Petrozavodsk (Information)

Petrozavodsk is the capital of the Republic of Karelia – one of 5 regions of Russia where the Russian Federation borders with the European Union. It is a large administrative, industrial and cultural center of the North-West of Russia.

Petrozavodsk is located further north than most capitals of European countries (the Republic of Karelia according to its climatic conditions is equated to the territories of the Far North).

The Karelian capital is located on the shores of the Onega Lake – the 2nd largest lake in Europe. The city covers an area of 135 sq. km. The channel system connects Petrozavodsk to the Baltic, White, Barents, Caspian and Black Seas.

The distance between Petrozavodsk and Moscow – 1091 km, St. Petersburg – 412 km and the Russian-Finnish border (on the international highway “Blue Road”) – 311 km. The capital of Karelia is connected to the Russian regions by road, rail, air and water. The highway Murmansk – St. Petersburg – Moscow passes through the city.

The population of Petrozavodsk

The population of Petrozavodsk as of 01.01.2019 was 280 170 people. It accounts for 45.33% of the whole population of Karelia. The ethnic structure is about 86% – Russians; about 4% – Karelians. There are Belarusians, Finns, Ukrainians, Vepsian and other nationalities.  

The population of Petrozavodsk is 61% of working age, 18.3% younger than working age, 23% older than working age. The median age of the population of Petrozavodsk is 36 years for men and 40 years for women.

Unique characteristics of the city:

- one of the 12 cities of the European part of Russia where the scientific centers of the Russian Academy of Sciences are located

- one of the 48 university cities of Russia

- a city with a high proportion (32%) of innovative institutions of secondary education

- one of 16 Russian cities with a conservatory and a full cycle of music education

- one of the most “theater” cities of Russia (there are 5 professional theaters)

- a city with lively national cultural traditions of indigenous peoples – Karelians, Vepsians and Finns

- a city with one of the highest levels of information technology development in Russia.

Historical background

The founding of Petrozavodsk at the beginning of the XVIII century is associated with the name of Emperor Peter the Great. In 1703, in the birth year of St. Petersburg, on the shore of Lake Onega, in the Lososinka River mouth, the Petrovsky Iron and Cannon Plant was founded. The main purpose of the plant was to process the surrounding lake and marsh ores and manufacture cannons, handguns and edged weapon, necessary for Russia in the Northern War with Sweden.

Owning to the industrial boom and population growth, the Petrovskaya Sloboda, by decree of Catherine II, on March 21, 1777, was transformed into the City of Petrozavodsk. In 1781 Petrozavodsk became the center of the Olonets province, and in 1784 - the Olonets Governorate. With the establishment of the separate Olonets Diocese in 1828, the city also became an important regional center for church administration. And, nevertheless, throughout the 19th century, Petrozavodsk is a small provincial town.

After the years of intervention and the Civil War, in 1920 Petrozavodsk became the capital of the Karelian Labor Commune, which in 1923 was transformed into the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (KASSR).

Since 1920 to 1935 it was the so-called “Finnish” period in the history of Karelia, when Finns by nationality dominated the leadership. This is a time of active growth of the region and the development of industry and culture.

The Great Patriotic War was hard times to the city. From October 1941 to June 1944, Petrozavodsk was occupied by Finnish troops and almost completely destroyed.

The 50-80-ies of the ХХ century were the years of active industrial and residential construction. At this particular time the modern look of the city was formed: new residential areas, administrative buildings, industrial enterprises appeared.

Petrozavodsk – international city

Currently Petrozavodsk has sister-cities and cooperation agreements with 12 cities of Europe, Asia and North America:

Varkaus (Finland) – in 2020 – 55 years of sister-cities relations

Joensuu (Finland) – in 2019 – 25 years of sister-cities relations

La Rochelle (France) – in 2018 – 45 years of friendship

Umeå (Sweden) – in 2016 – 40 years of friendship

Neubrandenburg (Germany) in 2018 – 35 years after signing the agreement

Tübingen (Germany) – in 2019 – 30 years of sister-cities relations

Mo i Rana (Norway) – in 2017 – 25 years of friendship

Duluth (the USA) – in 2017 – 30 years of friendship

Brest (Belarus) – in 2017 – 15 years of sister-cities relations

Ejmiatsin (Armenia) – in 2019 – 15 years of friendship

Alytus (Lithuania) – in 2017 – 10 years of friendship

Narva (Estonia) – in 2020 – 15 years of sister-cities relations

Within the framework of these agreements, information is regularly exchanged and projects are implemented in various fields of activity. Over the past years, many residents of Petrozavodsk visited sister-cities and partner-cities. The strong ties between citizens and various organizations, societies, and enterprises have established.

A special area of focus is project management. Within the framework of international programs different projects are being implemented aimed at the development of various spheres of city activity. The projects cover such areas as strategic planning, support for SMEs, marketing, architecture and urban planning, tourism, housing and public utilities, ecology, education, culture, etc. In 2018, the projects of the new round of the Karelia Cross Border Cooperation Program began.

