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Smashing the stereotype: welcome to a Siberian city of the Future

By The Siberian Times reporter
19 March 2013

Bone-cracking cold, Gulag prison camps, oil flares visible from space, and bleak industrial cities - this is a common Western stereotype of Siberia. Plus the most exotic train ride in the world.

These intriguing images show how a new generation of Siberians are planning a very different future, unrecognisable from the picture many hold of urban living in Siberia. Picture: 'Krasnoyarsk Foresight, Images of the Future 2030’

OK, so there is often some truth in stereotypes, but they're also frequently misleading and imprisoned by the past (this is literally so in Siberia's case, where today the Gulags are long gone and there are far fewer jails than in many parts of Europe). 

If Siberia has thrown off its old shackles, things are on the point of changing even more.

These intriguing images show how a new generation of Siberians are planning a very different future, unrecognisable from the picture many hold of urban living in Siberia. 

They show a city dubbed by Chekhov as the most beautiful in Siberia with its historic churches and quaint wooden houses, which later became a major industrial engine in Soviet times and after. 

The city is Krasnoyarsk.

Krasnoyarsk, look into the future


Krasnoyarsk, look into the future

'A city dubbed by Chekhov as the most beautiful in Siberia with its historic churches and quaint wooden houses, which later became a major industrial engine in Soviet times and after'. Pictures: 'Krasnoyarsk Foresight, Images of the Future 2030’

In the past wordsmiths have struggled to find the right comparison, veering between the Detroit of Siberia, KrasVegas, and Swiss Siberia.

In truth, many Russians and foreigners who love this city know it has its own charm, not least its stupendous location on the Yenisei River in the shadow of the Sayan Mountains, but also its vibrant people. 

So what comes next?

The pictures show Krasnoyarsk as it might be less in than two decades from now. They are highlighted in a fascinating new 96-page blueprint called 'Krasnoyarsk Foresight: Images of the Future 2030'.

As Alexander Dubynin, Director of Siberian Centre of Ecology and a prominent blogger, said: 'While other neighbouring cities in Siberia, such as Novosibirsk, are competing for the right to be named the 'capital of Siberia', basing their bids on historical events as well as contemporary developments,  Krasnoyarsk decided to think about the future.'

The ambitious document sees Krasnoyarsk as 'a gateway for world investment and new technologies. It opens Siberia to the world, and the world to Siberia'. If exile was a past reality, connecting to the world is the future.  

Krasnoyarsk, look into the future

The ambitious document sees Krasnoyarsk as 'a gateway for world investment and new technologies. It opens Siberia to the world, and the world to Siberia'. Picture: 'Krasnoyarsk Foresight, Images of the Future 2030’

'The city must become multi-lingual... a global logistics hub and a centre for international cooperation', the document reads. 

'Krasnoyarsk is the centre of development and introduction of new technologies and practices, related to the life and work in harsh climatic conditions. 

'For this the city has to become the centre of Arctic development and the centre of a new understanding of life in the North.'

Astride the Yenisei River, is must become 'the engineering and innovation centre of an international level; the centre of modern, high-tech production. 

'The city should support the establishment of technology parks and prototyping complexes, R&D centres of large companies. It needs to develop science and education'.

Kransnoyarsk is already 'a beautiful, fun and comfortable city' with stunning landscapes but in the coming years 'it should first develop opportunities for citizens, and not for industrial production. With increasing competition in Siberian cities for human resources, Krasnoyarsk should concentrate on improving its quality of life and environment, while developing public transport and social services'.

Krasnoyarsk, look into the future


Krasnoyarsk, look into the future


Krasnoyarsk, look into the future

'With increasing competition in Siberian cities for human resources, Krasnoyarsk should concentrate on improving its quality of life and environment, while developing public transport and social services'. Pictures: 'Krasnoyarsk Foresight, Images of the Future 2030’

'Krasnoyarsk has a potential to become the centre for consumption and recreation for employees and industrial companies of the nearby regions.

'Creation in a gaming zone and development of the tourism industry will help Krasnoyarsk become an entertainment centre of Siberia'.

The document was drawn up as part of a Youth Week in Krasnoyarsk involving 324 people involving public figures, representatives of the government, young specialists, entrepreneurs and business leaders.

'Foresight' was the place where for the first time we got the chance to discuss not the past but future ideas and projects', said businessman Maksim Krasitsky. 

'I'm glad that there was such a great number of active participants willing to discuss such 'big' topics. 

'In my opinion, future Krasnoyarsk is not only factories and polluting industries. It's high technology which will led us into the future'.

Participants examined other cities that have undergone transformations - notably Curitiba, Berlin, and Barcelona, seeking to apply lessons from Brazil, Germany and Spain to Siberia. 

The publication 'Krasnoyarsk Foresight: Images of the Future 2030' was collected and edited by Valery Efimov, Director of Centre for Strategic Research and Development at the Siberian Federal University.

Additional reporting by Mao Oliver-Semenov, Kate Baklitskaya 

Comments (4)

What doesn´t make sense is the first capital letters to be in English language. Obviously, the main capital letters should be in Cyrillic Russian Alphabet, and only in a second term the letters in English (or perhaps some Asian languages too) for tourists and business travelers.
Enrique, Spain
23/07/2013 02:37
1
0
I applaud your dreams. Be yourself.
Charlie, Enid, Oklahoma
09/07/2013 02:46
3
0
I stopped over in Krasnoyarsk recently. It's a lively city and open to the world too, which may surprise, because it's in the middle of Siberia. I wish them luck.
Jack, Washington DC
23/03/2013 22:28
3
0
how interesting. But please do not become anything like Las Vegas, play your own strengths!
Lee Marchall, China
19/03/2013 20:38
6
0
1

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