Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Dozen Qualities Set Peterburgers Apart

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 31 – Residents of Russia’s Northern Capital have always viewed themselves and been viewed by others as different from Muscovites or from the residents of other cities in Russia or abroad with the former taking pride in this and the latter viewing their distinctiveness as a threat.

            In advance of the Petersburg Economic Forum, journalist and guide Tatyana Mey attempted to codify 12 distinctive features of the Petersburger.  Her observations, originally distributed to participants in that forum have since been published in Moscow’s Gazeta newspaper (

                Anyone from Petersburg or “Peter” as the city is known is “a strange being,” she says. Although the city was founded by a Muscovite, “the cultural virus of Petersburg is unique, infectious and absolutely incurable. Anyone who has lived here even a couple of years never will be the same regardless of whether he’s a Muscovite, a New Yorker or even a Parisian.”

                And May lists 12 special characteristics of the city’s typical resident:

1.       Insular

2.       Committed to enlightening others

3.       A Local Patriot

4.       A European by identity

5.       Given to lingering over coffee

6.       A Procrastinator

7.       A Conservative about the city’s past

8.       Still living with the shadow of the blockade

9.       Used to living with rain

10.   A Bibliophile

11.   A grammar Nazi in defense of language

12.   And a snob.

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