Ekaterineburg is a very pretty city, much more attractive than Chelyabinsk. Lots of churches, pretty buildings, new shops. I find it very attractive, and very unlike Chelyabinsk. Chelyabinsk is just an ugly city. Just can't seem to get around that.
One man, when I told him this impression, asked if it was because Chelyabinsk was more "Soviet" style. Nope, not that at all. All the cities over here are remarkably similar architecturally. Chelyabinsk is just an uglier version of an old Pittsburgh or Cincinnatti. It is dirty and ugly in an industrial way. Too many Soviet era apartment blocks, fewer Stalin-era older stuff, very dirty air.