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Vyborg Restoration: How Russia’s Most Scandinavian Town Is Coming Back to Life

The once decaying town of Vyborg near the Finnish border is undergoing a $26.5 million BRICS bank-supported restoration.

The town of Vyborg in northwestern Russia boasts a historic heritage unlike any other in the country.

Lying just 40 kilometers south of Russia’s border with Finland, it is full of medieval, Art Nouveau and constructivist architecture that reflects the towns' many owners—the Swedes, Russians, Finns and Soviets.

In recent years however, the town was on the verge of oblivion, as dozens of abandoned historic buildings crumbled from neglect and a lack of funds for restoration. Many held it as an example of the failure of Russia’s preservation policy.

Now, however, Vyborg is finally being brought back to life thanks to a 1.8 billion ruble ($26.5 million) government-led restoration project supported by the BRICS-established New Development Bank.

Much of the work has already been completed. We visited Vyborg to check on the progress.