How come the Soviet Union/Greater Russia didn't have any giant metropolitan areas on the Black and/or Caspian Seas?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
Russia came into secure possession of the Black Sea regions relatively late and the bulk of the population was long concentrated along the central rivers and lakes. There are some decent places right on the Black Sea coast and there are 3-4 large cities there which I would be surprised not to see those southern cities growing relatively faster than the rest of Russia aside from the main economic centres over the next 50 years.
Please keep in mind that I was talking about Greater Russia here. So, obviously Ukraine and Georgia and their Black Sea coastline would likewise be included in this discussion. Ditto for the Caspian coastline in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,422
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
Odessa and Rostov were about a half million population in the 30's.
At that time Baltimore and Boston were in the 700,000s.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
Odessa and Rostov were about a half million population in the 30's.
At that time Baltimore and Boston were in the 700,000s.
According to the information here, in 1950, the Boston metropolitan area had 2.6 million people and the Baltimore metropolitan area had 1.2 million people:


During this time, both Rostov and Odessa were still at 0.5 million. So, I'm unsure about the 1930s, but in the 1950s, if one includes metropolitan areas (as I did in my OP here), Baltimore and especially Boston strongly outshone both Rostov and Odessa--and it's worth noting that Baltimore and Boston are certainly not the largest coastline US cities by any means.
 

Lord Fairfax

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Jan 2015
3,422
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
According to the information here, in 1950, the Boston metropolitan area had 2.6 million people and the Baltimore metropolitan area had 1.2 million people:


During this time, both Rostov and Odessa were still at 0.5 million. So, I'm unsure about the 1930s, but in the 1950s, if one includes metropolitan areas (as I did in my OP here), Baltimore and especially Boston strongly outshone both Rostov and Odessa--and it's worth noting that Baltimore and Boston are certainly not the largest coastline US cities by any means.
Obviously comparing metro areas, you'd need to compare it to Rostov/Odessa Oblasts, not just city proper
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
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Obviously comparing metro areas, you'd need to compare it to Rostov/Odessa Oblasts, not just city proper
Rostov Oblast is about the size of Tennessee, though. Meanwhile, Odessa Oblast is slightly larger than Maryland. My point here is that not all of the territory of these two oblasts actually consists of suburbs.
 

holoow

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,850
Vilnius, Lithuania
By the Russian standards, Rostov on Don and Astrakhan ( referred as Caspian capital ) are big cities. If I'm not mistaken, Astrakhan played a prominent role in Russian history.
 
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Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,708
Please keep in mind that I was talking about Greater Russia here. So, obviously Ukraine and Georgia and their Black Sea coastline would likewise be included in this discussion. Ditto for the Caspian coastline in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.
The main advantages of coastal cities are access to fresh water (usually via basin drainage into the sea) and trade efficiencies by proximity to the cheapest shipping trade routes. Where there is good fresh water (Rostov, Astrakhan, Odessa) there are large cities. The geography of the steppes around Black Sea and Caspian is quite different from most other coastal regions near seas as the water basins are lower drainage without mountain catchments and the sea trade routes are limited.

Georgia is a bit different and I would never include Georgia in 'Greater Russia' but there have been quite a few large cities in Georgia thru history- the main problem is the overall population of Georgia is less than 4 million. To have a 'large' city as you seem to mean would require more than half the population to be in a single city despite the size of Georgia and historic partitions spreading out the population quite a bit more. The geographical infrastructure (fresh water access, trade access) is probably conducive to supporting larger urban areas than Georgia currently has with Tiblisi the current largest city near the centre of several drainage basins while Batumi or Poti on the coast or Yerevan to the south have probably the best physical geography for supporting larger populations- just where are those people going to come from and why move there at this point in history?
 
Last edited:
Apr 2014
146
New York, U.S.
How come the Soviet Union/Greater Russia didn't have any giant metropolitan areas on the Black and/or Caspian Seas? Here in the US, we have a giant metropolitan area (New York City) on the Atlantic Ocean as well as another one further south (Miami) on the same ocean and also have a giant metropolitan area (Chicago) on the Great Lakes as well as another giant one (Houston) near the Gulf of Mexico and two additional giant ones (Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area) on the Pacific Ocean. In contrast, the Soviet Union/Greater Russia didn't really have any giant metropolitan areas on the Black and Caspian Seas? The closest thing to this that they had on the Caspian Sea was Baku and even then Baku's metropolitan area pales in comparison to New York, Chicago, Houston, or Los Angeles and they didn't have any large metropolitan areas on the Black Sea at all. In Tsarist times, Odessa was relatively large for the time, but it was only 17th in population among all Soviet cities in 1989. Even so, Odessa and Roston-on-Don--both with populations slightly over one million both in 1989 and today--were the largest cities in the Soviet Union/Greater Russia that were located either on or near the Black Sea.

Anyway, why doesn't the Soviet Union/Greater Russia have any giant metropolitan areas on the Black and/or Caspian Seas? Any thoughts on this? I mean, it's got giant Moscow in the center of European Russia and it's got large St. Petersburg on the Baltic Sea, but nothing at all comparable to this on the Black Sea.
If you look at the development of many large cities in western Europe and in southern Europe along with the cities all along the east coast of the United States you can see that all of these cities were centers of trade.
Since Russia and the Soviet union did not control the Straits of Bosporus and Dardanelles they could never engage in large scale trade through the Black Sea.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
If you look at the development of many large cities in western Europe and in southern Europe along with the cities all along the east coast of the United States you can see that all of these cities were centers of trade.
Since Russia and the Soviet union did not control the Straits of Bosporus and Dardanelles they could never engage in large scale trade through the Black Sea.
Technically speaking, though, Russia never controlled the straits of the Baltic Sea either. Rather, Denmark and Sweden controlled them.