«What state is Novosibirsk in?» — it’s a question I ask often to Siberians and students here. Replies usually come in two forms — «We are in Novosibirsk» or «I don’t know, don’t bother me with geography». It’s a simple question, one any American or Australian can answer, since we are generally more loyal to our states and cities before our nations. Not far from the old NKVD building in the city center lies a building of old Soviet design — I don’t know what this building actually is. But outside of it is a curious piece of art — a geographic map of Eastern Russia past the Ural mountains with what seems like an emblem of every state within this massive area of land.
I recognise the emblems of Novosibirsk and Tatarstan — The Novosibirsk one has the river Ob and a golden bridge over it, two minx like creatures adorning its sides. The Tatarstan one has a snow leopard at the center and a green circle on the other edges of the emblem, signifying its Islamic heritage. Yes, muslims DO love green. So do I. I think I saw the emblem of Yakutia too — it’s the one with a white moon within a light blue background.
So I do a little research — the most similar thing to a «state» comes in a variety of names — Oblast, krai or republic. It’s rather confusing, because to us, the term «republic» is the form of a government of a single nation, not a designation for what is essentially, a state like Tatarstan or Yakutia.
What are the difference between suburb, town, city, state and territory in Australia? I think it’s important to discuss what the differences are because frankly, it’s something many Russians have asked me.
A suburb is essentially — a neighbourhood. Don’t mistake them for a small block or two though — they can be massive in land size — one could be as big as the left side of the River Ob.
A collection of suburbs creates what is essentially — a city. The city of Sydney is comprised of 658 suburbs — all totalling to around 12,000 sq. km. As a reference, Moskva is around 2500 sq. km.
A town is a general term for a human settlement — when a town is big — it’s called a city. One might say a city is a collection of towns alternatively called suburbs. But these days, towns are usually used to describe human settlements outside of capital cities like Sydney and Melbourne. When towns and cities combine within a large area of land, it is called a state, which is governed by both federal and state governments. In Australia — there are six.
What is a territory, you ask? Basically, in Australia — a territory is a state which hasn’t earned the right to be called a state due to its low population. Perhaps the Taiga of Russia maybe described as an equivalent — big land, very low population. There are two of these within Australia. When states and territories combine it is finally called: A nation — in Australia’s case a republic — a system of government in which the leaders are elected.
So next time I see you, please clear answers for me: What state is Novosibirsk in? What suburb is Lenin square within?