World

Belarus Capital Minsk is The Worst European City to Live In

Heartshaped hot air balloon flies above communist buildings
A Hot air balloon is seen at the Cup Hot Air event during the Air Sports festival in Minsk, Belarus July 18, 2015. The city was ranked lowest in Europe on Mercer's annual table. Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

The Belarusian capital of Minsk is Europe’s worst city to live in, according to analytics firm Mercer who annually compare quality of life indexes across the world.

Seven out of the top 10 cities to live in were European, although all of them are firmly in Western Europe. Starting with Vienna, all of Europe’s top cities are either in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, with the exception of Denmark’s Copenhagen, which scrapes into the top 10 at ninth place.

Eastern Europe fared much worse with the Czech capital of Prague ranking the highest former Communist city globally in 69th place. The lowest ranking cities in Europe are Ukraine’s Kiev, in 176th place globally, Albania’s Tirana in 179th place globally and Minsk in 190.

Belarus is notorious for being governed by “the last dictator in Europe” Alexander Lukashenko, whose government has boasted extremely low unemployment and maintaining a free health care system. However independent reports from inside the country have argued social services inside Belarus have not only stagnated since Soviet times but deteriorated .

Freedom House has evaluated the country as “not free” due to the lack of independent media and fair elections.

Local media in Belarus still appeared to take some offence to the last place ranking of Minsk as popular news site TUT , said “even Kiev gave way [to Minsk] despite its busted roads and poor transport infrastructure.”  

The site does note, however, that Minsk is not technically worse than every other major European city as the capital of nearby Moldova, Chisinau, was not ranked on the list at all.

According to Mercer personal safety and health issues are of high importance to the ranking cities get. With regard to personal safety, Minsk does rank above some of its neighbors, with Moscow being named as the last safe city in Europe.

A recent annual study of quality of life in eastern Europe by consumer database Numbeo placed Minsk fifth from the bottom, above Moscow and Kiev.

Editor's Pick