Federal Subjects: Oblasts, Krais, Republics, Etc
The Russian Federation consists of subjects
(analogous to US states). There are several ranks of subjects: the oblast
("area") is the most generic type, the krai
("territory") is usually more remote or close to borders, the respublika
(republic) is a subject populated with an ethnicity other than Russian, and usually has some special rights; there are also "autonomous" districts or oblasts, that were part of another subject in Soviet times. The cities of Moscow
are subjects in their own right, as is the Baikonur space launch facility that is
in Kazakhstan, but rented and administered by Russia.
Formerly Königsberg (it was German until 1945), this city is located in an exclave on the Baltic coast, boarding on Poland and Lithuania. It is also a military base. The Kaliningrad Oblast is the only federal subject that doesn't border any other subjects and is surrounded by foreign territory. The Oblast contains more than 90% of the world's amber deposits. Königsberg was the hometown of Immanuel Kant, who reportedly never travelled more than 100 miles from there. Also famous for its seven bridges.
Located in the north-west of Russia, this closed city
is the headquarters of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy.
End of the Trans-Siberian railway in the far east of Russia. Home of the Pacific Fleet. Capital of the Primorski Krai, the southeasternmost of the subjects and the most settled one in the Russian Far East. The taiga forests of this krai are home to the Ussuri tiger and many other Far Eastern species. Famous for cheap Japanese cars (Japan is next door); near everyone drives a Japanese car in Vladivostok.
Once called Stalingrad, and Tsaritsyn before that, this city in southern Russia was the site of one of the most famous battles of World War II
. One of the largest cities in Southern Russia. The Motherland Statue is located here.
Volgograd Oblast also contains Uryupinsk, a town that enjoys the reputation of a stereotypical boring hicksville
. The joke goes: When people from Uryupinsk die, they go either to heaven or back to Uryupinsk.
An industrial city in the Ural mountains, capital of the Chelyabinsk oblast. Famous for the "Stern City" Memetic Mutation
; popular joke says that the people of Chelyabinsk are unrealistically manly, tough and stern
(an old gag resurrected by the Nasha Russia
TV show, which is responsible for so many MemeticMutations
it's a wonder it doesn't have its own page yet). It has a notable Finnish population. After the Finnish Civil War in 1918, numerous "Red Finns" as they were known, came to the Soviet Union and ended up here. The oblast was the site of an infamous nuclear leakage in 1950s, and some areas are still radioactive. Due to the nuclear accident, and several decades of military and weapons production, it has become known as one of the most polluted places on earth. Only until recently was it a closed city.
The third largest city in Russia and the largest one in Siberia, also the home of quite a few heavy industry and military objects(namely, a SLBM storage that somehow ended up deep south and well away from, say, Murmansk and Novorossiysk(the Baltic/Northern Navy home ports, located far behind the north polar circle). Somewhat famous for having some of the components of the LHC built there(and in Russian internets, said collider inspired a lot of backdraft), and still considered a scientific center on par with, of course, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Temperatures drop to -45 degrees Celsius in winter, which reverts to +35 in summer - even if it's in the south, no one said Siberia wasn't harsh.
(formerly known as Kuibyshev
This city on the Volga river almost became the capital of Russia during the siege of Moscow during World War II
; embassies, manufacturing plants and government facilities were evacuated there, but Stalin showed his courage and didn't leave Moscow.
The Samara Oblast also contains Togliatti/Tolyatti
, the city where they make Alleged Cars
Not to be confused with the Lada Samara
series of cars, named after the city (and one of the models made in Togliatti).
in the Tatar language)
This city on the Volga is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, home to Russia's largest ethnic minority, the Tatars (although most of them live outside Tatarstan nowadays). Their language belongs to the Turkic family and their main religion is Sunni Islam. This makes Kazan an important cultural centre for Russia's Muslim population. However, it is also an important site for Russian Orthodox believers, since Our Lady of Kazan
is one of their holiest icons. Because of this the city's architecture reflects both Christian and Islamic influences. In 2009 Kazan acquired the exclusive right to the brand "Third Capital of Russia". The final scene of Quantum of Solace
takes place there.
Located on the Don River in Southern Russia, this million-plus population city is a major port, with canals linking it to five seas. The Don region is home to the Don Cossack Host, the largest group of Russian Cossacks
, although their HQ is in the neighbouring city of Novocherkassk.
Just east of the Urals, this Stalin-era city was the centrepiece of the Five-Year Plans, especially its steel works. A closed city from 1937 to perestroika. A famous Soviet movie about its construction Vremya, vperyod!
("Time, Forward!") was released in 1956 and the theme from that movie was also used for the Soviet news programme Vremya
(formerly known as Sverdlovsk
Catherine the Great
Catherine I, Peter the Great's wife, it is the fourth largest city and the unofficial capital of the Urals, although people from Chelyabinsk may disagree (and if they disagree, you better run
). One of Russia's oldest industrial centres at the heart of a region rich with mineral resources. Notable in the XX century history of Russia/USSR for being the place where Tsar Nicholas II and his family were executed, one of the largest suppliers for the war effort in World War II
and the hometown of Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first post-Soviet president.
A not so small resort town bordering the Black Sea, Sochi was chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics
, edging out Pyeongchang, South Korea and Salzburg, Austria. This will be the first time Russia hosts The Olympics
as the Russian Federation (1980 Summer Games doesn't technically count, as they were hosted by Moscow, USSR). It's also Russia's best resort, because the famous resorts of Crimea now belong to Ukraine.
Population 13,000. As the capital of Chukotka, the last bit of Russia before you cross the Bering Sea and reach Alaska, Anadyr is the easternmost capital in Russia, and the de facto center of Chukchi culture. Chukchi song and dance ensemble Ergyron
are based here.
The capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan, in the central Urals. It is the unofficial Islamic capital of Russia, having a large population of both Tatars and Bashkirs, and it is the center of the Bashkir ethnicity. The city started out as a fortress built by Ivan the Terrible. In the days before the Trans-Siberian Railroad was built, it was an important centre of trade due to it's location. When oil was discovered in Bashkortostan, the city became an important base for oil extraction within the region, and an asset for the Soviets, naturally. During WWII, Ufa became the base for the beseiged Soviet-Ukranian government.
The capital of the Republic of Kalmykia, in the northern Caucasus, the only nation in Europe with a Buddhist majority. It is known for it's uniquely Buddhist archaetecture, and it's status as a city of Chessmasters
. It is the capital of the Kalmyk people, who are very closely related to the Oirats of western Mongolia.
The capital of the Republic of Udmurtia, this city is best known around the world for it's main export: the AK-47. Udmurtia is home to the Udmurt people; A Uralic ethnicity, their language is in the Peric subgroup of the Uralic languages, closely related to Komi, and more distantly related to Finnish and Estonian. Buranovskiye Babushki, a group from Udmurtia representing Russia came in second in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.
The Transpolar Mainline
(a.k.a. Stalin's Dead Road, a.k.a. Construction Project 501-503, the modern politically correct name is "Northern Latitudinal Way")
The northernmost wide gauge railroad in the world, connecting several Company Towns
such as Labytnangi, Salekhard, Bovanenkovo, Novy Urengoy, Yamburg and Nadym, all located in the Yamalo-Nenets district. It is also a road with a tragic and unfortunate history. It was first built in Stalinist times by gulag inmates, but only the initial part of the railroad was completed by the time of Stalin's death. Most of it was unfinished and left to rot in the tundra, and all those dead prisoners died for nothing
. In the 1970s-1980s, rich deposits of natural gas were prospected in the district, and the state gas monopoly that would later become Gazprom started to repair and renovate the road, this time using paid labor. Their efforts were half-assed, and during the late Nineties
the renovated parts once again rotted and went into disrepair.
Currently, the railroad can be split into four spans, with two working right now and two still rotting.
- Span 1: Tchum - Labytnangi. Never ceased working, was maintained in order the whole time.
- Spur 1a: Obskaya-Bovanenkovo. A modern addition by Gazprom, built for service and maintenance of several newly discovered natural gas reserves on the Yamal Peninsula.
- Span 2: Salekhard - Nadym. Currently rotting, scheduled for renovation in 2013; the main thing in the way of renovation is lack of bridges and trestles over the rivers Ob and Nadym. The first was never built (the Ob is huge near its mouth), the latter rusted and decomposed to unusability. This span was brought to the attention of the Russian wild tourist / hiker community by an expedition of several Moscow hikers in the late 1990s.
- Span 3: Nadym - Novy Urengoy - Korotchaevo. This one was reconstructed by Gazprom two times and is currently up, running and connected to a longitudinal railway to the south.
- Spur 3a: Novy Urengoy - Yamburg. Another recent addition by Gazprom.
- The very lonely Span 4: Korotchaevo - Yermakovo - Igarka. Was abandoned after Stalin's death and never revisited since then. Gazprom has plans of renovating this part, but they are far-off and far-fetched.