A Tale of Two Cities
Last year the completion of the Four Seasons Lion Palace in St Petersburg was a sweet victory for me. As a St Petersburg native, I was pleased we were able to pip to the post the opening of the Moscow project committed to bringing the Four Seasons experience to Russia. It is ever more apparent that the age old contest between Moscow and St Petersburg is raising its head. According to an article in the Russian newspaper Kommersant, Russia’s old capital St Petersburg, is once again back in the running as its economic, social and intellectual capacity goes from strength to strength.
The article argues Moscow has exhausted its potential for growth, whilst St Petersburg is experiencing a construction boom. But that’s not all. There have been two key additions to St Petersburg lately: the Constitutional Court and the offices of Gazprom Oil and Exports. These additions bring much needed jobs, people and money to Russia’s “cultural capital”; a trend I have been fortunate to be a part of in recent years. Additionally, the quality of life is widely accepted as higher in Russia’s second city; it has the plus points of Moscow without the high crime rates, limited access to healthcare, and painfully slow traffic. Being a man of numbers, I thought it’d be easier (and fairer!) to illustrate this shift towards St Petersburg through a series of statistics published by Kommersant.
It goes without saying though that whatever the numbers suggest, my allegiance has and will always stay with my city of St Petersburg.