chinese tier-1 cities, but I don't yet consider it a world-tier megalopolis.
        Mumbai and New Delhi may join this list in 2-3 decades.

        Other: Tokyo

        In Japan, perhaps there is more than one great city.

        For example, what about Osaka? Traditionally, Osaka is the center of business, and the Osaka people are considered vulgar materialists. It’s more decentralized, and less oriented for tourism. But today, can be more fashionable and for hipsters than Tokyo.

        Japan’s Moscow, is Tokyo. And their Saint-Petersburg, is Kyoto. But then they also have Osaka – which is maybe like their Ekaterinburg (but Osaka is a of course a lot cooler, more significant, etc).

        Europe: London, Paris, Moscow

        Also – Madrid, Rome. And possibly Vienna and Milan?

        I would agree Berlin does not belong on this list (it’s just, a messy and disjointed city).

      90. @silviosilver

        Buildings themselves looked a lot better when new, and represented an amazing increase in living standards for millions of people.
         
        That's true enough. I've seen photos of commie apartments from Yugoslavia when they were new and it was hard to believe they were the same buildings that I was looking at decades later. (Age takes its toll on apartment buildings and human bodies alike, lol.)

        But engineers who developed the prefabricated technology of housing, built it to endure for 30 years, and then to be replaced by more upgraded housing that would exist by then.
         
        Well, I'll take your word for it, but that wasn't Kruschev's opinion during the 'Kitchen War' debate with Nixon in 1959: "Your American houses are built to last only 20 years so builders could sell new houses at the end. We build firmly. We build for our children and grandchildren. "

        More intelligent, clean and efficient, from the society perspective, is to provide adequate mass transit solutions.
         
        You're passing off your values as facts. For myself, I vastly prefer driving to taking public transport. The only time public transport makes sense is the last portion of a trip to the CBD during rush hour, since I'm unwilling to pay so much in parking fees. (I park at the closest station I can get free parking at.) In America, public transport means sitting next to ungodly numbers of mexers and naggers, while in Australia it means hindoos and chinks - it's bearable, but you couldn't call it pleasant. And during morning rush hour, everyone looks so depressed it's hard to maintain an upbeat attitude about the day to come. At least in your car, your spared from having to look at this.

        Cars destroy a city, disfigure it with highways, pollute the air, and creates traffic jams, and unpleasant urban sprawl.
         
        The ugliness of highways and urban sprawl is overrated. With modern urban design principles, the only time you have to look at a highway is when you're on one. And 'urban sprawl' - or at least its aesthetically displeasing aspect - is something you only ever notice from photos or videos; it's just not apparent otherwise. In contrast, the sight of street after street of depressingly ugly apartment blocks is something you can't avoid noticing every time you pass by it.

        Check out Arroyomolinos, a new planned neighborhood in Madrid. (Mass density new apartment buildings, presumably all with easy access to mass transit.) That looks much less inviting to me than some 'sprawling' American suburb.

        Apartments in countries like France, Italy and Spain, will be on average very good quality, though. In addition, they are usually located in dense “mixed-service” areas, where there is very convenient shop 5 minutes walk from your door, and even many services within 10 minutes walk.
         
        I didn't mean to make it sound like there's a world of difference between western/southern Europe and America. There really isn't. It's just a bunch of small things that I can't help noticing - the quality of bathroom and kitchen fittings, floors, doors, floorplans, things like that. When you take them all together, they often add up to a sizable difference, imo. And what's more, for the same money, I bet I could always find something considerably more appealing in America than in Europe.

        I mean check this out. That's over 110 square meters of living area (large/largish by European but not by American standards) in one of the top 10 wealthiest neighborhoods in Chicago, for only $250k. And deals like that are common. If you sample what's available in the better neighborhoods of European capitals for that price, I think you'll agree it's inferior.

        “Your American houses are built to last only 20 years so builders could sell new houses

        I haven’t heard this quote, but maybe it was some kind of projection from him.

        These panel houses which begin in the Khrushchev epoch, are very specifically designed by the engineers for a short (I believe 30 year) life expectancy.

        For myself, I vastly prefer driving to taking public transport.

        Personal preference is not the issue. (Obviously many people prefer driving – you have your own space and don’t have to sit near to peasants).

        Problem is the social or net cost. An individual automobile for every citizen, is wildly inefficient in energy terms. But it also results is slower transportation (traffic jams, etc), greater overall transport cost (which is overlapping with the energy efficienty point), and all kinds of negative externalities both in terms of health (pollution) and also city design.

        Self-driving cars will improve some of these issues (more efficient traffic flow), but all the damage to the cities will still be there.

        With modern urban design principles, the only time you have to look at a highway is when you’re on one.

        I disagree. Highways often destroy the whole continuity and possibility of navigating inside the city. This is especially in cities like London.

        For example, Westway in London, is just a toxic barrier across the city.

        Actually, the automobile has such a bad effect in London, that if you really want to explore city London by walking (or even more fun, is bicycle) – the best time is late at night, when there are no cars.

        Arroyomolinos, a new planned neighborhood in Madrid. (Mass density new apartment buildings, presumably all with easy access to mass transit.)

        Spanish are strange, culturally in this area. They prefer to live in new surburbs, than in historical areas of their own cities.

        I bet I could always find something considerably more appealing in America than in Europe.

        I mean check this out. That’s over 110 square meters of living area (large/largish by European but not by American standards) in one of the top 10 wealthiest neighborhoods in Chicago, for only $250k.

        I agree about new apartment buildings they are recently constructing in America.

        By the way, my brother is working in America. I visited him a couple of years ago, and I remember his new building seemed constructed in very good quality.

        Old buildings in America, however, do not seem to me at a high standard of construction – for example, in California, a lot of the old buildings look like something that constructed by amateurs with a hammer and some nails.

        The new buildings they are building now in America, do seem very strongly constructed and often luxurious though.

        • Replies: @silviosilver

        Personal preference is not the issue.

        Problem is the social or net cost. An individual automobile for every citizen, is wildly inefficient in energy terms. But it also results is slower transportation (traffic jams, etc), greater overall transport cost (which is overlapping with the energy efficienty point), and all kinds of negative externalities both in terms of health (pollution) and also city design
         
        No, personal preference very much is the issue. If I'm willing to pay for the energy it costs to drive my own car, then it just doesn't matter that this is comparatively inefficient. I hate to sound like a libertardian, but hey, consumer sovereignty, dude.

        With respect to traffic jams, well sure, go ahead and introduce mass transit as an alternative to cars. Those of us who are willing to endure traffic jams will continue to endure them and those who aren't can use public transport. Win-win. Personally, I can endure 30 minutes of slow crawl without any issues. If I know ahead of time to expect a jam, I'm prepared to tolerate an hour of it. Any more than that, I'll begin to seek alternatives. Other people's tolerances will differ.

        Pollution is no longer much of an issue. The smog problem was fixed decades ago. I can't think of any other health issues here. Roadkill might be one, but I'd have to see stats on how many innocent pedestrians are hit and how many are simply other drivers (meaning they willingly accept the risk of dying when they get into a car).

        As for "city design", just what is the issue there? It seems like people driving around in their cars doesn't fit your set of... personal preferences... for how people should live their lives.

        Highways often destroy the whole continuity and possibility of navigating inside the city. This is especially in cities like London.
         
        I take it you mean that highways often form obstacles much like rivers do, which require you to find a bridge to cross them. Fair enough. But saying they destroy the "whole continuity and possibility" of making your way around a city strikes me as a fantastic overstatement. To use the example of the city I'm most familiar with - Melbourne - it's probably happened like twice in my life that I've thought, "Ah fuck, I can't go that way - there's a damn highway blocking me!" Of course it's sometimes a bit frustrating to know you'll have to wait a while at a crossing or that merging into the traffic might be tricky, but these are very minor considerations and hardly negate the utility of highways or justify doing away with them.

        For example, Westway in London, is just a toxic barrier across the city.

        Actually, the automobile has such a bad effect in London, that if you really want to explore city London by walking (or even more fun, is bicycle) – the best time is late at night, when there are no cars.
         
        I've never been to London or heard of Westway, but just googling it, it seems like that it's mostly an overpass, so how exactly does that form a "barrier across the city"? Do you mean it's just an eyesore? Imo, seen from ground level, those overpasses are actually kind of attractive. (I almost dry retched viewing those street pics. I avoid inner city areas like that like the plague, thronging as they are with leftard freaks, muzzies, naggers and other riffraff - people with whom I don't feel I have anything meaningful in common with whatsoever. I'll take the serenity of my suburban home with its large yard over that zoo any day.)

        As for bikes, I was a huge bike kid. I'm pretty sure I was willing to ride farther to get somewhere than most of my peers. It was fun sometimes, but it was also quite laborious. Peddling up even a slight incline for more than 500m-1km quickly takes the pleasure out of biking, if you ask me. How I used to dream of the day I'd have a car so that I could negotiate steep hills without breaking a sweat!

        The new buildings they are building now in America, do seem very strongly constructed and often luxurious though.
         
        Another point of difference in favor of American homes (including apartments) is the size of bedrooms. European and Latin American bedrooms are typically absurdly cramped, as though the sole purpose - or sole justification for having a - bedroom was to fall straight to sleep, wake up and immediately exit. The idea that a person might wish to lounge around in his bedroom - which almost of necessity requires making it roomier - doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone there. Well, I like having a large bedroom. I wish it was larger. A home is a nice getaway from other people in the city, and if you live with other people, your bedroom is a nice getaway from the other people in your home. That's less of an option if the room is so small the bed almost touches both walls.
      91. @Mr. XYZ
        What are the figures for Yekaterinburg?

        Cold enough that you don’t let your cat go outside, or it can freeze dead overnight to the pavement.

      92. AP says:
        @Dmitry
        I don't think it's especially eccentric or idiosyncratic of me, when I say Los Angeles is more like a group of suburbs, than metropolis. And say that, while I personally quite like Los Angeles.

        For example, why are Beverly Hills and Santa Monica separate cities, but Venice Beach, is part of Los Angeles?

        And you can travel around in Los Angeles, looking for "real city", and yet never find it - but just more and more suburbs.

        Let's go to Melrose Avenue, most famous shopping street in Los Angeles - and it's like you are on an outside part of a small city.

        https://i.imgur.com/YQ3fyaJ.jpg


        But then you try to go to Downtown central, and apart from office buildings - there is no "city there" either (even less city than in Melrose).

        https://i.imgur.com/taOV1Ov.jpg

        It's like the city part of the city is some kind of elusive thing which you can never find there, however much you will walk its streets and ride in her buses.

        Chicago

         
        Apologies I forgot about Chicago - which I have not been to, so it's not near my consciousness. However, it's significantly smaller by population, and it's far from the cultural capital of America.

        Obviously the university in Chicago vastly more advanced than anything in Russia or the Former Soviet Union (98 Nobel Prizes, Chicago school of economics, etc).

        But I don't see university quality as relevant to being a metropolis.

        Cambridge has a better university than London, Moscow, and even Tokyo and Osaka - but no-one would argue that the beautiful small (although recently growing) city of Cambridge is a metropolis for that reason.

        Petersburg metro area only has 6.2 million people. It’s mostly a very large historical city, like Vienna or Rome
         
        It's either the 3rd largest city of Europe (after Moscow, then London), or the 4th largest city (after Moscow, London and Paris), depending if you include banlieues in Paris population figure.

        It's true that for accurate comparison, you would include probably banlieues in Paris population. But then you would include Murino et al, for Petersburg.

        Anyway, Petersburg is a lot larger by population, than any American city except New York.

        The category isn’t urban setting but globally significant megalopolis. LA looks like small suburbs but has 12 million people, 3rd largest GDP of worlds metro areas, etc.

        Chicago doesn’t just have the university of Chicago, it also has 9.4 million people, has had global technological and cultural impact, etc.

        Also American cities by their nature are suburbanites so metropolitan area populations are what matters.

      93. @Mitleser
        Does Khabarovsk have a good climate?

        https://twitter.com/ArtyomLukin/status/1030388361960284160

        Does Khabarovsk have a good climate?

        Wheat, soy and watermelons are successfully grown in this region.

      94. @Dmitry
        I don't think it's especially eccentric or idiosyncratic of me, when I say Los Angeles is more like a group of suburbs, than metropolis. And say that, while I personally quite like Los Angeles.

        For example, why are Beverly Hills and Santa Monica separate cities, but Venice Beach, is part of Los Angeles?

        And you can travel around in Los Angeles, looking for "real city", and yet never find it - but just more and more suburbs.

        Let's go to Melrose Avenue, most famous shopping street in Los Angeles - and it's like you are on an outside part of a small city.

        https://i.imgur.com/YQ3fyaJ.jpg


        But then you try to go to Downtown central, and apart from office buildings - there is no "city there" either (even less city than in Melrose).

        https://i.imgur.com/taOV1Ov.jpg

        It's like the city part of the city is some kind of elusive thing which you can never find there, however much you will walk its streets and ride in her buses.

        Chicago

         
        Apologies I forgot about Chicago - which I have not been to, so it's not near my consciousness. However, it's significantly smaller by population, and it's far from the cultural capital of America.

        Obviously the university in Chicago vastly more advanced than anything in Russia or the Former Soviet Union (98 Nobel Prizes, Chicago school of economics, etc).

        But I don't see university quality as relevant to being a metropolis.

        Cambridge has a better university than London, Moscow, and even Tokyo and Osaka - but no-one would argue that the beautiful small (although recently growing) city of Cambridge is a metropolis for that reason.

        Petersburg metro area only has 6.2 million people. It’s mostly a very large historical city, like Vienna or Rome
         
        It's either the 3rd largest city of Europe (after Moscow, then London), or the 4th largest city (after Moscow, London and Paris), depending if you include banlieues in Paris population figure.

        It's true that for accurate comparison, you would include probably banlieues in Paris population. But then you would include Murino et al, for Petersburg.

        Anyway, Petersburg is a lot larger by population, than any American city except New York.

        For example, why are Beverly Hills and Santa Monica separate cities, but Venice Beach, is part of Los Angeles?

        These are largely lexical distinctions that carry no real geographic significance. We’re talking here about cities in the sense of a contiguous metropolitan area, regardless of whether the “city” in question possesses features akin to traditional European cities – such as a historic center with all its attendant “charm” and political and economic importance.

      95. @Anatoly Karlin
        My vision of what constitutes a world-tier megapolis:
        * Demographic weight - usually at least 10M
        * Developed economy
        * Hi-tech industries, center of at least one major sector
        * Geopolitical weight

        Demonstrated through examples:

        North America: NYC, LA, Chicago, SF
        Europe: London, Paris, Moscow
        China: Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen
        Other: Tokyo

        I think that's pretty much it.

        SF, by which I ofc mean the metropolitan area + Santa Clara (San Jose), slides in by dint of the technological and cultural influence of Silicon Valley.
        Toronto may become one come mid-century.
        I don't really think that are any further credible current or future candidates in either the Anglosphere or the EU.
        Shenzhen slides in by dint of being China's tech hub, Sinotriumphalism embodied, and forming the core of the world's largest single megalopolis
        Guangzhou is the last of the four Chinese tier-1 cities, but I don't yet consider it a world-tier megalopolis.
        Mumbai and New Delhi may join this list in 2-3 decades.

        What about Istanbul?

        • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
        IMO Seoul would count as a world-tier megapolis way before Istanbul.
      96. @Mr. XYZ
        What about Istanbul?

        IMO Seoul would count as a world-tier megapolis way before Istanbul.

        • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
        Why? Because of its much higher average IQ?
      97. @Dmitry

        “Your American houses are built to last only 20 years so builders could sell new houses
         
        I haven't heard this quote, but maybe it was some kind of projection from him.

        These panel houses which begin in the Khrushchev epoch, are very specifically designed by the engineers for a short (I believe 30 year) life expectancy.

        For myself, I vastly prefer driving to taking public transport.
         
        Personal preference is not the issue. (Obviously many people prefer driving - you have your own space and don't have to sit near to peasants).

