The 21st season of the show devotes two episodes to Russia, sending Brian, Stewie and Meg to Chelyabinsk. The reason for their trip is that someone steals Brian’s social media account. Meg soon discovers that a hacker from Chelyabinsk is behind it. Stewie, on the other hand, is just happy that he gets a chance to see the famous Kuznetsov Tea Factory and the city as a whole, which he claims is considered the "Chicago of the Urals."
According to the creators, Chelyabinsk resembles a semi-abandoned village, surrounded by radiation, with everyone drinking cheap vodka and looking like thugs, wearing the famous "gangster bangs" and reading the newspaper 'Russia Yesterday'. Everything around looks gloomy and depressing.
In Russia, the episode "From Russia with Love" has already been seen by both the State Duma and Chelyabinsk itself.
"I understand that an artist has the right to demonstrate their vision, but this is a deliberately offensive artistic image that has nothing to do with reality," said State Duma deputy Yana Lantratova.
The city administration of Chelyabinsk also said that "the fiction of American cartoonists does not reflect reality". Meanwhile, the comments of Chelyabinsk residents on Twitter appeared to be filled with self-irony.
"BS. It is not possible to wire cable everywhere there, sometimes not even within city limits." – @AppleUndead
"Churches are few…" – @UNKVD1917
"They created a f****** chic vibe with the carpet and the red Adidas tracksuit" – @mishendz
"In Chelyabinsk, you couldn't have sandwiches with two slices of bread. And in a paper bag no less" – @jk_Itf
"All is true except the cable. They’ll cut it for scrap metal straight away.” – @PlohoiTovarisch
"Not Chicago, but Detroit" – @fotoalexey
So, what is life in Chelyabinsk like in reality? And what is the city famous for?
Chelyabinsk is an industrial city located on the Miass River in the southeastern part of the Ural Mountains, 1,785 km from Moscow. There are 1.2 million people living there, which makes it the seventh largest city in Russia.
The concentration of metallurgical and machine-building plants in this city is so high that locals have nicknamed it the "toughest" city in Russia. Copper, zinc and nickel are the main nonferrous metals processed there. Due to its industrial activity, Chelyabinsk regularly ends up on lists of cities with the worst environmental conditions.
What makes the city even tougher is the fact that in 2013 its relative obscurity was disrupted by a meteorite encounter. The space rock fell on Chelyabinsk, shattering numerous windows and injuring more than 1,000 people (fortunately, there were no fatalities). The Chelyabinsk meteorite became the largest known celestial body to fall on Earth since the Tunguska meteorite of 1908. It originally weighed about 13 tons, but only 0.05 percent of its mass reached Earth. Hundreds of small and large meteorite fragments were scattered around the city, becoming a much sought-after commodity (More on that here). The largest of the found fragments is currently on display at the State Historic Museum of the Southern Urals in Chelyabinsk.
Here is an interesting fact: the animal depicted on the city’s coat of arms is a camel. This is a reminder that Chelyabinsk was founded in 1736 as a fortress, and originally was the Urals’ largest trade hub. Only during the Soviet times did it turn into an industrial giant, with many defense plants having been transferred there (incidentally, Chelyabinsk steel was found in most of the Soviet tanks by the end of World War II). "Tankograd" is the city's unofficial name.
However, the Kuznetsov Tea Factory, which is mentioned in 'Family Guy', can also be found there. It is no longer in operation, and is more of a cultural heritage site and an architectural monument. Historian and architecture expert William Brumfield talks more about the industrial city's gems here.
Kuznetsov Tea FactoryUral-66 (CC BY-SA 4.0)
The city is divided into two parts by the Miass River, and although Chelyabinsk is considered to be in the Urals, it is actually located on the geological fault line right on the border between the Urals and Siberia. The right bank of the river is in Siberia, while the left bank lies in the Urals.
Here’s what the city looks like today.
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