The cities with the highest quality of life in ecological terms are Khasavyurt, Kaspiisk, Derbent, Yessentuki, Kislovodsk, Pushkino, Odintsovo and Krasnogorsk, according to the Russian Union of Engineers.
The group evaluated 164 cities across the country with a population of 100,000 or more.
Norilsk, Cherepovets, Novokuznetsk and Lipetsk are barely habitable because of their harsh climates and poor ecological situation.
The group's methodology considered negative human influence on ecology — in other words, emissions — average temperatures and natural factors such as the threat of earthquakes, flooding and forest fires.
The worst rating was given to the metallurgical mecca of Norilsk, home to 176,000 people according to the 2010 census.
It has the highest volume of atmospheric pollution of any city. According to the latest information from the State Statistics Service, 1.96 million tons of harmful emissions was put into the atmosphere there in 2011, slightly more than in 2010.
The city with the most favorable living conditions is Khasavyurt, in Dagestan. Although its 134,000 residents live in a zone of seismic activity, the average temperature there is 12 degrees Celsius, and the annual volume of harmful emissions is not more than 100 tons.
Other organizations conduct similar rankings. A study by the Urbanika Institute titled "Development of Urban Environmental and Ecological Policy" looked at more than 30 major cities in Russia.
According to its findings, the most polluted cities were Novokuznetsk, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Yekaterinburg, Moscow, Barnaul, Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd. Only Yaroslavl was well-rated for having a low level of pollution.
The nonprofit organization Green Patrol does regional environmental ratings. The 10 least polluted regions in 2012 according to the group are Tambov, Chukotka, Altai, Belgorod, Kursk, Ulyanovosk, the Altai republic, Chuvashia, Tomsk and Murmansk.
The most polluted regions are Khanty-Mansiisk, Krasnogorsk, Kalmykia, North Ossetia, Leningrad, Tula, Moscow, Sverdlovsk, Orenburg and Chelyabinsk.