About 40-50 international conferences, seminars, festivals and other events take place in Petrozavodsk every year.

Petrozavodsk development strategy

The social-economic development strategy of Petrozavodsk till 2025 was approved by the Petrozavodsk City Council on February 28, 2015:

For the further development of the city, six inter-sectoral projects have been identified:

- Development of industrial cluster (including: wood processing, development of the food industry),

- Creation and development of water cluster,

- Creation of education, research and innovation cluster,

- Formation of Petrozavodsk agglomeration as a tool for the development of spatial potential,

- Petrozavodsk – a model territory for the civil society development and realisation of non-governmental initiatives,

- Petrozavodsk: cultural dimension.


Petrozavodsk has a rather developed, diversified structure of the economy: electric power industry, metal-fabricating industries, ship building, timber and woodworking, food, light and printing industry, construction materials producing industry, stone processing, transport, communications, trade and public catering, services, tourism, etc.

Major projects in recent years:

Since 2010, the “Petrozavodskmash” plant has been a part of the machine-building division of the “Rosatom” “Atomenergomash” group of companies. This is one of the leading Russian industries in the field of nuclear engineering. Here equipment is created for NPP reactor installations, as well as products for the thermal power industry and the oil and gas industry. In 2014, the plant mastered the serial production of pipeline valves for nuclear power plants.

“Zeppelin Russland” LLC launched a plant for the unit repair of quarry equipment.

The reconstruction is undergoing of the plant of panel housing and precast concrete units which is part of “KSM” and “KSK” companies.

Woodworking integrated plant “Kalevala” is one of the largest producers of oriented strand board in Russia. Thanks to modern high-tech equipment, the company produces boards that meet European standards, including on environmental safety. Production volumes reach 300 thousand cubic meters of OSB per year; the products are sold not only in Karelia, but also abroad. The opening of the new plant gave the city about 300 jobs.

Innovative productions are also developing. Engineering center of Fire Robots technology “FR” established as a leading choice in Russia and the CIS in the design and manufacture of fire robots. Hundreds of objects are protected by fire robots “FR”, customers of the plant are about 500 enterprises of various fields of activity.

In 2015 the LLC “Onego Shipyard” began to work.

In continuation of the shipbuilding traditions, the center for the production of flarecraft “Orion” was created in Petrozavodsk. These unique devices are able to soar above the water and float on, carrying cargo, passengers, patrolling water borders and helping in the elimination of emergencies.

The city is actively building with shopping and entertainment malls, tourism infrastructure and the service sector are developing. The mall “Maxi” was opened in 2012 and the mall “Lotos Plaza” in 2014.

In 2017 the repair of the road bridge connecting the Drevlyanka residential district with the city center was completed.

In Petrozavodsk, there has been a marked increase in investment in the tourism sector. Today, the city has more than 60 hotels and hostels.

In addition to large-scale business projects, the City Administration is working on enhancing the small businesses by providing financial support in the form of grants and subsidies.

More than 50% of all small enterprises and individual entrepreneurs of Karelia are concentrated in Petrozavodsk. Small businesses cover almost all sectors of the economy: 60% of retail turnover, as well as 30% of the city budget comes from revenues from SMEs. There are 15 464 SMEs registered in the city, 6 646 of them are individual entrepreneurs.

Enterprises and organizations of Petrozavodsk:

29.9% – wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles;

11.3% – construction;

7.4% – real estate operations;

9.6% – transport and warehousing;

2.6% – hotels and restaurants;

7.9% – manufacturing;

3% – telecommunications and IT;

4.1% – health care and culture;

24.2% – other activities.

City planning Policy

In 2008 the city adopted the Petrozavodsk City Master Plan. The master plan of the city determines the growth of the territories required for the placement of industrial facilities by 14% (from 1 300 hectares in 2005 to 1 482 hectares by 2025).

At the same time, the main increase in production areas is due to the organization of new industrial production within the Southern and Northern industrial zones. To solve this problem, documentation is being developed and a project is being implemented to form set investment sites with a total area of 40 hectares.

Housing is actively building in the city. In 2017, the building owners of Karelia took into use about 150 000 sq. m. of housing. Petrozavodsk has the largest share of housing commissioned in the Republic of Karelia. New residential districts Drevlyanka-8, Drevlyanka-9, Drevlyanka-5 are distinguished by their architectural diversity.

Since 2009 the project “Petrovskaya Sloboda” of the company Okhta-group has been implemented. It will change the appearance of the central part of the city by the reconstruction of the former 1st platform of the Onezhsky tractor plant in the floodplain of the Lososinka River. Instead of the industrial zone a modern residential area and public buildings will appear.


In the surrounding of Petrozavodsk famous historical and cultural monuments, natural objects are situated:

- Kizhi island is the Reserve Museum of traditional wooden architecture, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is one of the biggest open-air museums in Russia.  The museum is a unique historical, cultural and natural complex, which is included in the State Register of the Special Value Cultural Heritage of the Peoples of Russia;

- the first Russian resort “Marcial Waters”, opened on the orders of Peter the Great;

- Kivach waterfall situated in the “Kivach” strict nature reserve;

- and others.

In the Besov Nos cape on the eastern shore of Lake Onega there are unique rock art – petroglyphs, which are included in the number of 100 monuments of world significance (“Besovye Sledky”).

These monuments attract a significant number of tourists. In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the development of tourism in Petrozavodsk: new hotels, restaurants are being opened; new tourist routes are being developed.

In 2012-2014 the city has implemented several Finnish-Russian projects under the Cross-Border Cooperation Program aimed at the developing of tourism. Within the framework of the new program round, tourism projects are also being implemented.

Education and Science

The municipal education system is multifunctional networks of educational organizations that represent a wide range of educational services, taking into account the age and individual characteristics of the child.

Pre-school education in municipal organizations in Petrozavodsk is presented by 65 kindergartens and pre-school groups in a number of schools. The municipal general education system includes 38 general education institutions with: 3 gymnasiums, 6 lyceums, 2 basic schools, 6 secondary schools with in-depth study of certain subjects, 20 secondary schools, evening (shift) educational institution. The total number of students is 28 561 people.

There is also a network of institutions of additional education.

The city has 3 main institutions of higher education:

Petrozavodsk State University, Glazunov Petrozavodsk State Conservatory, Karelian branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, as well as a number of branches of commercial universities from other cities. There are about 25 thousand students in the city.

The Federal Research Center “Karelian Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences” – one of the largest research centers in the North-West of Russia, operates in Petrozavodsk; research institutes in the field of agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

Youth policy and sport

30% of the population of Petrozavodsk is young people. Therefore city authorities are trying to develop a system to work with young people based on the idea of youth participation. The Youth Center “Smena” is of special social importance. It has 11 thematic sites located in each district of the city. Each site has its own direction: creativity, healthy lifestyle, media and others.

Much attention is given to youth leisure and sports development. The city has 568 sports facilities (stadiums, swimming pools, shooting galleries, ski trails, sports halls, etc.). The first municipal swimming pool H2O and the first in Petrozavodsk sport center with artificial ice “Lumi” were launched in 2014. The multi-functional sports center “Coral” began its work in 2015. In 2016 a Gazprom Sports Center was opened in Klyuchevaya district. The construction of a modern artistic gymnastics center was completed in 2018. Work is underway on the arrangement and reconstruction of school sports grounds.


The city has a network of cultural institutions and additional education: 9 municipal institutions of culture (Children's art school, 3 music schools, City Exhibition Hall, City House of Culture, Art School, Central Library System, Dance Club “Rhythm”).

Culture institutions of the republican level also work in Petrozavodsk: 5 theaters (the Musical Theater of the Republic of Karelia, the National Theater of the Republic of Karelia, the Puppet Theater of the Republic of Karelia, the “Creative Workshop” Drama Theater and the private Ad Liberum theater); Karelian Symphony Orchestra and Onego Folk Instruments Orchestra; The Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karelia and the National Museum of the Republic of Karelia and other institutions. The collections of the Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karelia and the Kizhi Museum contain unique “Northern Letters” icons.

Every year the city hosts international festivals, days of cultures from different countries, which are very popular both among the citizens and among the guests of the Karelian capital. Petrozavodsk is one of the most festival cities of the North-West of Russia.

International Winter Festival “Hyperborea”

The International Winter festival “Hyperborea” is held annually in Petrozavodsk in February. The key idea of the festival is presenting of an attractive sides of life in the North, the development of cultural exchange between cities, where winter is the main season. The ancient Greeks considered Hyperborea a country of happy people who were patronized by the god Apollo, which made them especially talented. According to historians, the mysterious Northern civilization was located on the territory of Karelia and the Kola Peninsula.

For the first time a Contest of snow and ice sculptures was held in Petrozavodsk in 1998. In 2012, the International Winter Festival “Hyperborea” became the winner of the All-Russian competition of the best urban practices. The festival won the 1st place in the competition “Choice of the Year” in the framework of the VI All-Russian open event tourism fair “Russia Event Expo” in 2018.

No less popular is the City Day, which is celebrated in Petrozavodsk every year on the last Saturday of June. It begins with the laying of flowers at the Memorial sign of the Onega Flotilla, which liberated Petrozavodsk in 1944 and at the monument to the founder of the city, Peter I. On the City Day, traditionally, the insignia of the new Honorary Citizens of the city is awarded.

“The Onega Arbat” works on the embankment - the territory of free creativity of street musicians and artists of the original genre. “Illusions of the Old City” - a project of historical reconstruction of the Kizhi Museum returns citizens and guests to Petrozavodsk at the beginning of the XX century. On the City Day an exhibition-fair “City of Masters”, performances of the local, Russian and foreign teams at ten stages throughout Petrozavodsk are held. Fireworks over the Onega Lake usually end the holiday.

2019, February