Saint Petersburg formerly known as Petrograd , then Leningrad , is a city situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. It is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow. With over 5.3 million inhabitants as of 2018, it is the fourth-most populous city in Europe,[ as well as being the northernmost city with over one million people. An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject . It served as a capital of the Russian Tsardom and the subsequent Russian Empire from 1713 to 1918 . After the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks moved their government to Moscow.In modern times, Saint Petersburg is considered the Northern Capital and serves as a home to some federal government bodies such as the Constitutional Court of Russia and the Heraldic Council of the President of the Russian Federation. It is also a seat for the National Library of Russia and a planned location for the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it's also referred to as Russia's Culture Capital.
A major historical and cultural centre and an important port, St. Petersburg lies about 400 miles northwest of Moscow and only about 7° south of the Arctic Circle. St. Petersburg has played a vital role in Russian history since its founding in 1703. For two centuries it was the capital of the Russian Empire. The city is remembered as the scene of the February and October Revolutions of 1917 and for its fierce defense while besieged during World War II. Architecturally, it ranks as one of the most splendid and congenial cities of Europe. Its historic district was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world.
Data and Facts
- St Peter’s Peter & Paul Cathedral is the highest cathedral in Russia. The height of its bell tower is 122.5 meters
- 10% of the total area of St. Petersburg is covered with water. The city is located on 42 islands, has over 300 bridges
- The deepest metro in the world is in St. Petersburg.The tunnels of the St. Petersburg metro lie at a depth of about 70-80 meters
- "Blue" bridge in St. Petersburg, thrown across the river Moika, is the widest bridge in the city and one of the widest in the world. Its width is 97.3 meters
- St. Petersburg is the capital of trams. The length of the tram tracks in the city is more than 600 km. This fact is listed in the Guinness Book of Records
- St. Petersburg became the first city in Russia, where in 1837 the first Russian railway St. Petersburg - Tsarskoe Selo was opened
Saint Petersburg is a federal subject of Russia .The political life of Saint Petersburg is regulated by the Charter of Saint Petersburg adopted by the city legislature in 1998.The superior executive body is the Saint Petersburg City Administration, led by the city governor . Saint Petersburg has a single-chamber legislature, the Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly, which is the city's regional parliament.According to the federal law passed in 2004, heads of federal subjects, including the governor of Saint Petersburg, were nominated by the President of Russia and approved by local legislatures. Should the legislature disapprove the nominee, the President could dissolve it. The former governor, Valentina Matviyenko, was approved according to the new system in December 2006. She was the only woman governor in the whole of Russia until her resignation on 22 August 2011. Matviyenko stood for elections as member of the Regional Council of Saint Petersburg and won comprehensively with allegations of rigging and ballot stuffing by the opposition. In 2012, following passage of a new federal law, restoring direct elections of heads of federal subjects, the city charter was again amended to provide for direct elections of governor. On 3 October 2018, Poltavchenko resigned, and Alexander Beglov was appointed acting governor.Saint Petersburg city is divided into eighteen districts. Saint Petersburg is also the unofficial but de facto administrative centre of Leningrad Oblast, and of the Northwestern Federal District.
According to the federal law passed in 2004, heads of federal subjects, including the governor of Saint Petersburg, are nominated by the President of Russia and approved by local legislatures. If the legislature disapproves the nominee, it is dissolved. The former governor, Valentina Matviyenko was approved according to the new system in December 2006; she moved to another job in Moscow and was replaced on Georgy Poltavchenko in 2011. In 2012, following passage of a new federal law,restoring direct elections of heads of federal subjects, the city charter was again amended to provide for direct elections of governor. Saint Petersburg city is currently divided into eighteen administrative divisions.
The city itself is divided into raions , and there are also a number of suburban districts that are subordinate to the St. Petersburg city government. Most rural districts in the orbit of St. Petersburg are subordinate to the provincial government of the Leningrad oblast . Although located in St. Petersburg and sharing some responsibilities and institutions with the city, the provincial government is itself a separate «subject» of the Russian Federation. As a residue of the city’s former status as capital, certain organizations still maintain their national headquarters in St. Petersburg, among them the Russian geographic, chemical, and medical societies.
Saint Petersburg is also the administrative center of Leningrad Oblast, and of the Northwestern Federal District.
Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast, despite being different federal subjects, share a number of departments of federal executive agencies, such as courts of arbitration, police, FSB bureaux, postal services, drug enforcement administration, penitentiary service, federal registration service, and other federal services.
