"The city was founded in 1948 to house the workforce of a nearby metallurgical plant, constructed in 1941-1950 to process iron ore from nearby Azerbaijan. Stalin brought workers from various regions in Georgia, specifically from the rural poorer provinces of Western Georgia. It took its name from a nearby ancient town... Rustavi became a key industrial centre for the Transcaucasus region. The main industries are iron and steel milling and the manufacture of metal products and chemicals.
German POWs who were captured in World War II were enlisted to design and build Old Rustavi. Rustavi is actually divided into two parts--Dzveli Rustavi (Old Rustavi) and Akhali Rustavi (New Rustavi). Old Rustavi adheres to Stalinist architectural style..."(The old part of Rustavi. Houses are supposed to still offer superior quality. In German, we call this type of architecture "Zuckerbäckerstil" = "Sugarbaker-stile", in English it is "Stalin Empire". Other examples can be found in East-Berlin on Karl-Marx-Allee or Warsaw, Palace of Culture. If you want to know more about this style, you might want to read this article on Wikipedia about Soviet architecture.)
"... while New Rustavi is dominated by a multitude of seemingly endless stretch of depressing Soviet era block apartments."(Well, have a look at this video which I took in summer 2003. Please excuse the quality, it is largely due to the fact that I was filming and driving at the same time.)
"The fall of the Soviet Union in 1999 proved disastrous for Rustavi, as it also caused the collapse of the integrated Soviet economy on which the city depended. Today, most of its industrial plants have been shut down..."(See the cows grazing? This picture is from 1998 or 1999)
"...and 65% of the city's population is unemployed, with all of the attendant social problems of high crime and acute poverty that such a situation brings. The population shrank from 160,000 in the mid-1990s as residents moved elsewhere in search of work."This picture says it all. It is one of my favorite b/w-pictures: