24 Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Posted on October 28, 2015 by tim


The Russian city of Syktyvkar is not big. It has just around 200,000 people. It is on the river, as are many older cities, and its name means "City on the River" translated from the ancient Komi language. Now, back to the present times - one of our favorite Russian bloggers Ilya has traveled to Syktyvkar and taken these awesome pictures to see how residents of cities that are at some distance from Moscow live their day to day lives. And here is this awesome report!


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Basically, Syktyvkar is not a poor place. The republic of Komi, of which Syktyvkar is the capital, is number thirteen in Russia on the life level rating - out of a total of 90 regions. So it's in the top 15 Russian regions. Also it is in the top 6 GDP in Russia - among 89 other places - so again, it's a decent place according to Russian ratings. This region produces oil, gas, gems, lumber and many other things.

So Ilya starts with these trash bins and says it cannot be reached because of this huge lake-like puddle.

Sometimes trash bins are overfilled a lot.

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24 Responses to “Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar”

  1. brindle_bullet@hotmail.com says:

    I’m interested to know why there is a general apathy about the surroundings. Is it a cultural norm, or has this only happened since the end of the Communist regime? Is it regional?
    Looking with Western eyes, it seems that that kind of lifestyle can’t help with the health and safety of the inhabitants, particularly the buildup of garbage and wild dogs roaming about.
    If anyone has insight, I’d love to hear what their thoughts are on this.

    • anonymous american says:

      i understand this apathy perfectly well, having worked for a fortune 2000 company. if you change anything, you will be punished for exceeding your authority. if you complain the authorities aren’t doing their job, you will also be punished. anyone who takes responsibility for anything is fired or layed off, while those who avoid responsibility rise through the ranks of power. the only way to fix something is when nobody is looking, and spend your own money, which you don’t have, and someone is always looking.

      • Yea!!! says:

        What are you talking about? This city is above arctic circle. Permafrost doesn’t allow for water to drain properly and there are only 2 months of summer. To fix all the lawns would be to expensive and take too much effort, just to have it covered with 6 feet of snow. That’s why people don’t care anymore.

  2. Tshuhna says:

    Later huge amount of snow cover all that dirt

  3. espider says:

    when it has been taken? there is already a snow?

  4. Arminius says:

    Many years ago, I used to live near this city. It´s quite embarassing that noboby cares about the circumstances people have to suffer from…

  5. Vijay says:

    This is a very special collection of pictures, that shows reality without any fake mask. A huge rarity these days, thanks. The folks in this City need our prayers, specially during bad weather.

  6. Muzzlehatch says:

    I was looking on Google Earth. Not all the city looks like this. Nothing that a few thousand weed whackers and lawn mowers couldn’t cure. I guess that landscaping is not a big industry in Russia.

  7. Mister Twister says:

    That’s what you get when you have a case of town-wide apathy. Also, Ilya’s work made me check his blog, not half bad.

  8. Yuri says:

    The city leaders along with the building owners need to correct the water drainage problem first, then fix and install roads. The cars have no where to park, except on the grass. Paved parking areas that do not flood will keep the cars off the grass. The city also needs to remove those buildings that are falling down.

  9. Alper says:

    I’d like to live here, what is wrong with me?

  10. Rob says:

    Great to see this, I have been there a few times. Russia is odd is many ways compared to the US. People litter everywhere, but its excessive in Russia. The winter snows cover it, and when the spring comes everywhere looks like you are walking in a landfill…then the city cleans it and the cycle starts again. I think the root of this problem is paired with the apartment building lifestyle, where more Americans live in stand alone homes, that is less common in Russia. You see the same lack of concern for surroundings in similar city environments in the US…if/when you don’t own the land, you don’t care.

    All in all I liked Syktyvkar, and would love to visit again.

    I went there as a college student the first time, and can honestly say that on average the girls/women there made the average like aged women here in the US look like men…it was like a land of super models.

    I walked around that city many times and never had any issues with wild dogs. I did see many, and even saw one wait at the intersection to cross once, with a crowd of people. The people didn’t mess with the dog and the dog didn’t mess with the people. The real problem is these dogs were mostly pets that people let loose as they didn’t want them anymore. There would not be this problem if people didn’t get dogs in little apartment to begin with.

    • anonymous american says:

      as an american city apartment dweller let me assure you that i do care, i just dont have any control or power over what the landlord does, nor what the city does. when you have no money and no social status, you have no ability to change anything. it is what capitalism has come to mean…. the 1% make all decisions and everyone else has to live with the consequences. (“move somewhere else” “get another job” yeah yeah. you will understand some day when you get fired or layed off and nothing new comes along)

      • anonymous american says:

        yes i work 40+ hours… my landlord is a faceless corporation who hires a new “property manager” every year or so, they own a monopoly on housing, its hard to get away from them. my neighbor is a maegacorporation retail box store, they dont give a **** how messed up the side of their building is, the no-mans land and abandoned property are under nobodys control, but of course walking on them to cut down weeds or pick up trash would be trespassing on private property.

  11. Darius says:

    A part of the car parking problem is that in soviet times the city was designed for a much smaller quantity of cars. In many post soviet countries you can see this problem. Often due to tight budgets this is not the first priority to be fixed.

  12. p51d007 says:

    Looks like most American “section 8″ housing. When people don’t have a stake in the game, they could care less what it looks like.

  13. EditS says:

    Very depressing, some of the pictures. Nobody care about anything.

  14. George says:

    Interesting post, also thanks to Rob for your comment, it fills in the gaps well. this town isn’t that depressing after all. Definitely fixable.

  15. Ardy says:

    I cannot understand why people shocked such kind of pictures.

    Such kind of places are not simply “rare”.

    There’s no point to blame inhibitnats either. They probably got used to it and probably does not bother them a lot.

    Of course they’d want a better life, a better city but most of the time we all have to live with what we have. And humans have unbeliable adaptation ability :)

  16. JP says:

    None of these photos are particularly shocking if one has spent time in the former USSR. Ironically for such a huge land mass, the cities tend to be quite cramped, as they were not built for cars. As a result, people park wherever they can find space. I drove in Russia for six years, and it was hard to come back to the USA and get used to not parking on the sidewalks! I feel bad for the people who are stuck in such places, but one way to look at it is they probably have little idea that it can be otherwise. I lived in India, too, and the same attitude pervades. What to do? Carry on with life…

    • pete says:

      Are we the same person? I lived in Russia for 8 years (1992-2000) and was driving for 6 of them but I lived in Moscow which evolved quicker than most other places. I also lived in India but wouldn’t dream of driving there..

  17. Doug S says:

    Eva, I understand why you want to leave this city!

  18. Lee says:

    These are fascinating photos and yes a bit depressing. Although I can find equally depressing places here in the USA. I could post photos from a big American city of people living on the sidewalks in tents near homeless shelters. Meanwhile just a few kilometers away there is a neighborhood with gated communities full of wealthy people. I wonder if it was much better in this town in the Soviet era. Also what is the crime rate? Do people get medical care? What are the schools like? Are there any homeless people? What are the apartments like?

  19. Jordan says:

    Apples and Oranges Ilya.

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