The Constitutional Court of Russia moved to Saint Petersburg from Moscow in May 2008.
Saint Petersburg is a major trade gateway, serving as the financial and industrial centre of Russia, with specializations in oil and gas trade; shipbuilding yards; aerospace industry; technology, including radio, electronics, software, and computers; machine building, heavy machinery and transport, including tanks and other military equipment; mining; instrument manufacture; ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy ; chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment; publishing and printing; food and catering; wholesale and retail; textile and apparel industries; and many other businesses. It was also home to Lessner, one of Russia's two pioneering automobile manufacturers ; it was founded by machine tool and boiler maker G.A. Lessner in 1904, with designs by Boris Loutsky, and it survived until 1910.
St. Petersburg is second only to Moscow among Russian cities in terms of industrial output. In the late Soviet era more than half of the city’s working population was employed in factories and the building trades. Following post-Soviet deindustrialization, about one-fifth of the working population was still employed in industry, and the city attracted more industry than Moscow. The majority of the remainder of the working class was employed in the service sector. Industrial output declined throughout the 1990s but bounced back and significantly exceeded its former levels by the beginning of the 21st century, by which time St. Petersburg’s economy was growing faster than Russia’s as a whole. Saint Petersburg has three large cargo seaports: Bolshoi Port Saint Petersburg, Kronstadt, and Lomonosov. International cruise liners have been served at the passenger port at Morskoy Vokzal on the south-west of Vasilyevsky Island. In 2008 the first two berths opened at the New Passenger Port on the west of the island.
The new port is part of the city's «Marine Facade» development project and is due to have seven berths in operation by 2010. A complex system of riverports on both banks of the Neva River are interconnected with the system of seaports, thus making Saint Petersburg the main link between the Baltic Sea and the rest of Russia through the Volga-Baltic Waterway.
The Saint Petersburg Mint , founded in 1724, is one of the largest mints in the world, it mints Russian coins, medals and badges. Saint Petersburg is also home to the oldest and largest Russian foundry, Monumentskulptura, which made thousands of sculptures and statues that now grace public parks of Saint Petersburg, as well as many other cities. Monuments and bronze statues of the Tsars, as well as other important historical figures and dignitaries, and other world-famous monuments, such as the sculptures by Peter Clodt von Jürgensburg, Paolo Troubetzkoy, Mark Antokolsky, and others, were made there.
Known as Russia's «beer capital» due to the supply and quality of local water, its five large breweries account for over 30% of the country's domestic beer production. They include Europe's second largest brewery Baltika, Vena , Heineken Brewery, Stepan Razin and Tinkoff brewery .
The city's many local distilleries produce a broad range of vodka brands. The oldest one is LIVIZ . Among the youngest is Russian Standard Vodka introduced in Moscow in 1998, which opened in 2006 a new $60 million distillery in Petersburg in an area of 30,000 m2 . In 2007 this brand was exported to over 70 countries. Saint Petersburg has the second largest construction industry in Russia, including commercial, housing and road construction. In 2006 Saint Petersburg's city budget was 180 billion rubles.
The federal subject's Gross Regional Product as of 2016 was 3.7 trillion Russian rubles , ranked 2nd in Russia, after Moscowand per capita of US$13,000, ranked 12th among Russia's federal subjects, contributed mostly by wholesale and retail trade and repair services as well as processing industry and transportation and telecommunications .
St. Petersburg is a major player, attracting Fortune 500 companies like Raymond James Financial, Tech Data and Jabil. Business leaders are actively engaged in the overall growth of the city, fostering an unmatched sense of community and camaraderie. People who live and work in St. Pete feel a deep connection to the area, and that sense of ownership shows on every level. The city’s banking network is well-developed and includes branches of many international banks. At the onset of the 21st century, services accounted for about three-fifths of the city’s economic sector. St. Petersburg’s flourishing retail trade focuses on a wide range of consumer goods such as cotton and woolen textiles, clothing, footwear, and tobacco products, with the city itself as its principal market.
Electrical power for the city’s industries comes from hydroelectric plants on the Volkhov, Svir, and Vuoksa rivers. Natural gas is piped to St. Petersburg from the Volga-Ural field and from west Siberia.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, St. Petersburg experienced an increase in tourism, which became the fastest growing segment of economic activity. By the early 2000s the number of tourists visiting the city began to outpace that of Moscow’s but still lagged behind those of other major eastern European cities. To attract more tourists, the city invested billions of dollars in the construction of hotels, a sea passenger terminal , highways, and football stadiums, as well as theatres, shops, and restaurants.
