Russia’s monotowns reflect country’s desperate need for economic modernisation

The monotowns are wholly dependent on often-dying factories in crumbling infrastructure (photo: dpa)
The monotowns are wholly dependent on often-dying factories in crumbling infrastructure (photo: dpa)

Russia’s monotowns – sites of defunct, outdated and dying industries and home to some 25 million – are a problem both economically and socially for President Vladimir Putin. The problem is vast and epitomises Russia’s current predicament of moving the country’s economy into the 21st century while being hobbled by Soviet-era industrial policies. The Kremlin fears the monotowns' growing desperation, poverty and levels of unemployment will ignite a wave of countrywide protests.

<i>The Russian economy is in dire need of modernisation. But the bulk of the industrial base is located in company towns, known as monotowns, which were built according to the logic of the Soviet planned ec...

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