A look at Yekaterinburg, the Russian city where US reporter has gone on trial

Facts about Yekaterinburg, the industrial city in Russia’s Ural Mountains where U.S. reporter Evan Gershkovich went on trial Wednesday on espionage charges that his employer denounced as a sham:

Location and population

Yekaterinburg is 880 miles (1,416 kilometers) east of Moscow, roughly the distance from London to Rome, or from New York to Missouri. The capital of the Sverdlovsk region, it has a population of about 1.5 million and is Russia’s fourth-largest city.

History and culture

Yekaterinburg is less than 300 years old and was a springboard for the Russian Empire’s colonization of Central Asia.

After the Russian Revolution ousted the monarchy, Czar Nicholas II and his family were exiled to Yekaterinburg by their Soviet captors and imprisoned in a merchant’s house. They later were killed by a firing squad in July 1918 in the basement of the house.

In 1924, the city was renamed Sverdlovsk in honor of Bolshevik leader Yakov M. Sverdlov, but reverted to its original name of Yekaterinburg in 1991.

Boris Yeltsin, who became the first president of Russia as the Soviet Union was collapsing, was Communist Party leader in Sverdlovsk. That gave the region a reformist reputation. During his tenure, he ordered the destruction of the house where the Romanov family was killed.

In 2018, the city hosted four matches of the World Cup. It was one of the first Russian cities to to embrace the craft beer craze.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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