Saint Petersburg is a major transport hub. The first Russian railway was built here in 1837, and since then the city's transport infrastructure has kept pace with the city's growth. Petersburg has an extensive system of local roads and railway services, maintains a large public transport system that includes the Saint Petersburg tram and the Saint Petersburg Metro, and is home to several riverine services that convey passengers around the city efficiently and in relative comfort.
Despite the 900-day siege during World War II, much of the city’s housing was not destroyed and is still in use. Massive postwar building programs significantly increased the housing stock, though not nearly on the scale accomplished in Moscow. As a result, while a large proportion of St. Petersburg’s residents live in more modern apartments , about one-fifth of the city’s population still live in communal apartments, a vestige of Soviet urban life . A large share of housing stock, including many communal apartments, is located in the historical area of St. Petersburg. All housing has access to central heat and is tied to the city’s sanitation and power services.
The city is connected to the rest of Russia and the wider world by several federal highways and national and international rail routes. Pulkovo Airport serves most of the air passengers departing from or arriving to the city.
Saint Petersburg has an extensive city-funded network of public transport and several hundred routes served by marshrutkas. Trams in Saint Petersburg used to be the main mean of transport; in the 1980s this was the largest tram network in the world, but many tracks were dismantled in the 2000s.
The construction of freeways such as the Saint Petersburg Ring Road, completed in 2011, and the Western High-Speed Diameter, completed in 2017, helped reduce the traffic in the city. The controversial M11, also known as the Moscow-Saint Petersburg Motorway, would connect Saint Petersburg and Moscow by a freeway and is expected to be complete before the Russia FIFA World Cup 2018.
Construction began in 2010 and the first sections of the freeway were finished in 2014 and 2015.
Saint Petersburg is an important transport corridor linking Scandinavia to Russia and Eastern Europe. The city is a node of the international European routes E18 towards Helsinki, E20 towards Tallinn, E95 towards Pskov, Kiev and Odessa and E105 towards Petrozavodsk, Murmansk and Kirkenes and towards Moscow and Kharkiv .
The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Saint Petersburg, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 69 min. 19.6% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 11 min, while 16.1% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 7 km, while 15.% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.
The city is also served by passenger and cargo seaports in the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea, the river port higher up the Neva and tens of smaller passenger stations on both banks of the Neva river. It is a terminus of both the Volga-Baltic and White Sea-Baltic waterways.
The Helsinki railway, built in 1870 and 443 kilometers long, has trains running five times a day, in a journey lasting about three and a half hours with the Allegro train.
The Moscow – Saint Petersburg Railway opened in 1851, and is 651 kilometers long; the commute to Moscow now requires from three and a half to nine hours.
In 2009 Russian Railways launched a high speed service for the Moscow–Saint Petersburg route. The new train, known as Sapsan, is a derivative of the popular Siemens Velaro train; various versions of this already operate in some European countries. It set records for the fastest train in Russia on 2 May 2009, travelling at 281 km/h and on 7 May 2009, traveling at 290 kilometers per hour .
Since 12 December 2010 Karelian Trains, a joint venture between Russian Railways and VR , has been running Alstom Pendolino operated high-speed services between Saint Petersburg's Finlyandsky and Helsinki's Central railway stations. These services are branded as «Allegro» trains. «Allegro» is known for suffering some big technical problems from time to time, which sometimes result in significant delays and even cancellation of tourists' trips
Saint Petersburg is served by Pulkovo International Airport, and also by three smaller commercial and cargo airports in the suburbs. Lappeenranta Airport, which is near Saint Petersburg but on the Finnish side of the border is also popular among Russian travellers. Pulkovo airport was opened to passengers as a small aerodrome in 1931.
Technology Services facilitates the implementation of city-wide technical standards to assure inter and intra departmental compatibility, resulting in streamlined, electronic workflow processes that will replace manual, paper processes. The Department will foster the utilization of proven technologies, including wireless network access, to further enable mobile computing for our employees in the field.
The Technology Services department comprises of the following divisions:
IT Security establishes the City’s information security policies, standards and procedures, and protects the electronic information generated and stored within the City. We maintain the information privacy and protection of confidential information, ensuring that a well-functioning security system remains in place providing full protection for all data leaving and entering the City.
Systems Development/GIS provides application support and development for enterprise-wide business systems applications, desktop-based applications, GIS applications, Internet and Intranet systems. Systems Development is responsible for setting the standards for all software and approving and coordinating the installation of all new software applications throughout the City.
