Sitting on an estimated 6,612,100 square mile area, Russia is the world’s largest nation. As if that is not enough, it also ranks ninth among the most populous countries on Earth, with a population of over 144.5 million. Russia’s vast size has seen it border numerous countries in Europe and Asia. Its European neighbours include Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Norway, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, and Georgia. Similarly, Russia’s Asian neighbours are Kazakhstan, North Korea, China, and Mongolia. The expansive country has over 1,110 cities and towns, with Moscow as the capital and the largest city. Here are the nine largest cities in Russia.
List of Largest Cities in Russia
With more than 11.5 million residents, Moscow is Russia’s most populous city. The city’s population has been on a steady increase since 1897 when it had just about 1.04 million people. The city experienced a 10.8 percent population growth between 2002 and 2010. In terms of ethnicity, the city’s population is 91.65 percent Russian, 1.42 percent Ukrainian, 1.38 percent Tatar, 0.98 percent Armenian, and 0.5 percent Jewish. Georgians and other smaller ethnicities take up the remaining 4 percent.
Moscow is a critical political, social, economic, scientific, and cultural center not only for Russia but also for entire Eastern Europe. In 2014, Moscow was ranked ninth among the most expensive cities on the planet in terms of the cost of living. Moscow boasts has one of the largest municipalities in Europe, accounting for over 20 percent of Russia’s GDP.
2. Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg comes second among Russia’s biggest cities with about 5.3 million residents. Interestingly, the city’s population was about 4.33 million in 2010, having dropped from 5.023 million in 1989. It has since increased to about 5.3 million. The city’s ethnic composition is 80.1 percent Russian, 1.3 percent Ukrainian, 0.8 percent Belarusian, 0.6 percent Tatar, 0.6 percent Armenian, and 0.5 percent Jewish. The remaining 16 percent of Saint Petersburg’s population comprises of other ethnic minorities.
Saint Petersburg is Russia’s cultural capital and one of the country’s modern cities. It serves as the country’s financial and industrial center. Some of the most notable industries in the city include the aerospace industry, oil and gas trade, and shipbuilding yards, among others.
With more than 1.47 million inhabitants, Novosibirsk ranks as Russia’s most highly populated city on the Asian side of the country. Between 1989 and 2002, Novosibirsk’s population saw a decrease from 1.43 million to 1.42 million. It later increased to the current 1.47 million. The city has more than 80 ethnicities and nationalities, with the main ones being Russian, Ukrainian, Tatar, Yakut, German, Jewish, and Belarusian. Novosibirsk is mainly an industrial city with more than 214 large-sized and medium industrial enterprises.
Yekaterinburg lies right at the center of Eurasian continents and on the right River Isle. It is often referred to as Russia’s third capital city because of the size of its economy, culture, transport sectors, and tourism. Between 2002 and 2010, Yekaterinburg saw its population increase from 1.29 million to 1.35 million. The city’s ethnic make-up is 89.04 percent Russian, 4.339 percent Tatar, 1.03 percent Ukrainian, and 0.96 percent Bakshir. The other smaller ethnicities include Belarusians, Jews, and Azerbaijan, among others, who take up less than 5 percent. The city is another key Russian economic center. It is no wonder then that it has experienced a significant economic and population growth in the last few years.
5. Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod serves the capital of Volga Federal District and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. With a population of about 1.25 million, Nizhny Novgorod is the fifth-largest city in Russia. Between 1932 and 1990, the city was known as Gorky. It had been named after Gorky Maxim, a world-renowned writer born and raised in the region. In 1817, the city was an important trading center for the Russian Empire. Between 1989 and 2010, like many other Russian cities, Nizhny Novgorod experienced a population decrease from 1.43 million to 1.25 million. It has since emerged as an important IT center in Russia.
Samara city has a population of about 1.17 million, making it Russia’s sixth-largest city. It lies on the South-East of Russia’s European side, and at the convergence of the rivers Volga and Samara. Currently, Samara serves as an important social, political, economic, industrial, and cultural center of Russia’s European side. The city has a riverfront that has become a favourite spot for both locals and tourists.
Omsk serves as Omsk Oblast’s capital. It is also the staging area for Trans-Siberian and River Irtysh’s train stations. With a population of about 1.15 million, it is ranked seventh among Russia’s largest cities. The city’s population has been on the increase since 1900 when it was about 53,050. By 1989, the population had grown to about 1.14 million. It reduced to about 1.13 million in 2002 before increasing again to the current 1.15 million. Omsk is home to numerous educational institutions, museums, theatres, and music venues, making it an important education center in Russia.
Kazan serves as the capital of Tatarstan and is the largest city in the region. It is the eighth-largest city in Russia with more than 1.24 million residents. The city is among the biggest educational, cultural, sports, religious, economic, political, and scientific centers in the country. In 2009, Russia’s patent office granted the city the right to refer to itself as the country’s third capital. Between 1989 and 2002, Kazan saw its population increase from 1.09 million to 1.11 million. The city’s ethnic make-up includes 47.9 percent Russians and 48.2 percent Tatars. Other ethnic groups such as Jews, Chuvash, Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, and Vietnamese comprise of less than 4 percent.
Chelyabinsk lies on the north-eastern part of Chelyabinsk Oblast and serves as its capital. The city is Russia’s main industrial center. Some of the country’s heavy industries dominate the region, including Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant and Chelyabinsk Tube Rolling Plant. The city’s population has seen an increase from about 1.08 million in 2002 to about 1.13 million in 2010, making it the ninth-largest city in Russia.
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