top of page

15-minute cities are being built in Russia

Dobrograd, a new city in the Vladimir region of Russia, is being built according to the concept of a slow city, where everything necessary for a person is within a 15-minute walking distance.  Judging by the information on the website, construction has been underway for a year, Redko Da Metko wrote.

Dobrograd is not the only one. On Sberbank’s website, you can find a detailed presentation of another “smart city,” and the title of the article hints at the same 15-minute city model from the World Economic Forum.

In August 2021, the 15-minute triangle project of the Moscow city plan came in the top 30 of the 15-minute city international ‘Urban Design Competition’. The size of the “15-minute area” is 3 by 3 kilometres.

The Moscow city plan is a triangular modulus city in the form of a polycentric urban planning system. The main transport networks are located underground, above ground there are only bicycle and pedestrian routes, and the buildings are raised on supports. Much attention is paid to energy efficiency: it is planned to use renewable energy sources (solar, water, wind).

With his usual sarcasm and humour, Edward Slavsquat provides further details on SberCity located in a quiet Moscow suburb that “will one day be home to more than 65,000 lucky residents.”

His article highlights Herman Gref a former Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation, and current CEO and chairman of the executive board of Sberbank, the Russian majority state-owned bank.

Unfortunately, the video embedded in Slavsquat’s article is in Russian without the option to show English subtitles. So, we have embedded the video and then added a transcript below it, translated from Russian to English using Google Translate.

Close your eyes and imagine that you’re Herman Gref.

Suddenly, as if by magic, you’ve become very fancy: you’re the CEO of Russia’s largest bank, a former member of the World Economic Forum’s Board of Trustees, and the author of the preface to the Russian-language edition of Klaus Schwab’s The Fourth Industrial Revolution. You co-starred with Tony Blair at Cyber Polygon 2020 and were involved in the work to create” Sputnik V. You were also one of the first people in the entire world to be injected with Russia’s safe and effective genetic slurry—months before it was approved by the Russian Health Ministry—or so you claim.

You’ve developed “a whole universe of services for human life”, like cattle-tag systems for schoolchildren and surveillance cameras that can face-recognize muzzled wage slaves and even stray dogs.

Your bank reported record profits in 2023 and you were ranked last year’s most prominent business leader in Russian media.

You’re a true visionary and important people like your ideas. You meet periodically with Vladimir Putin to talk about how every aspect of existence will be transformed by SberAI.

There’s nothing left for you to do. You did it all. You did all the terrible things.


“A perfect city” designed for “conscious consumption, saving resources and environmental friendliness”.


Sorry for yelling.

Located in a quiet Moscow suburb, SberCity will one day be home to more than 65,000 lucky residents. The “smart city” was initially reserved for Sber employees but now anyone insane enough to want to live in Herman Gref’s ant farm is welcome to do so.

Maybe you are interested? Just hear Gref out. Give him a chance.

Source: YouTube

Bedecked in his most dazzling denim jacket and matching jeans, Herman Gref invites you to look at a door. Not just any ordinary door, but a symbol of something new; behind this door is something special—the future that Herman Gref invites you to live in. He’s talking about SberCity, in case you’re not following.

If you hate yourself, you can watch the full 30-minute pitch (English subtitles not available).

As a public service, your correspondent created a one-minute summary of Gref’s Door to the Future:

Edward Slavsquat: SberCity | Friendly banker Herman Gref opens the door to the future! 31 January 2024 (1 min)

Transcript (Russian to English using Google Translate)Good afternoon, dear friends, that you see an ordinary door. And if I tell you that this is not just a door, but a symbol of something new, behind this door there is something special, this is the future, where I will take you today.[music]We made this product together with the company SberDevices and are very proud of it.

Sometimes there’s a man… I won’t say a hero, because what’s a hero? But sometimes, there’s a man, and well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s Herman Gref, in SberCity.

For those who are interested in learning more about this exciting real estate opportunity, the always excellent Anna Rudneva has an article about Gref’s Moscow Region Utopia and other friendly urban development projects in Russia, including Dobrograd, a self-described “15-minute city”:

Dobrograd … that translates to “Goodburg”? Let’s go with Goodburg.

About the Author

Edward Slavsquat is a moniker sometimes used by Riley Waggaman, an American writer and journalist who has lived in Russia for close to a decade.

He has contributed to many websites, including Anti-Empire, Russian Faith, Brownstone InstituteUnlimited Hangout, and Geopolitics & Empire. He worked for Press TV, Russia Insider, and RT before going solo.

He publishes articles on a Substack page titled ‘Edward Slavsquat’ which you can subscribe to and follow HERE, and you can follow him on Twitter HERE.


bottom of page