GIS offers the ability for anyone to view, create and print maps of St. Petersburg via the Intranet. The goal for the City GIS team is to provide city-wide and public access to the vast amount of GIS data, both graphical and non-graphical, using desktop PC's.
Oracle eBusiness Solutions provides application support and development for the Oracle eBusiness Suite of business applications and the Oracle Work Order and Asset Management system. The City utilizes the Oracle eBS to manage human resources, finance, payroll, budget, projects, grants, property management, housing loans, billing and collections, purchasing, and inventory. Water Resources and Stormwater operations utilize the WAM system to manage their assets and inventory.
Computer Systems provides all server, storage system, database and e-mail administration for City enterprise systems. This team supports IBM iSeries, Sun Solaris and Windows operating system platforms as well as Oracle and SQL Server databases. The Computer Systems Division hosts all city public facing web sites and intranet web sites. This team also provides enterprise backup and recovery services for systems on all of these platforms.
IT Technical Support provides desktop support, network support and operations support services throughout the City.
Desktop Support provides support for all personal computers including desktop computers, laptop computers, and virtual computers used by City personnel. This team also supports PC software, applications, and the peripheral hardware used by PCs.
Network Support provides design, installation, and operational support for the City's private data network. The City network is extended across the Internet via a series of virtual private networks that provide secure connectivity to all of the smaller facilities owned by the City.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
The population of St. Petersburg is overwhelmingly Russian. Before the Revolution the city had sizable Polish, Baltic, and German communities and smaller Tatar, Jewish, and Chinese communities. A disproportionate number of non-ethnic-Russian residents of St. Petersburg emigrated soon after the Revolution of 1917. Many of those who remained in the city were victims of purges during the rule of Joseph Stalin that sent millions of alleged «enemies» to prison camps in the 1930s.
Petersburg continued to act as a magnet for Russian peasant labour, and, even in the more homogeneous postwar city, newcomers tended to equal the number of those native to St. Over the course of the post-Soviet period, hate crimes became common in St. Petersburg, living in a city designed as a cultural centre, consider themselves to be the most cultivated of Russians. Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia, after Moscow. The 2002 census recorded the population of the federal subject 4,661,219, or 3.21% of the total population of Russia. The city with its vicinity has an estimated population of about 6 million people.
The 2002 census recorded twenty-two ethnic groups of more than two thousand persons each. As of 2001, 41 percent of Petersburgers identified themselves as Russian Orthodox, another 21% called themselves Christians in general. The number of churched parishioners of the Russian Orthodox Church are estimated as less than 5%. Saint Petersburg has always been populated mostly by Russians, albeit with several sizable ethnic minorities, such as Germans, Ukrainians, Finns, and people from Eastern Europe, among others.
In 1800 an estimated 200 to 300 thousand lived in the city. After the emancipation of serfs in 1861, former serfs started arriving to the capital as workers, boosting population from half a million to 1439.6 thousand recorded in the census of 1900. Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. During the 20th century, the city experienced dramatic population changes.
From 2.4 million residents in 1916, its population dropped to less than 740,000 by 1920 during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and Russian Civil War. The minorities of Germans, Poles, Finns, Estonians and Latvians were almost completely transferred from Leningrad during the 1930s. From 1941 to the end of 1943, population dropped from 3 million to less than 600,000, as people died in battles, starved to death or were evacuated during the Siege of Leningrad. Some evacuees returned after the siege, but most influx was due to migration from other parts of the Soviet Union.
The city absorbed about 3 million people in the 1950s and grew to over 5 million in the 1980s. From 1991 to 2006 the city's population decreased to 4.6 million, while the suburban population increased due to privatization of land and massive move to suburbs. Based on the 2010 census results the population is over 4.8 million. Since 2012 the birth rate has become higher than the death rate.
People in urban Saint Petersburg have lived mostly in apartments. Between 1918 and the 1990s, the Soviets nationalised housing and forced residents to share communal apartments . With 68% living in shared flats in the 1930s, Leningrad was the city in the USSR with the largest number of kommunalkas. Resettling residents of kommunalkas is now on the way out, albeit shared apartments are still not uncommon.
As new boroughs were built on the outskirts in the 1950s–1980s, over half a million low-income families eventually received free apartments, and about an additional hundred thousand condos were purchased. While economic and social activity is concentrated in the historic city centre, the richest part of Saint Petersburg, most people live in commuter areas.