        Problem is the social or net cost. An individual automobile for every citizen, is wildly inefficient in energy terms. But it also results is slower transportation (traffic jams, etc), greater overall transport cost (which is overlapping with the energy efficienty point), and all kinds of negative externalities both in terms of health (pollution) and also city design.

        Self-driving cars will improve some of these issues (more efficient traffic flow), but all the damage to the cities will still be there.

        With modern urban design principles, the only time you have to look at a highway is when you’re on one.

         
        I disagree. Highways often destroy the whole continuity and possibility of navigating inside the city. This is especially in cities like London.

        For example, Westway in London, is just a toxic barrier across the city.

        Actually, the automobile has such a bad effect in London, that if you really want to explore city London by walking (or even more fun, is bicycle) - the best time is late at night, when there are no cars.

        Arroyomolinos, a new planned neighborhood in Madrid. (Mass density new apartment buildings, presumably all with easy access to mass transit.)

         
        Spanish are strange, culturally in this area. They prefer to live in new surburbs, than in historical areas of their own cities.

        I bet I could always find something considerably more appealing in America than in Europe.

        I mean check this out. That’s over 110 square meters of living area (large/largish by European but not by American standards) in one of the top 10 wealthiest neighborhoods in Chicago, for only $250k.
         
        I agree about new apartment buildings they are recently constructing in America.

        By the way, my brother is working in America. I visited him a couple of years ago, and I remember his new building seemed constructed in very good quality.

        Old buildings in America, however, do not seem to me at a high standard of construction - for example, in California, a lot of the old buildings look like something that constructed by amateurs with a hammer and some nails.

        The new buildings they are building now in America, do seem very strongly constructed and often luxurious though.

        Personal preference is not the issue.

        Problem is the social or net cost. An individual automobile for every citizen, is wildly inefficient in energy terms. But it also results is slower transportation (traffic jams, etc), greater overall transport cost (which is overlapping with the energy efficienty point), and all kinds of negative externalities both in terms of health (pollution) and also city design

        No, personal preference very much is the issue. If I’m willing to pay for the energy it costs to drive my own car, then it just doesn’t matter that this is comparatively inefficient. I hate to sound like a libertardian, but hey, consumer sovereignty, dude.

        With respect to traffic jams, well sure, go ahead and introduce mass transit as an alternative to cars. Those of us who are willing to endure traffic jams will continue to endure them and those who aren’t can use public transport. Win-win. Personally, I can endure 30 minutes of slow crawl without any issues. If I know ahead of time to expect a jam, I’m prepared to tolerate an hour of it. Any more than that, I’ll begin to seek alternatives. Other people’s tolerances will differ.

        Pollution is no longer much of an issue. The smog problem was fixed decades ago. I can’t think of any other health issues here. Roadkill might be one, but I’d have to see stats on how many innocent pedestrians are hit and how many are simply other drivers (meaning they willingly accept the risk of dying when they get into a car).

        As for “city design”, just what is the issue there? It seems like people driving around in their cars doesn’t fit your set of… personal preferences… for how people should live their lives.

        Highways often destroy the whole continuity and possibility of navigating inside the city. This is especially in cities like London.

        I take it you mean that highways often form obstacles much like rivers do, which require you to find a bridge to cross them. Fair enough. But saying they destroy the “whole continuity and possibility” of making your way around a city strikes me as a fantastic overstatement. To use the example of the city I’m most familiar with – Melbourne – it’s probably happened like twice in my life that I’ve thought, “Ah fuck, I can’t go that way – there’s a damn highway blocking me!” Of course it’s sometimes a bit frustrating to know you’ll have to wait a while at a crossing or that merging into the traffic might be tricky, but these are very minor considerations and hardly negate the utility of highways or justify doing away with them.

        For example, Westway in London, is just a toxic barrier across the city.

        Actually, the automobile has such a bad effect in London, that if you really want to explore city London by walking (or even more fun, is bicycle) – the best time is late at night, when there are no cars.

        I’ve never been to London or heard of Westway, but just googling it, it seems like that it’s mostly an overpass, so how exactly does that form a “barrier across the city”? Do you mean it’s just an eyesore? Imo, seen from ground level, those overpasses are actually kind of attractive. (I almost dry retched viewing those street pics. I avoid inner city areas like that like the plague, thronging as they are with leftard freaks, muzzies, naggers and other riffraff – people with whom I don’t feel I have anything meaningful in common with whatsoever. I’ll take the serenity of my suburban home with its large yard over that zoo any day.)

        As for bikes, I was a huge bike kid. I’m pretty sure I was willing to ride farther to get somewhere than most of my peers. It was fun sometimes, but it was also quite laborious. Peddling up even a slight incline for more than 500m-1km quickly takes the pleasure out of biking, if you ask me. How I used to dream of the day I’d have a car so that I could negotiate steep hills without breaking a sweat!

        The new buildings they are building now in America, do seem very strongly constructed and often luxurious though.

        Another point of difference in favor of American homes (including apartments) is the size of bedrooms. European and Latin American bedrooms are typically absurdly cramped, as though the sole purpose – or sole justification for having a – bedroom was to fall straight to sleep, wake up and immediately exit. The idea that a person might wish to lounge around in his bedroom – which almost of necessity requires making it roomier – doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone there. Well, I like having a large bedroom. I wish it was larger. A home is a nice getaway from other people in the city, and if you live with other people, your bedroom is a nice getaway from the other people in your home. That’s less of an option if the room is so small the bed almost touches both walls.

        • Replies: @Dmitry

        pay for the energy it costs to drive my own car,

         
        Extra energy you burn, is expression of other negative effects, many of them externalities. I.e. toxic fumes, slowing other people, traffic jams, noise, and creating spaces where people cannot go unless they are also in an automobile (large spaces with fast moving objects which can hit you if you don't concentrate all the time).

        In the countryside, it's not such a problem. But in the city, it's quite a negative effect.

        Pollution is no longer much of an issue
         
        Pollution from vehicle is horrible and extremely unhealthy, and carcinogenic (and also contributes to heart disease).

        Just the unpleasant aesthetics of these fumes, is one of the main things which stops people from walking around and enjoying their cities.

        I like driving and automobiles, but it's still extremely unpleasant for a city. (Even the noise is a huge negative for everyone outside the car).

        These are some of the main reasons cities are "exhausting and stressful".

        In a more civilized future, automobiles would not be used inside cities. In reality, though, at least self-driving cars will improve the situation a bit.

        As for “city design”, just what is the issue there? It seems like people driving around in their cars doesn’t fit your set of… personal preferences… for how people should live their lives.
         
        Ugly cities where a large part of the space becomes difficult to pass, and it is no longer designed based on aesthetics, but more as a way to allow fast moving pieces of metal to roll around.

        so how exactly does that form a “barrier across the city”?

         
        If you try to walk past it, there are a hundred and one ways to get trapped.

        Try to cross as a pedestrian for example
        https://www.google.ru/maps/@51.520305,-0.1795625,3a,75y,131.86h,77.08t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_qcj51Fb-Ybro1lurbeLNg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192


        Seriously, you will find yourself here
        https://www.google.ru/maps/@51.5199553,-0.1740393,3a,75y,40.12h,80.51t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s2o-JRZfuk6LdGbv2_rpV7A!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

        I've actually successfully crossed some of these places at nighttime.
        But in day, when there are a lot of cars - it is an impossible barrier.

        I avoid inner city areas like that like the plague
         
        Yes, but there's no way life should be like that.

        It's artificially created by collective stupidity.


        -

        City life can and should be like this as well,

        https://i.imgur.com/LoPUleU.jpg

        European and Latin American bedrooms are typically absurdly cramped, as though the sole purpose

         
        It depends on the apartment.

        In an luxury apartment, you can have a very large bedroom, no problem - in any European country.

        I agree American building looks pretty good nowadays. But this is pretty recent, I am sure?

        It's American apartment buildings constructed since maybe early 2000s (?), where they seem to be becoming much more luxurious?
      98. @Anatoly Karlin
        IMO Seoul would count as a world-tier megapolis way before Istanbul.

        Why? Because of its much higher average IQ?

        • Replies: @Mitleser
        Istanbul is not a capital city anymore.
      99. @Anatoly Karlin

        Newburgh is one-third black, though...
         
