•The famous Golden Ring of cities outside Moscow (Yaroslavl, Suzdal, Vladimir) have Kievan Rus origins and continue to thrive
as historic centers.
•Downfall of the Tatars in 1480 – emphasis on eastern urban development.
•By late 14th century, a new type of urban network had developed called Muscovy Rus.
•Cities developed in imperfect circles away from rivers.
•Tsar Peter the Great founded St Petersburg in 1703. He sought to catch up to Western Europe.
•St Petersburg was built for economic reasons, and to be a naval and commercial port.
•The creation of this new, Western-oriented city fuelled social tension between those who believed in westernizing the country
and those who emphasized Russia’s Slavic origins.
•In Moscow and surrounding centers (Tver, Vladimir, Ivanovo, Kostroma), textile manufacturing predominated.
The Soviet Period: New Urban Patterns
•During the Russian Revolution in 1917, the communist party took control and established an economic system guided by
communist and socialist principles instead of market forces. It was called command economy.
•Command economy – a group of central planners located in Moscow determined not only what was produced, but where, who
could acquire the products, and at what price. City government and residents had little influence over local economic
development, urban growth and internal city structure. When locating new economic activity, planners considered the proximity
of natural resources.
• In 1918, the leadership moved the capital from St. Petersburg back to Moscow. Moscow, the country’s heartland would be easier
to defend. The communist leadership established a hierarchical urban administrative system to assist in carrying out political and
economic agendas, as well as to reflect the new ideology.
•By setting up a system of administrative centers in the oblasts (political units comparable to states or provinces), planners
controlled resource allocation and use in each region. Many function like primate cities in other world regions, creating uneven
•Planners also used investments to develop a system of secondary industrial cities focus on heavy industry – automotive industry
in Togliatti, aluminum and related industrial production in Bratsk – or natural resource exploitation – nickel in Noril`sk, oil near
•The location of Soviet cities depended more on the concentration of industrial investments in selected regional centers – new
system of larger cities developed.
•Soviet urban growth depended on transportation routes.
•In the 1970`s, planners began constructing a second Siberian rail route, the Baykal – Amur Mainline.
•Planners used formal control mechanisms such as the propiska, which is a legal permission to live in a specific city, that were
ineffective at limiting urban growth. People found ways to go around it.
Ur ban and Regional Planning
•Planners influenced the internal spatial structure of Soviet cities.