The road to Klin is a petri dish of Russia’s rambunctious post-Soviet economy.
This is, after all, the vital Moscow-St. Petersburg artery. And development has been swift here. Ten years ago, the main signs of life were infrequent GAI (road police) outposts and the occasional, run-down filling station, inevitably closed for repairs. Today, every 10 miles there are gaudy minimarkets and sprawling oases for motorists—with shiny new gas stations and shashlik cafes. Faded wooden dachas still line the road, intermittent with goat-strewn fields of high green grass and yellow dandelions. Further from the road, red brick new money dacha developments rise high up out of the landscape, flaunting an architectural style that can only be called Early Lego Gothic.
Located just 89 km northwest of Moscow, Klin (pronounced “clean”; population 96,000) straddles this important highway, boasting an infrastructure a much larger town might envy, including six churches, competing Kodak and Fuji photo outlets, two hard currency exchange points, a supermarket, an oatmeal factory (producing the well-know Gerkules), a large bread factory, a prosperous meat processing plant (outputing the famous Doktorskaya sausage, among other products), and a local brewery—Klinsky, which brews a dozen brands, many popular in the capital. Last but not least, there is a McDonald’s here, conferring on the town a status even nearby Tver—an oblast capital of 457,000 souls—does not yet have.
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