        You're not going to find any down on their luck all-white small towns within driving commuting range of any American metropolis. AP is correct.

        Or are you simply using Volokolamsk as a term to describe a dumpy city? Also, if so, what would be a good US equivalent of Volokolamsk, in your honest opinion?
         
        This, and what AP said.

        Technically speaking, had Russia moved its capital to Rostov-on-Don, this problem could have been slightly rectified, no?
         
        Rectified what? The problem is the lack of 2-5 million population cities - this would have been avoided organically under a normal 20th century, artificially bumping up Rostov above the 2 million mark would be an idiotic waste of money (and Krasnodar would be a better candidate for a southern capital anyway).

        But wouldn’t Moscow and St. Pete’s also had much more people in this scenario? If so, this could have cancelled out this effect.
         
        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe's most populated country - by far - to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M, with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf's Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa). No, why would it. It would mean that Russia would have two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one, and a good dozen or so dynamic cities in the 2-5M range (as opposed to zero).

        What’s the issue with Tolyatti?
         
        It's the biggest "single enterprise" city (or monotown) in Russia - a huge drain on resources in the transition period, because those enterprises fed entire cities and could not be shut down for political reasons.

        Also, how are Perm and Krasnoyarsk much worse than Yekaterinburg?
         
        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.

        Also, how larger do you think that Caucasian (including Ottoman Armenia, if Russia would have ever successfully conquered it) and Central Asian cities would have been right now in a scenario where Russia would have experienced a normal 20th century?
         
        Central Asian ones - probably similar. They weren't demographically crippled during the 20th century as the Slavic areas were. Caucasian ones would be moderately bigger.

        You’re not going to find any down on their luck all-white small towns within driving commuting range of any American metropolis. AP is correct.

        An hour’s drive from Washington DC should result in one reaching rural Virginia, rural West Virginia, and rural Pennsylvania, no? A daily commute can still be done in an hour in one direction. It wouldn’t necessarily be easy, but some people could certainly do it.

        This, and what AP said.

        OK.

        Rectified what? The problem is the lack of 2-5 million population cities – this would have been avoided organically under a normal 20th century, artificially bumping up Rostov above the 2 million mark would be an idiotic waste of money (and Krasnodar would be a better candidate for a southern capital anyway).

        Why would Krasnodar be a better choice for a southern Russian capital when Rostov is located on the Don River and near the location where the Don River connects to the Black Sea?

        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe’s most populated country – by far – to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M,

        Would a non-Bolshevik Russia have permanently kept its capital at St. Pete’s?

        with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf’s Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa). No, why would it. It would mean that Russia would have two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one, and a good dozen or so dynamic cities in the 2-5M range (as opposed to zero).

        Kiev is much more likely than Odessa to be Russia’s third-largest city in this scenario, no? I mean, Kiev is likely to still become the capital of a Ukrainian federal component within Russia (a Russia led by moderate socialists would have still likely eventually transformed Russia into a federation)–which would in turn mean that Ukrainians from all parts of Ukraine would have moved to Kiev in search of a better life (unless they would have moved to Moscow or St. Pete’s instead, but the opportunities in Kiev would have probably been pretty decent as well).

        Odessa’s location isn’t exactly advantageous. The Dneister River isn’t exactly a huge hub for commerce and most of Ukraine’s large cities aren’t located that close to Odessa. Kiev, on the other hand, is ideally located on the Dneiper River.

        It’s the biggest “single enterprise” city (or monotown) in Russia – a huge drain on resources in the transition period, because those enterprises fed entire cities and could not be shut down for political reasons.

        What’s the single enterprise there? Car production/car manufacturing?

        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.

        What exactly makes you say that Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals?

        Central Asian ones – probably similar. They weren’t demographically crippled during the 20th century as the Slavic areas were.

        Kazakhstan suffered pretty heavily as a result of the 1930s famines and forced collectivization in the Soviet Union, no? Didn’t Kazakhstan lose something like a third of its total population during this time?

        Also, didn’t a lot of Kazakh cities lose population in the 1990s as a result of the post-Soviet Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, German, and Jewish (but especially Russian) exodus from Kazakhstan?

        I do agree with you that southern Central Asia does not appear to have been particularly demographically hurt by Bolshevism, though.

        Caucasian ones would be moderately bigger.

        What about cities in Ottoman Armenia such as Trebizond and Samsun, among others? Could they see a massive population explosion in this scenario as a result of Ottoman Armenia becoming Russia’s version of Florida in this scenario?

        • Replies: @Jayce
        An hour’s drive from Washington DC should result in one reaching rural Virginia

        Too bad I don't post enough to get to use the LOL button. Anyway, more often than not under usual circumstances you would be lucky if it only takes about an hour to get somewhere filled with El Salvadorans like Woodbridge or Manassas.

        http://www.virginiaplaces.org/population/graphics/whitepercentage.png
        , @Anatoly Karlin

        Why would Krasnodar be a better choice for a southern Russian capital...
         
        Currently, Krasnodar is growing rapidly, while Rostov is stagnant. This suggests it has more of the factors needed for organic city growth.

        Would a non-Bolshevik Russia have permanently kept its capital at St. Pete’s?
         
        There were discussions under Nicholas II of moving the capital to Moscow - iirc the Tsar himself favored it - but obviously, they came to naught.

        If that had happened perhaps SPB and Moscow will have been roughly equal. Even in the USSR, Leningrad remained at 80% of Moscow's population level until 1941. It was the blockade and famine that really killed it off. After 1945, Leningrad would henceforth be at 55%-60% of Moscow's level - and plummeted to 45% after the end of the USSR.

        Kiev is much more likely than Odessa to be Russia’s third-largest city in this scenario, no? I mean, Kiev is likely to still become the capital of a Ukrainian federal component within Russia (a Russia led by moderate socialists would have still likely eventually transformed Russia into a federation)...
         
        Odessa was maintaining a consistent lead of at least 25% over Kiev in the preceding century, just like SPB wrt Moscow. I assume this would have continued, and Kiev would likely be the fourth or fifth city. However, it is entirely possible that Kiev would bump up to 3rd place, especially if the Ukraine had become a substantially autonomous federal entity.

        What’s the single enterprise there? Car production/car manufacturing?
         
        Yes, ofc. AvtoVAZ.

        What exactly makes you say that Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals?
         
        Was the biggest city in the Urals in Imperial times - is the most vigorously growing one today (Perm is stagnating).

        Kazakhstan suffered pretty heavily as a result of the 1930s famines and forced collectivization in the Soviet Union, no?
         
        But the really big cities would be in Uzbekistan though.

        Could they see a massive population explosion in this scenario as a result of Ottoman Armenia becoming Russia’s version of Florida in this scenario?
         
        Quite likely, I assume.
      100. @silviosilver

        Personal preference is not the issue.

        Problem is the social or net cost. An individual automobile for every citizen, is wildly inefficient in energy terms. But it also results is slower transportation (traffic jams, etc), greater overall transport cost (which is overlapping with the energy efficienty point), and all kinds of negative externalities both in terms of health (pollution) and also city design
         
        No, personal preference very much is the issue. If I'm willing to pay for the energy it costs to drive my own car, then it just doesn't matter that this is comparatively inefficient. I hate to sound like a libertardian, but hey, consumer sovereignty, dude.

        With respect to traffic jams, well sure, go ahead and introduce mass transit as an alternative to cars. Those of us who are willing to endure traffic jams will continue to endure them and those who aren't can use public transport. Win-win. Personally, I can endure 30 minutes of slow crawl without any issues. If I know ahead of time to expect a jam, I'm prepared to tolerate an hour of it. Any more than that, I'll begin to seek alternatives. Other people's tolerances will differ.

        Pollution is no longer much of an issue. The smog problem was fixed decades ago. I can't think of any other health issues here. Roadkill might be one, but I'd have to see stats on how many innocent pedestrians are hit and how many are simply other drivers (meaning they willingly accept the risk of dying when they get into a car).

        As for "city design", just what is the issue there? It seems like people driving around in their cars doesn't fit your set of... personal preferences... for how people should live their lives.

        Highways often destroy the whole continuity and possibility of navigating inside the city. This is especially in cities like London.
         
        I take it you mean that highways often form obstacles much like rivers do, which require you to find a bridge to cross them. Fair enough. But saying they destroy the "whole continuity and possibility" of making your way around a city strikes me as a fantastic overstatement. To use the example of the city I'm most familiar with - Melbourne - it's probably happened like twice in my life that I've thought, "Ah fuck, I can't go that way - there's a damn highway blocking me!" Of course it's sometimes a bit frustrating to know you'll have to wait a while at a crossing or that merging into the traffic might be tricky, but these are very minor considerations and hardly negate the utility of highways or justify doing away with them.

        For example, Westway in London, is just a toxic barrier across the city.

        Actually, the automobile has such a bad effect in London, that if you really want to explore city London by walking (or even more fun, is bicycle) – the best time is late at night, when there are no cars.
         
        I've never been to London or heard of Westway, but just googling it, it seems like that it's mostly an overpass, so how exactly does that form a "barrier across the city"? Do you mean it's just an eyesore? Imo, seen from ground level, those overpasses are actually kind of attractive. (I almost dry retched viewing those street pics. I avoid inner city areas like that like the plague, thronging as they are with leftard freaks, muzzies, naggers and other riffraff - people with whom I don't feel I have anything meaningful in common with whatsoever. I'll take the serenity of my suburban home with its large yard over that zoo any day.)

        As for bikes, I was a huge bike kid. I'm pretty sure I was willing to ride farther to get somewhere than most of my peers. It was fun sometimes, but it was also quite laborious. Peddling up even a slight incline for more than 500m-1km quickly takes the pleasure out of biking, if you ask me. How I used to dream of the day I'd have a car so that I could negotiate steep hills without breaking a sweat!

        The new buildings they are building now in America, do seem very strongly constructed and often luxurious though.
         
        Another point of difference in favor of American homes (including apartments) is the size of bedrooms. European and Latin American bedrooms are typically absurdly cramped, as though the sole purpose - or sole justification for having a - bedroom was to fall straight to sleep, wake up and immediately exit. The idea that a person might wish to lounge around in his bedroom - which almost of necessity requires making it roomier - doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone there. Well, I like having a large bedroom. I wish it was larger. A home is a nice getaway from other people in the city, and if you live with other people, your bedroom is a nice getaway from the other people in your home. That's less of an option if the room is so small the bed almost touches both walls.

        pay for the energy it costs to drive my own car,

        Extra energy you burn, is expression of other negative effects, many of them externalities. I.e. toxic fumes, slowing other people, traffic jams, noise, and creating spaces where people cannot go unless they are also in an automobile (large spaces with fast moving objects which can hit you if you don’t concentrate all the time).

        In the countryside, it’s not such a problem. But in the city, it’s quite a negative effect.

        Pollution is no longer much of an issue

        Pollution from vehicle is horrible and extremely unhealthy, and carcinogenic (and also contributes to heart disease).

        Just the unpleasant aesthetics of these fumes, is one of the main things which stops people from walking around and enjoying their cities.

        I like driving and automobiles, but it’s still extremely unpleasant for a city. (Even the noise is a huge negative for everyone outside the car).

        These are some of the main reasons cities are “exhausting and stressful”.

        In a more civilized future, automobiles would not be used inside cities. In reality, though, at least self-driving cars will improve the situation a bit.

        As for “city design”, just what is the issue there? It seems like people driving around in their cars doesn’t fit your set of… personal preferences… for how people should live their lives.

        Ugly cities where a large part of the space becomes difficult to pass, and it is no longer designed based on aesthetics, but more as a way to allow fast moving pieces of metal to roll around.

        so how exactly does that form a “barrier across the city”?

        If you try to walk past it, there are a hundred and one ways to get trapped.

        Try to cross as a pedestrian for example
        https://www.google.ru/maps/@51.520305,-0.1795625,3a,75y,131.86h,77.08t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_qcj51Fb-Ybro1lurbeLNg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

        Seriously, you will find yourself here
        https://www.google.ru/maps/@51.5199553,-0.1740393,3a,75y,40.12h,80.51t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s2o-JRZfuk6LdGbv2_rpV7A!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

        I’ve actually successfully crossed some of these places at nighttime.
        But in day, when there are a lot of cars – it is an impossible barrier.

        I avoid inner city areas like that like the plague

        Yes, but there’s no way life should be like that.

        It’s artificially created by collective stupidity.

        City life can and should be like this as well,

        European and Latin American bedrooms are typically absurdly cramped, as though the sole purpose

        It depends on the apartment.

        In an luxury apartment, you can have a very large bedroom, no problem – in any European country.

        I agree American building looks pretty good nowadays. But this is pretty recent, I am sure?

        It’s American apartment buildings constructed since maybe early 2000s (?), where they seem to be becoming much more luxurious?

        • Replies: @AP

        I agree American building looks pretty good nowadays. But this is pretty recent, I am sure?
         
        My 100+ year old Victorian (or, I guess, Edwardian) house in the USA is great.

        American buildings got bad from the 1950s to the 1980s. But for a purpose - mass consumption. and as such, they were much better places to live than their Soviet equivalents of those same times.
      101. @Mr. XYZ
        Why? Because of its much higher average IQ?

        Istanbul is not a capital city anymore.

        • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
        Neither are LA and Chicago, though. In fact, those two cities were never actually capital cities.

        Also, New York City hasn't been the US's capital for over two centuries.
      102. @Mitleser
        Istanbul is not a capital city anymore.

        Neither are LA and Chicago, though. In fact, those two cities were never actually capital cities.

        Also, New York City hasn’t been the US’s capital for over two centuries.

        • Replies: @Mitleser
        If you look at AK's world-tier megapolis examples, you should notice that all cities outside of the big two, the superpower America and the near-superpower China are capital cities of their countries.
        The lesser powers have to centralize more in order to have a world-tier megapolis and Turkey does not.
      103. @Mr. XYZ

        You’re not going to find any down on their luck all-white small towns within driving commuting range of any American metropolis. AP is correct.
         
        An hour's drive from Washington DC should result in one reaching rural Virginia, rural West Virginia, and rural Pennsylvania, no? A daily commute can still be done in an hour in one direction. It wouldn't necessarily be easy, but some people could certainly do it.

        This, and what AP said.
         
        OK.

        Rectified what? The problem is the lack of 2-5 million population cities – this would have been avoided organically under a normal 20th century, artificially bumping up Rostov above the 2 million mark would be an idiotic waste of money (and Krasnodar would be a better candidate for a southern capital anyway).
         
        Why would Krasnodar be a better choice for a southern Russian capital when Rostov is located on the Don River and near the location where the Don River connects to the Black Sea?

        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe’s most populated country – by far – to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M,
         
        Would a non-Bolshevik Russia have permanently kept its capital at St. Pete's?

        with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf’s Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa). No, why would it. It would mean that Russia would have two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one, and a good dozen or so dynamic cities in the 2-5M range (as opposed to zero).
         
        Kiev is much more likely than Odessa to be Russia's third-largest city in this scenario, no? I mean, Kiev is likely to still become the capital of a Ukrainian federal component within Russia (a Russia led by moderate socialists would have still likely eventually transformed Russia into a federation)--which would in turn mean that Ukrainians from all parts of Ukraine would have moved to Kiev in search of a better life (unless they would have moved to Moscow or St. Pete's instead, but the opportunities in Kiev would have probably been pretty decent as well).

        Odessa's location isn't exactly advantageous. The Dneister River isn't exactly a huge hub for commerce and most of Ukraine's large cities aren't located that close to Odessa. Kiev, on the other hand, is ideally located on the Dneiper River.

        It’s the biggest “single enterprise” city (or monotown) in Russia – a huge drain on resources in the transition period, because those enterprises fed entire cities and could not be shut down for political reasons.
         
        What's the single enterprise there? Car production/car manufacturing?

        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.
         
        What exactly makes you say that Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals?

        Central Asian ones – probably similar. They weren’t demographically crippled during the 20th century as the Slavic areas were.
         
        Kazakhstan suffered pretty heavily as a result of the 1930s famines and forced collectivization in the Soviet Union, no? Didn't Kazakhstan lose something like a third of its total population during this time?

        Also, didn't a lot of Kazakh cities lose population in the 1990s as a result of the post-Soviet Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, German, and Jewish (but especially Russian) exodus from Kazakhstan?

        I do agree with you that southern Central Asia does not appear to have been particularly demographically hurt by Bolshevism, though.

        Caucasian ones would be moderately bigger.
         
        What about cities in Ottoman Armenia such as Trebizond and Samsun, among others? Could they see a massive population explosion in this scenario as a result of Ottoman Armenia becoming Russia's version of Florida in this scenario?

        An hour’s drive from Washington DC should result in one reaching rural Virginia

        Too bad I don’t post enough to get to use the LOL button. Anyway, more often than not under usual circumstances you would be lucky if it only takes about an hour to get somewhere filled with El Salvadorans like Woodbridge or Manassas.

        • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
        Interesting. I thought that it was a shorter drive. Perhaps not.

        Also, isn't Volokolamsk 120 kilometers from Moscow? If so, wouldn't one need to look for dumpy but relatively safe cities about 120 kilometers from a major city?
      104. AP says:
        @Dmitry

        pay for the energy it costs to drive my own car,

         
        Extra energy you burn, is expression of other negative effects, many of them externalities. I.e. toxic fumes, slowing other people, traffic jams, noise, and creating spaces where people cannot go unless they are also in an automobile (large spaces with fast moving objects which can hit you if you don't concentrate all the time).

        In the countryside, it's not such a problem. But in the city, it's quite a negative effect.

        Pollution is no longer much of an issue
         
        Pollution from vehicle is horrible and extremely unhealthy, and carcinogenic (and also contributes to heart disease).

        Just the unpleasant aesthetics of these fumes, is one of the main things which stops people from walking around and enjoying their cities.

        I like driving and automobiles, but it's still extremely unpleasant for a city. (Even the noise is a huge negative for everyone outside the car).

        These are some of the main reasons cities are "exhausting and stressful".

        In a more civilized future, automobiles would not be used inside cities. In reality, though, at least self-driving cars will improve the situation a bit.

        As for “city design”, just what is the issue there? It seems like people driving around in their cars doesn’t fit your set of… personal preferences… for how people should live their lives.
         
        Ugly cities where a large part of the space becomes difficult to pass, and it is no longer designed based on aesthetics, but more as a way to allow fast moving pieces of metal to roll around.

        so how exactly does that form a “barrier across the city”?

         
        If you try to walk past it, there are a hundred and one ways to get trapped.

        Try to cross as a pedestrian for example
        https://www.google.ru/maps/@51.520305,-0.1795625,3a,75y,131.86h,77.08t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_qcj51Fb-Ybro1lurbeLNg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192


        Seriously, you will find yourself here
        https://www.google.ru/maps/@51.5199553,-0.1740393,3a,75y,40.12h,80.51t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s2o-JRZfuk6LdGbv2_rpV7A!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

        I've actually successfully crossed some of these places at nighttime.
        But in day, when there are a lot of cars - it is an impossible barrier.

        I avoid inner city areas like that like the plague
         
        Yes, but there's no way life should be like that.

        It's artificially created by collective stupidity.


        -

        City life can and should be like this as well,

        https://i.imgur.com/LoPUleU.jpg

        European and Latin American bedrooms are typically absurdly cramped, as though the sole purpose

         
        It depends on the apartment.

        In an luxury apartment, you can have a very large bedroom, no problem - in any European country.

        I agree American building looks pretty good nowadays. But this is pretty recent, I am sure?

        It's American apartment buildings constructed since maybe early 2000s (?), where they seem to be becoming much more luxurious?

        I agree American building looks pretty good nowadays. But this is pretty recent, I am sure?

        My 100+ year old Victorian (or, I guess, Edwardian) house in the USA is great.

        American buildings got bad from the 1950s to the 1980s. But for a purpose – mass consumption. and as such, they were much better places to live than their Soviet equivalents of those same times.

        • Replies: @Dmitry
        Sure, for example, with 19th century or early 20th century brownstone houses in cities like New York and Boston. But these are not exactly the average buildings relative to the country.

        American buildings got bad from the 1950s to the 1980s. But for a purpose – mass consumption.

         
        But even some wealthy social and shopping areas were made like this. Buildings which look like they were constructed by amateurs, but the important thing is a very high quality road and everything is designed so drivers can enjoy it from their carseat - afterall the automobile has become the centre of the culture.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESybc3sKi5Y
        , @Gerard2

        American buildings got bad from the 1950s to the 1980s. But for a purpose – mass consumption. and as such, they were much better places to live than their Soviet equivalents of those same times.
         
        Brainless horseshit - that literally means nothing you cretin
      105. @Jayce
        An hour’s drive from Washington DC should result in one reaching rural Virginia

        Too bad I don't post enough to get to use the LOL button. Anyway, more often than not under usual circumstances you would be lucky if it only takes about an hour to get somewhere filled with El Salvadorans like Woodbridge or Manassas.

        http://www.virginiaplaces.org/population/graphics/whitepercentage.png

        Interesting. I thought that it was a shorter drive. Perhaps not.

        Also, isn’t Volokolamsk 120 kilometers from Moscow? If so, wouldn’t one need to look for dumpy but relatively safe cities about 120 kilometers from a major city?

        • Replies: @Dmitry
        Volokolamsk - obviously an attractive historical city, with high tourist potential, if they can restore buildings competently.

        American equivalent - some historical city, with nationally average salaries, near New York.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eUrEKxQgcA
      106. @AP

        I agree American building looks pretty good nowadays. But this is pretty recent, I am sure?
         
        My 100+ year old Victorian (or, I guess, Edwardian) house in the USA is great.

        American buildings got bad from the 1950s to the 1980s. But for a purpose - mass consumption. and as such, they were much better places to live than their Soviet equivalents of those same times.

        Sure, for example, with 19th century or early 20th century brownstone houses in cities like New York and Boston. But these are not exactly the average buildings relative to the country.

        American buildings got bad from the 1950s to the 1980s. But for a purpose – mass consumption.

        But even some wealthy social and shopping areas were made like this. Buildings which look like they were constructed by amateurs, but the important thing is a very high quality road and everything is designed so drivers can enjoy it from their carseat – afterall the automobile has become the centre of the culture.

        • Replies: @AP

        Sure, for example, with 19th century or early 20th century brownstone houses in cities like New York and Boston. But these are not exactly the average buildings relative to the country.
         
        In the 19th century even farm houses and tenements were solidly built (although the latter were overcrowded and unpleasant to live in).
      107. @Mr. XYZ
        Interesting. I thought that it was a shorter drive. Perhaps not.

        Also, isn't Volokolamsk 120 kilometers from Moscow? If so, wouldn't one need to look for dumpy but relatively safe cities about 120 kilometers from a major city?

        Volokolamsk – obviously an attractive historical city, with high tourist potential, if they can restore buildings competently.

        American equivalent – some historical city, with nationally average salaries, near New York.

      108. @Mr. XYZ

        You’re not going to find any down on their luck all-white small towns within driving commuting range of any American metropolis. AP is correct.
         
        An hour's drive from Washington DC should result in one reaching rural Virginia, rural West Virginia, and rural Pennsylvania, no? A daily commute can still be done in an hour in one direction. It wouldn't necessarily be easy, but some people could certainly do it.

        This, and what AP said.
         
        OK.

        Rectified what? The problem is the lack of 2-5 million population cities – this would have been avoided organically under a normal 20th century, artificially bumping up Rostov above the 2 million mark would be an idiotic waste of money (and Krasnodar would be a better candidate for a southern capital anyway).
         
        Why would Krasnodar be a better choice for a southern Russian capital when Rostov is located on the Don River and near the location where the Don River connects to the Black Sea?

        Yes, probably around 20M for SPB instead of 5.5M (it would be logical for Europe’s most populated country – by far – to also have a way larger capital), and Moscow would retain its current current population of 12M,
         
        Would a non-Bolshevik Russia have permanently kept its capital at St. Pete's?

        with the third city clocking up at 7M by the logic of Zipf’s Law (I have a feeling it would have been Odessa). No, why would it. It would mean that Russia would have two world-tier megalopolises, as opposed to one, and a good dozen or so dynamic cities in the 2-5M range (as opposed to zero).
         
