I’ve been born and grew up in the Chita region (now, the Zabaykalsky Krai, after it was merged with the Aginskiy district). I’ve graduated from the ZabGU (previously, ChitGU), lived here for a year and left. My memories of the city are very nice. There is absolutely no industry in the city, only trade and such.
When compared to my present place of living, flats and utilities cost twice as much, renting a flat costs about the same (thankfully, the realtors in Chita haven’t yet started charging half the rent, but are satisfied with charging 1.5-2 thousand rubles for their services, at least that’s how it was in 2015). The Chinese border is nearby. A city like any other. No KFC and McDonald’s but many Subways. Car jams are unheard of. You can get from anywhere in the city to anywhere else on time.
Foreigners from Western Europe, the USA, etc. are treated with curiosity. National minorities are treated like everywhere else in Russia. Buryats comprise the biggest national minority.
Mostly, the labor class. The intellectual community and interest-based groups aren’t well developed. Most of the youth is comprised of the riffraff coming to study here from the region.
Harsh continental climate, dry, hot summers, cold winters, great variations in temperature, little snow and rain, sands.
One state university (ZabGU). I’ve graduated from the energy faculty, IVTiPM – and had the best teachers one can dream of. The level of teaching at this university is good overall. There are also technical schools, colleges, etc. Most try to get accepted into the ZabGU or the Railways University, leaving ZIP as the last resort. Those, who didn’t study well, go to technical schools.
The quality and cost of healthcare is like everywhere else. However, there are no huge queues, due to the small population.
Russian is the main language. You might hear the Armenian and Buryat languages often. There are also the languages of the other national minorities.
The roads are fine, whatever somebody might say. Many taxi buses and trolleybuses servicing all directions regularly. It is way worse in Krasnodar, for example. The drivers are calmer, when compared to larger cities. Petrol is way too expensive, as everywhere.
The prices are twice those in Krasnodar. There are almost no local groceries, everything is imported. A single trip to a supermarket sets you back about a 1000 rubles. Most of the vegetables and fruits are from China.
The salaries are like everywhere else. Seems, that finding a job here is easier than in Krasnodar.
Renting a flat is trouble-free. The average price for a reasonably fine flat is 15+electricity. Realtors charge 1.5-2 thousand rubles for their services, and not half the rent amount. I have never encountered the requirement for advance payment for several months. Renting agreements are drawn up without hassle.
Don’t know how to put it. The riffraff, who relieve you of cell phones and money, are part of everyday life here, unless you can stand up to them. It is hard to say anything about more serious crimes, either the local mass media don’t cover them or there are really so few.
The same as everywhere, nothing extraordinary.
The internet is fine, but costs about 30-40% more, than in the western part of Russia.
No industry. The city lives off infrastructure, services, trade in ready items.