The first impression is the strongest and coming to Khanty-Mansiysk last night I had a really bad impression mostly because of the lack of decent accommodation in the city.
In Surgut I was told quite a couple of times that Surgut and Khanty-Mansiysk are like Moscow and St-Petersburg in the north. Even though I can agree with the comparison between Moscow and Surgut, Khanty-Mansiysk still looks more like a village rather then a cultural capital.
Khanty-Mansiysk, the administrative center of the Khanty-Mansi autonomous okrug, is an oil boom town where old wooden buildings without water or heating stand next to newly built town houses and administrative offices.
I love this countryside in the middle of the vibrant civilization the only problem is that I still havent found the civilization in Khanty-Mansiysk.
Walking for two blocks I finally found a tiny little store where a lonely khanty man was buying a can of Baltika 9 (the strongest russian beer). The bar ‘Heaven’ sitting on the other side of the road looked like it dates back to the soviet times. The clothes hanging outside, the piles of wood for the stoves and a smoke coming out of the chimneys – this is my Khanty-Mansiysk for now.