I just ran across this on the internet. It’s pretty amazing and gives a look into a part of the Soviet/Stalinist way of thinking: massive projects that capture the imagination.
In 1940s and 1950s, right after the World War 2, Russia had to recover from the consequences of the Nazi invasion. Much had to be done, and as we know, to complete something you need to have enough energy. And energy at that time, as well as now, meant oil.
At that time, the known oil reserves differed from what people in Russia know about now. The main places to drill for oil was Southern Russia, contrary to the frozen Northern Siberian regions as it is now.
And the gemstone of the Soviet Oil production was the Caspian sea region, mainly the territories that now are the independent state of Aizerbajan.
Now it’s not clear who was the genius who first came up with an idea of getting the oil right from the sea bottom where it was still plenty of it and for this purpose to build a real city 42 km (25 miles) off the coast, right in the middle of the sea, but what we know is that this idea came into play and by some crazy chance it got support from Soviet leaders who leveraged it with the all the support the biggest (by territory) state could offer at that time.
What this meant is that in a matter of just a few months a real town was built right in the middle of the nowhere on giant steel beams coming from the sea bottom, from as deep as hundreds of feet down. And they called it “Oil Stones”.
And that was really a city! Just one fact: the length of the streets of this one-of-a-kind town exceeded 350 km (200 miles) if combined. There were nine stored buildings, schools, industry complexes and fountains. Lawns with green grass and children playing ball. And all that is forty two kilometeres from the nearest Earth surface close!