Lipetsk is away from my haunts but I'm listing it here because of the steel factory that is prominent on the international scene, my personal familiarity with the region, and presence of a true and tested contact there.
Lipetsk is 250 miles south-east from Moscow along the Kashirskoye(?) highway. Six hours on the train from Paveletskaya station in Moscow. Population ~500 thousand. An industrial center while the province itself is largely agricultural with a factory here and there. Lipetsk can be of interest for serious businessmen who don't mind the bad smell of local business, for those in the pursuit of the essence of the country, and for "Russian bride" seekers.
Lipetsk is an old settlement. During its early history it was regularly burned by feuding Russian princes. Then there was a succession of various mongols, tamerlans, atillas and other ugly types and characters on their way to Europe from hell knows were. Learned helplessness, already typical of Russians, defines the region. As a city Lipetsk developed around a gun factory established in early 1700s, when one of Putin's predecessors was modernizing the army. Recently it became famous for property wars around the steel industry. In about 1995-1996 I translated some of the court documents and press releases. Although the stories were ugly, the level of cunning and craftiness my compatriots are capable of is admirable. All this makes Lipetsk "typical" to be visited and studied and understood if you are after the quintessence of the Russia phenomenon.
My contact in Lipetsk is the famous Alla. She is originally from Lipetsk and still spends half of her time there. A lawyer with specialization in the environmental law. Passable English. Active and energetic. Unusually reliable and responsible.
Contact Alla if you need a room in Lipetsk. She will recommend something or even offer you a room in her huge, by local standards, apartment. The building was constructed for party bosses at the very end of the Stalin era, around 1953-1954.
Alla's apartment where you may be able to get a room if you find the right approach to her is behind the city hall. The latter is in the center of this photo. [ASK ALLA TO CHECK]
She responds e-mails fast and as to the point as we unfocussed Russkies are capable of. Highly atypical for the country and for Lipetsk especially
Talk to Alla if you are into Russian brides. Her friend runs a clinic there, and most of this clinic's patients are women ~30-35. On my request they've compiled a current list of who is available and is open to an idea of marrying a foreigner.
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