The city of St. Petersburg, Russia is known as Russia’s ‘window to Europe.’ It is located 400 miles northwest of Moscow and is the second largest city in Russia with a population of approximately 4,953,219. The area of the city of 550 square miles. It was founded by Tsar Peter I, also known as Peter the Great in 1703 and was the capital of the Russian Empire from 1712 – 1918. The city of St. Petersburg is overwhelmingly Russian due to the fact that Stalin ‘purged’ foreigners from the city and threw them in prison claiming they were enemies of Russia in the 1930s. Today, St. Petersburg is considered to be a city of republican subordination with its city council reporting directly to the national government.

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Moscow is the largest city in Russia with a total of approximately 11,979,529 people. It is the city that is considered to be ‘Russia’s heart.’ It is 414 square miles. In addition to being the political center of Russia it is the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church. Until the early 1990s, Moscow was the capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and considered to be the center of communist power. The city of Moscow is a very modern city due to the fact that it was occupied by the French in 1812 and destroyed by fire.

There are some distinctive differences between the city of St. Petersburg and the city of Moscow. Although more Modern, Moscow is considered to be a traditional Russian city unlike Str. Petersburg which is more westernized. Moscow symbolizes the current and recent political system of Russia with its well defined city center, the Kremlin, unlike St. Petersburg, one of the only major cities in Russia not to have a kremlin.

The cities of Richmond, Virginia, USA and Washington D.C. can be compared to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Richmond was the capital of the confederacy until it fell at the end of the civil war. It is still a city with a great deal of southern heritage today. Washington D.C., the capital of the US is much larger and more modern in nature and people’s perspectives about the two cities differ substantially because of their differing histories.  

  • Moscow. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from:
  • St. Petersburg. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved From: