Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

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!

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

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.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Sometimes trash bins are overfilled a lot.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Abandoned cars can stay on the streets and nobody seem to care. For years.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Just a regular court yard.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Ilya says that sometimes there are no trash bins at all so people just drop garbage in one big pile in their court yard.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

This is a road and another pile of garbage. Ilya calls this “medieval”.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Because there is a lot of trash laying around – it feeds stray animals – namely dogs, which are very numerous in the city and as Ilya says often attack humans.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

A stray dog in the shopping mall – they even go inside the shops. The stray dogs often injure kids, Ilya says it happens very often – once a week for sure.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Nobody seems to care about stray dogs on the streets and inside the grocery stores. The dog just wants to steal a sausage  – why should we care?

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Ilya says its hard to walk around without boots.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

You need to constantly look down.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Another road. And a kid returning home from school.Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Sometimes people living in these apartment buildings drive their cars over the lawns so now its hard to say where this is a normal road and where it was a lawn – they ruined their courtyards themselves.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Ilya says that in the suburbs there are often no roads at all.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Nobody even wants to get together and build the road to their place – why should we care?

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Ilya says this is typical of Syktyvkar. Both mayors are jailed now, and the governor of the region is jailed too.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Some people use wooden pallets to make paths to their houses so they don’t get stuck in the mud.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

The city is falling apart – says Ilya.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Election propaganda promises “comfortable life for every citizen of Syktyvkar”.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

People believe the propaganda but continue to live like this.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

“Comfortable life”, says Ilya.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

“Probably at the last election they promised a pallet for each city puddle”, says the blogger.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Walking around with a newborn.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Ilya says puddles are pretty handy – when you get out of the muddy courtyards and onto some paved roads you can wash the mud off your boots like this man does.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

“Beautiful place”, says Ilya.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Kids run to school.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

The more impudent people surround their piece of land in the court yards with fences and chains to host their huge cars.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Some time before this there was a grass lawn here.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

A bench to sit and watch a puddle and bottoms of parked cars, says Ilya.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

“Car owners here don’t respect anyone”, says the blogger.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

They destroyed all the lawns and move this dirt and mud from the court yards to the city center.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

But nobody cares.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Another court yard from Syktyvkar.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Car owners always park on the lawns, people can’t even walk through – says Ilya.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Again a dog. “I wasn’t able to find ANY comfortable courtyards anywhere in the city!” says the blogger.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Also Syktyvkar can boast tremendous amounts of useless ads. Like – look what they made with just a bus stop! – says Ilya.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Everything is usually drowned in ads.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Buildings too.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Just look at this.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

This is huge!

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

And this is a city street downtown.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

A bus stop with a swamp inside.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Many city areas are constantly flooded.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

You can’t reach the buildings and its not even spring! Spring might bring mayhem – says Ilya.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Just look at this!

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

An entrance to an apartment building!

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Pallets again.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

People live here, says Ilya.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

And here.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

Some areas of the city have new buildings. Houses are painted into “clown colors” says the blogger but still areas are not comfortable and cars park on the lawns.Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

“Is there any hope?” asks the blogger.

Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar

And then answers himself – “Yes there is – a highway out of Syktyvkar!”.

Hope you liked this awesome story from the best blogger hands down, Ilya! His website is below:

via

25 thoughts on “Depressing Russian City of Syktyvkar”

  1. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
  2. 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…

    Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
  4. 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.

    Reply
  5. 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.

    Reply
  6. 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.

    Reply
  7. 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.

    Reply
    • 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)

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
  8. 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.

    Reply
  9. 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.

    Reply
  10. 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.

    Reply
  11. 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 🙂

    Reply
  12. 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…

    Reply
    • 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..

      Reply
  13. 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?

    Reply

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