Think when Lana del Ray was singing her now famous song Young and Beautiful she devoted it to Khanty-Mansiysk.
‘Just 15-20 years back most of the buildings here in Khanty-Mansiysk were wooden’ says the head of the development department of the museum of human and nature Lidia Prosyannik. ‘The pavements were wooden and the city looked like a village.’
Even though the city officially is 432 years old the status of the city it received only in 1950.
‘At the beginning on the 90th there was no place to get a higher education in Khanty-Mansiysk and most of people went to study to Yekaterinburg, Tomsk, Novosibirsk. Many went to St Petersburg, that’s why the most educated people here got education in St Petersburg.’
Nowadays Ugra State University
Saint Petersburg is called a downtown of Khanty-Mansiysk and locals joke that they have more people with classic education from St Petersburg universities then the northern capital of Russia.
At the same time the city itself, not just the people, made a great breakthrough in terms of architecture and city planning.
Some most modern building, museums culture centers and sport facilities appeared in Khanty-mansiysk during the past decade.
‘When some delegations were coming to Khanty-Mansiysk in the 90s they were amazed with the beauty of the nature and the serenity of the place and asked not to change anything here but the local administration set up the right goals: what serenity and beauty can you talk about if the people still use the wooden toilets outside of their houses’ shares Irina Molchanova, the head editor of the Yugra TV.
‘I studied in St Petersburg but decided to come back because you can grow and become successful here just like in any other big city.’
An ordinary school in Khanty-Mansiysk
An orphanage in Khanty-Mansiysk
The city sets up the level of the development for the whole region and even though there’s still much work but the progress is obvious. ‘When the people in the villages ask why does the internet trafic is so slow we see that we are moving in the right direction. It’s not the matter of having or not having internet in the region but of having a faster one’ says Irina Ponomaryova the press secretary of the head of Khanty-Mansiysk region.
Booming and blooming, young and beautiful Khanty-Mansiysk shows that smiling people and clean beautiful streets can be not only in the capitals and that 15 year does make a difference if you are willing to move only forward.