Are Petersburg and Moscow so very different from other Russia?

Abraham from Chicago asked:
How do you feel like you relate to the rest of Russia, as a resident of St. Petersburg? Do you feel like the Russia of Petersburg and Moscow is very different from the rest of the enormous country, or do you see more similarities than differences, having traveled pretty far outside Russia?

And: I've never been to Russia, but I have been to Belarus (mostly Minsk and some time in Mogilev and the countryside). There, I met many people who thought of Belarus and Russia as essentially the same country, temporarily split apart. But how do you see Belarus?

Hello Abraham!

Once I’ve been steady Muscovite (I was born and raised in Moscow). I cherished the thought to be privileged to live in the best place. Everyone came to the capital for success, money, apartment, career — it happens in any country, I guess.
I felt I already have everything I needed.

Then I finished studying and moved to St. Pete. Now I love this city even more. It’s the second biggest city in Russia, ‘cultural capital’ (it was the capital earlier but then government moved to Moscow). This city is nothing like Moscow or other Russia. It feels like Europe here. I enjoy living in St. Pete.

And yes, the rest of the country is very different from both thesw cities I’ve lived in. I traveled around Russia and can tell for sure. More differences than similarities.
See also: Moscow is not equal to Russia post.

As for Belarus, I’d say it’s rather closed and well-controlled country. People are so similar to those who live here. But they live differently because of hard political and economical conditions. Even harder than here. The good thing for Russians is everyone will understand them in Belarus.

But these are two different countries anyway. For example, it’s hard to hire Belarus citizen in Russia officially. I don't feel myself home in Belarus.

This post is an answer to one of The Listserve replies I’ve got.
You can ask your question, too.

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