Solnechnogorsk (“Sun City”)

solnechnogorsk_obeliskA quiet place with a definite provincial feel. Or it was about 2008, when I stayed there for a couple of days. But even now I don’t recall hearing of any particularly nasty scandals involving Solnechnogorsk. OK, a few land speculation schemes made it to mass media but that happens everywhere, often in uglier forms. Solnechnogorsk is rarely mentioned in crime news. And I don’t pick up any particularly ugly “vibes” when driving through the place.

~40km km from the edge of Moscow. Right on the Moscow to St. Petersburg highway. Railroad station Podsolnechnaya.

Prefix “pod” means “under”, “sol” is “sun”, and the rest is suffixes and endings that you only need to know well enough to cut them off because suffixes indicate subtle shades of meaning and endings are there only for the reasons of grammar. But do yourself a favour – learn to identify prefixes and roots. Often they will be familiar to an educated speaker of English and other European languages. “Pod” should be familiar from “podzol”. “Pedal” is based on the same Indo-European root. “Pod-sol-nukh” is “under-sun-someone”, or “sunflower”. “-nechnaya” makes an adjective out of “podsolnukh”. Try breaking long Russian words into parts and thing will look much easier and more familiar. 

Population close to 60 th. Built in the late 40s as one of the centers of nuclear research and/or the army division that specializes in rockets. There’s got to be a name for it.

Attractions no doubt include WW2 stuff as the area is about where the civilizing mission of Germans was stopped because at the time they suffered mass insanity with all the usual consequences while their adversaries where willing to send millions of unarmed untrained pseudo-soldiers to the front.

The Germans would have done much better better had they hired me as as a consultant and facilitator before their invasion. Don’t be like them! If thinking of getting something out of Russia – whether you are an invader, a businessman, or a Russian bride seeker – get me to do a skeptical assessment of your plans.

Solnechnogorsk I think is associated with Alexander Block. The one who wrote in praise of the revolution (eg. see his Twelve) and then died of hunger in 1919. Don’t quote me on that but I think decadence era poets had a hangout somewhere in the back of the village of Posdolnechny as Solnechnogorsk was called back then.

More Russian lessons. “Gor” is the core of “gorod”, “city”, which is related to “guarded”. “-gorsk” is attached to the root to make a city name such as “Medvezhye-gorsk” or “Severo-gorsk”. “Medved” in turn consists of “med”, probably related to French “miel”, “honey”, and “ved”, “ved”, “someone who knows”, cf. Sanskrit “vedas”. If I only could get you travellers to look at Russian that way! A foreign language, true. Not an easy one. But not from another planet either.

Of famous people alive I can only think of Vasily Lozhkin, who lives escapist lifestyle that’s back in favour with intelligensia of the Putin-forever era, paints cats, ugly babushkas, and visions typical of delirium tremens although he himself has a reputation of a tea-teetotaler.


After one of my own escapist episodes Alexandra punished me by installing one of Vasily Lozhkin’s paintings onto my computer’s desktop. Being a techno-peasant I don’t know how to remove it. After a while I got used to and even liked it, looked up the artist, and instantly fell in love. On his site I was particularly touched by explicit lack of copyright and an invitation to use his art as one likes.

More Russian made Simple the Uncle Pasha Pasha Way. Remember “sol” is “sun” (solar), “-nechn” is a suffix or suffixes that you don’t need to know but only identify as NOT a critical part of a word, “gor” is a cognate, if that’s the right word, of “guarded” and means “city”, and “sk” again is a suffix to make all that stuff into a city name. As long as you recognize “sol” and “gor” and cut out the rest you will know that it is “Sun City”.

Where to stay – The only hotel I’m able to locate there is Elis, tel. +7(4962) 64-9580, at 84 Ulitsa Krasnaya.  But in these cities lots of accommodation options are undocumented. If you need to stay there just ask and I’m sure there will be several “obshezhitiye” or “dom otdykha” type places happy to offer you shelter.

Of Solnechnogorsk industry I only have a file on their parachute factory, and this establishment came to my attention in around 1998 because back then it made large tents and yurts. Let me see.. Here is their site and no, the only non-parachute thing is rope ladders.