        Kiev is much more likely than Odessa to be Russia's third-largest city in this scenario, no? I mean, Kiev is likely to still become the capital of a Ukrainian federal component within Russia (a Russia led by moderate socialists would have still likely eventually transformed Russia into a federation)--which would in turn mean that Ukrainians from all parts of Ukraine would have moved to Kiev in search of a better life (unless they would have moved to Moscow or St. Pete's instead, but the opportunities in Kiev would have probably been pretty decent as well).

        Odessa's location isn't exactly advantageous. The Dneister River isn't exactly a huge hub for commerce and most of Ukraine's large cities aren't located that close to Odessa. Kiev, on the other hand, is ideally located on the Dneiper River.

        It’s the biggest “single enterprise” city (or monotown) in Russia – a huge drain on resources in the transition period, because those enterprises fed entire cities and could not be shut down for political reasons.
         
        What's the single enterprise there? Car production/car manufacturing?

        Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals so would have probably become big organically. Perm and Krasnoyarsk had no market reason to grow to the size they did.
         
        What exactly makes you say that Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals?

        Central Asian ones – probably similar. They weren’t demographically crippled during the 20th century as the Slavic areas were.
         
        Kazakhstan suffered pretty heavily as a result of the 1930s famines and forced collectivization in the Soviet Union, no? Didn't Kazakhstan lose something like a third of its total population during this time?

        Also, didn't a lot of Kazakh cities lose population in the 1990s as a result of the post-Soviet Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, German, and Jewish (but especially Russian) exodus from Kazakhstan?

        I do agree with you that southern Central Asia does not appear to have been particularly demographically hurt by Bolshevism, though.

        Caucasian ones would be moderately bigger.
         
        What about cities in Ottoman Armenia such as Trebizond and Samsun, among others? Could they see a massive population explosion in this scenario as a result of Ottoman Armenia becoming Russia's version of Florida in this scenario?

        Why would Krasnodar be a better choice for a southern Russian capital…

        Currently, Krasnodar is growing rapidly, while Rostov is stagnant. This suggests it has more of the factors needed for organic city growth.

        Would a non-Bolshevik Russia have permanently kept its capital at St. Pete’s?

        There were discussions under Nicholas II of moving the capital to Moscow – iirc the Tsar himself favored it – but obviously, they came to naught.

        If that had happened perhaps SPB and Moscow will have been roughly equal. Even in the USSR, Leningrad remained at 80% of Moscow’s population level until 1941. It was the blockade and famine that really killed it off. After 1945, Leningrad would henceforth be at 55%-60% of Moscow’s level – and plummeted to 45% after the end of the USSR.

        Kiev is much more likely than Odessa to be Russia’s third-largest city in this scenario, no? I mean, Kiev is likely to still become the capital of a Ukrainian federal component within Russia (a Russia led by moderate socialists would have still likely eventually transformed Russia into a federation)…

        Odessa was maintaining a consistent lead of at least 25% over Kiev in the preceding century, just like SPB wrt Moscow. I assume this would have continued, and Kiev would likely be the fourth or fifth city. However, it is entirely possible that Kiev would bump up to 3rd place, especially if the Ukraine had become a substantially autonomous federal entity.

        What’s the single enterprise there? Car production/car manufacturing?

        Yes, ofc. AvtoVAZ.

        What exactly makes you say that Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals?

        Was the biggest city in the Urals in Imperial times – is the most vigorously growing one today (Perm is stagnating).

        Kazakhstan suffered pretty heavily as a result of the 1930s famines and forced collectivization in the Soviet Union, no?

        But the really big cities would be in Uzbekistan though.

        Could they see a massive population explosion in this scenario as a result of Ottoman Armenia becoming Russia’s version of Florida in this scenario?

        Quite likely, I assume.

        • Replies: @anonymous coward

        Was the biggest city in the Urals in Imperial times – is the most vigorously growing one today (Perm is stagnating).
         
        Yekaterinburg is (was?) the 'industrial' capital of the Urals, Perm is (was?) the 'cultural' or 'historical' capital of the Urals. It was set up this way on purpose by Peter I and Catherine II. Interestingly enough, the administrative capital was in Perm (to which Yekaterinburg was subordinate), up until 1918.

        Today they're in different Federal Districts (!), presumably because of the mountains (or, really, hills) between them.

        (There's some sort of geopolitical conspiracy theory to be mined here, I think, if one wanted to pursue this.)
      109. Out of curiosity, is Italian food popular in Russia?

      110. @Anatoly Karlin

        Why would Krasnodar be a better choice for a southern Russian capital...
         
        Currently, Krasnodar is growing rapidly, while Rostov is stagnant. This suggests it has more of the factors needed for organic city growth.

        Would a non-Bolshevik Russia have permanently kept its capital at St. Pete’s?
         
        There were discussions under Nicholas II of moving the capital to Moscow - iirc the Tsar himself favored it - but obviously, they came to naught.

        If that had happened perhaps SPB and Moscow will have been roughly equal. Even in the USSR, Leningrad remained at 80% of Moscow's population level until 1941. It was the blockade and famine that really killed it off. After 1945, Leningrad would henceforth be at 55%-60% of Moscow's level - and plummeted to 45% after the end of the USSR.

        Kiev is much more likely than Odessa to be Russia’s third-largest city in this scenario, no? I mean, Kiev is likely to still become the capital of a Ukrainian federal component within Russia (a Russia led by moderate socialists would have still likely eventually transformed Russia into a federation)...
         
        Odessa was maintaining a consistent lead of at least 25% over Kiev in the preceding century, just like SPB wrt Moscow. I assume this would have continued, and Kiev would likely be the fourth or fifth city. However, it is entirely possible that Kiev would bump up to 3rd place, especially if the Ukraine had become a substantially autonomous federal entity.

        What’s the single enterprise there? Car production/car manufacturing?
         
        Yes, ofc. AvtoVAZ.

        What exactly makes you say that Yekaterinburg is the natural, organic capital of the Urals?
         
        Was the biggest city in the Urals in Imperial times - is the most vigorously growing one today (Perm is stagnating).

        Kazakhstan suffered pretty heavily as a result of the 1930s famines and forced collectivization in the Soviet Union, no?
         
        But the really big cities would be in Uzbekistan though.

        Could they see a massive population explosion in this scenario as a result of Ottoman Armenia becoming Russia’s version of Florida in this scenario?
         
        Quite likely, I assume.

        Was the biggest city in the Urals in Imperial times – is the most vigorously growing one today (Perm is stagnating).

        Yekaterinburg is (was?) the ‘industrial’ capital of the Urals, Perm is (was?) the ‘cultural’ or ‘historical’ capital of the Urals. It was set up this way on purpose by Peter I and Catherine II. Interestingly enough, the administrative capital was in Perm (to which Yekaterinburg was subordinate), up until 1918.

        Today they’re in different Federal Districts (!), presumably because of the mountains (or, really, hills) between them.

        (There’s some sort of geopolitical conspiracy theory to be mined here, I think, if one wanted to pursue this.)

      111. AP says:
        @Dmitry
        Sure, for example, with 19th century or early 20th century brownstone houses in cities like New York and Boston. But these are not exactly the average buildings relative to the country.

        American buildings got bad from the 1950s to the 1980s. But for a purpose – mass consumption.

         
        But even some wealthy social and shopping areas were made like this. Buildings which look like they were constructed by amateurs, but the important thing is a very high quality road and everything is designed so drivers can enjoy it from their carseat - afterall the automobile has become the centre of the culture.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESybc3sKi5Y

        Sure, for example, with 19th century or early 20th century brownstone houses in cities like New York and Boston. But these are not exactly the average buildings relative to the country.

        In the 19th century even farm houses and tenements were solidly built (although the latter were overcrowded and unpleasant to live in).

      112. @Mr. XYZ
        Neither are LA and Chicago, though. In fact, those two cities were never actually capital cities.

        Also, New York City hasn't been the US's capital for over two centuries.

        If you look at AK’s world-tier megapolis examples, you should notice that all cities outside of the big two, the superpower America and the near-superpower China are capital cities of their countries.
        The lesser powers have to centralize more in order to have a world-tier megapolis and Turkey does not.

      113. @Dmitry

        I would have guessed somewhere in the Balkans.
         
        It is an ancient city, with a few architectural treasures there and it seems like this city is interested in historical preservation.

        (Karlin has presumably vacationed there, because of its historical buildings).

        I’ve seen of Russian cities look much nicer than this

         
        It depends on aesthetics, region and history.
        For a small city of 20,000 people - in my mind, is places like...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2z6JU07emh0

        horridly dumpy parts of Russian cities – in terms of housing and street quality
         
        Quality of the cottages in Volokolamsk looks quite good though (you can see in the video, large and luxurious ones). Salaries are average, or slightly above average there. And seems like they have slightly middle class residents, quite new cars, etc.

        They were cursed with a famous rubbish dump problem, however. And all the media has focused a lot on their protests, partly because they're close to Moscow.

        quality of housing in eastern Europe had something to do with communism

         
        Postwar Soviet Union was excellent in the area of housing, relative to its situation. For example, they created modern housing for tens of millions of people - who had never lived at such a high level - in a very short time. And they provided this housing with all the most modern infrastructure: excellent transport, heating, electricity, etc.

        But engineers who developed the prefabricated technology of housing, built it to endure for 30 years, and then to be replaced by more upgraded housing that would exist by then.

        However, now a lot of this housing is more than 50 years old, and after so many years, some of the buildings are in a very bad way.

        yet housing pretty much everywhere outside northern Europe, N. America and Aus/NZ continues

         
        American housing is often terrible from urban design perspective, as it results in far too low population density, dependence on automobiles, and vast sprawling of a city over the countryside.

        I would say 19th century English, were possibly the greatest housing designers in history. They could create very beautiful, dense and practical housing, all at same time. Some of these residential English roads of the 19th century, are more like artistic masterpieces.

        But that was in the 19th century. Modern English housing is not like this.

        developed countries like France and Italy. Compare the crappy apartments

         
        Apartments in countries like France, Italy and Spain, will be on average very good quality, though. In addition, they are usually located in dense "mixed-service" areas, where there is very convenient shop 5 minutes walk from your door, and even many services within 10 minutes walk.

        On a separate note – Did it not strike you, that despite the extremely bad problems with flooding in Irkutsk region in the last month – the quality of the housing there , in the areas affected is quite good, or at least aesthetic?

      114. @Dmitry

        It looks ugly
         
        Buildings themselves looked a lot better when new, and represented an amazing increase in living standards for millions of people.

        You have to understand how inadequate the previous housing situation had been, and how Soviet engineering solved these problems. And also how advanced some of it was - including construction technology used, or even what they provided to residents: e.g. electricity in every apartment.

        You also have to remember, in terms of some aspects of infrastructure (hot water supply, transport for residents) - it can often be better than even modern Western bourgeois housing.

        -

        Historical context is necessary - and also to remember, even in Victorian England, the wealthiest country in the world of its era, only a small proportion could live in an English bourgeois townhouse in Belsize Park or Primrose Hill (really, probably only a 5-10% of Victorian Englishmen lived in such really beautiful housing that we admire today).

        If you had to choose which ugly place to live, in would it be this where
        your wife, kids and perhaps parents

         
        Think about the situation in Moscow now. A lot of middle class people are protesting against the planned destruction of their buildings.

        There are middle class people even today, who can enjoy this housing, if (and it's the important thing), the residents maintain and upgrade the building, and they have good neighbours.

        A lot depended, on the quality of your neighbours. E.g. a couple of drunks could ruin life for the whole building.

        Or this, where everyone had their own room and the family had a couple of cars to get around in (and often their own family swimming pool out back):

         
        More intelligent, clean and efficient, from the society perspective, is to provide adequate mass transit solutions.

        What is the effect on city transport - between the car, and the tram or metro?

        Cars destroy a city, disfigure it with highways, pollute the air, and creates traffic jams, and unpleasant urban sprawl.

        -

        In 1943, in Los Angeles, the first smog hit - the people thought it was a Japanese gas attack on the city.

        https://timeline.com/la-smog-pollution-4ca4bc0cc95d

        By the 1950s, Los Angeles became like this purely as a result of overuse of automobiles for transport:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcvvJcy1lkU

        A quite excellent post – 100% in tandem with my own views – though I hadn’t thought about the smog issue.

        These soviet buildings ( Khrushchev era onwards) were well ahead of their time and actually influenced numerous mass housing, infrastructure projects in the west also
        A ton of the major multi-storey hotels in the spanish resorts ( and even some American ones) are pretty much communist buildings – but the sun, sand( and cladding/white paint) don’t make them look ugly

        Also the prick AP is just typing mindless attnetion-seeking BS

      115. @AP

        I agree American building looks pretty good nowadays. But this is pretty recent, I am sure?
         
        My 100+ year old Victorian (or, I guess, Edwardian) house in the USA is great.

        American buildings got bad from the 1950s to the 1980s. But for a purpose - mass consumption. and as such, they were much better places to live than their Soviet equivalents of those same times.

        American buildings got bad from the 1950s to the 1980s. But for a purpose – mass consumption. and as such, they were much better places to live than their Soviet equivalents of those same times.

        Brainless horseshit – that literally means nothing you cretin

      116. @AP

        Postwar Soviet Union was excellent in the area of housing, relative to its situation. For example, they created modern housing for tens of millions of people – who had never lived at such a high level – in a very short time. And they provided this housing with all the most modern infrastructure: excellent transport, heating, electricity, etc.
         
        It looks ugly and is comparable to American housing projects, for poor people who don't work.

        American housing is often terrible from urban design perspective, as it results in far too low population density, dependence on automobiles, and vast sprawling of a city over the countryside.
         
        American sprawl is also ugly but it is far more comfortable than Sovok mass housing, with every family having its own house and yard and every adult having their own automobile.

        If you had to choose which ugly place to live, in would it be this where your wife, kids and perhaps parents share 2-3 rooms:

        https://c8.alamy.com/comp/KH092J/old-low-cost-soviet-union-style-khrushchyovka-apartment-building-numbered-KH092J.jpg

        Or this, where everyone had their own room and the family had a couple of cars to get around in (and often their own family swimming pool out back):

        https://thumbs-prod.si-cdn.com/cCYupZoooOTqahgT1JqvLicahdc=/fit-in/1072x0/https://public-media.si-cdn.com/filer/6c/11/6c11bc85-03ca-447f-8218-94c23011d0fd/documerica-national-archives-arthur-tress-suburbia-staten-island-8.jpg

        LOLOL this is beyond retarded – 20 wooden clad houses in sunshine……. versus a successful mass housing project for probably 500+ people, in a city, in autumn/winter ( lower than a freak as yourself somehow using snowed-on streets as a sign of “cleanliness” in some ukrop west shithole)

        Of course it’s ‘normal” for mass apartment buildings to be clad in wood isn’t it? lol

        The car issue is also America specific – absolutely nothing to do with democracy vs Communism, unlike gun issues where Tsarist/Communist laws were very much different, I don’t think transport in Russian Empire would have turned out much different to how they were designed in USSR time

        • Replies: @AP
        LOL. Sovok tries to defend the pathetic squalor he lived in. Sovok - where middle class people lived worse materially than American poor blacks.
      117. @Gerard2
        LOLOL this is beyond retarded - 20 wooden clad houses in sunshine....... versus a successful mass housing project for probably 500+ people, in a city, in autumn/winter ( lower than a freak as yourself somehow using snowed-on streets as a sign of "cleanliness" in some ukrop west shithole)

        Of course it's 'normal" for mass apartment buildings to be clad in wood isn't it? lol

        The car issue is also America specific - absolutely nothing to do with democracy vs Communism, unlike gun issues where Tsarist/Communist laws were very much different, I don't think transport in Russian Empire would have turned out much different to how they were designed in USSR time

        LOL. Sovok tries to defend the pathetic squalor he lived in. Sovok – where middle class people lived worse materially than American poor blacks.

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