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The Independent Culture

It doesn't feel like Russia. The people are bookish and closed off - Olga Pipkin, 30, nurse

I was in Leningrad in 1959 and it is very beautiful. The people are kind and good - Elizaveta Bogamolova, 75, pensioner and former Party worker

You feel history in St Petersburg. It's well preserved, with lots of monuments, and the biggest characters in history are from there. People there are straightforward. The government and capital should be moved there - Alexander Alyoshin, 44, engineer

St Petersburg people are lovely, kind and helpful. It's brilliant. All the best rock musicians and modern artists are from St Petersburg - Valentina Frovola, 37, photographic technician

It is beautiful but too cold. The people are good but they think Muscovites are unsophisticated village idiots - Galina Kisayeva, 22, musical assistant for kindergarten

The town has become dirty and neglected. Its attraction is superficial, old-fashioned and pretentious, but it is very safe - Eleonora Koposova, 19, dancer


Moscow is a sewer, full of rats, in the shape of businessmen and politicians - Andrei Borodulin, 30, artist

It's strange that the world and Muscovites think Moscow represents Russia when nowhere in Russia is so evil as Moscow - Gennady Khalednikov, 62, pensioner, former Army officer

Moscow is far from the sea, far from other major cities, from civilisation, culture, restraint. It's on its own - a bad place for a government - Vasely Kovalyov, 20, student

Moscow is a big railway station, nothing more, no soul - Tatyana Avrenskaya, 39, banker

Moscow is exciting, you get people of all kinds, good and bad. It's too dangerous to live there - Vadim Petrov, 21, soldier