Luckily, I've visited several former Soviet Republics, as well as Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe. My business has taken me to Leipzig, Germany quite a bit. Leipzig was an important city of the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik).
Although the former East German economy is mostly on par with its western brethren, relics of the communist state shine through. Taking the tram around Leipzig, urban blight is common. Dilapidated factories covered in graffiti are reminiscent of Rustbelt cities in America.
But time has marched on. Leipzig now has a reputation as Europe's haven for artists and musicians seeking cheap rent and studio space.
Leipzig's best trait is it's walkability. Combined with an excellent tram system and a focus on bicycling, an automobile is a luxury many choose to do without. Restaurants, bars, and a great music scene are all good reasons to visit Leipzig. There's even Starbucks.
To me, walking around Leipzig is like taking a walk through time. I enjoy learning about the storied past of an intellectual and creative city who's citizens have made significant cultural contributions.