Friday, March 8, 2013
Road to Vytegra
The infrastructure in St. Petersburg and the road to Vytegra were two completely different entities. In St. Petersburg, the buildings were only about 4 or 5 stories tall but as soon as you exited the city, there were several tall, Soviet style buildings. Apparently, this is even acknowledged by the locals because they claim that this area outside of St. Petersburg is actually Leningrad because it follows the Soviet architecture. It was surprising how quickly the environment of St. Petersburg changed. Within thirty minutes of driving outside of the city, the buildings completely changed and right after, you were driving through an area that was not populated by humans and actually resembled places in northern Michigan. However, it was different from Michigan in that there were only apartments and not houses on the outskirts of Petersburg.
There also seemed to be no concept of a rest stop on the roads that we travelled. This can be for two reasons. One is that Russia’s system of governance was that of vertical integration. Therefore, all of the money that the capital cities receive will be applied to the important cities and the rest will be left in disrepair. In other words, the importance of the settlement is necessary in order for the Russian government to provide its needs. Secondly, it shows that there is this belief amongst the Russians that there are not enough Russians who travel this road for it to be necessary to create rest stops. I disagree with this notion because when I was awake, I saw quite a few freight liners and cars driving on the highway. Lastly, about the infrastructure, it was very noticeable that as soon as you left Leningrad Oblast, everything changed. For example, there was no internet service once we entered Vologda Oblast. The roads even changed at this mark because the roads in Vologda Oblast were unpaved. In all, this experience was very helpful for me to fully understand how St. Petersburg is completely different from the heartland.