Living in Russia may seem a daunting prospect at first but this amazing country can offer expats a truly unique life experience.
Spanning 9 different time zones, the Russian Federation is the largest country in the world and covers an area that is almost twice the size of that covered by the USA. It has an approximate population of 142 million people.
Russia has a rich history and cultural heritage and this is reflected in its museums, architecture and monuments. The unspoilt countryside also offers expats an opportunity to enjoy natural wonders such as Lake Baikal and the beautiful mountains, deserts, rivers and forests.
Russians are intensely proud of their rich culture and, when living in Russia, you may be invited to discuss their greatest artists, classical musicians and authors even in business situations, so brushing up on these beforehand could help you fit in.
Russia is a country that is making significant economic progress and this is reflected in the amount of western businesses that are establishing a presence in the region. Such developments have brought large numbers of expats into the country, many of whom base themselves in the busy cities of Moscow or St Petersburg.
Living in Russia can be quite challenging. The climate is harsh and many cities have high levels of pollution. There is also a relatively high crime rate and a number of security issues to take into consideration. However, the majority of expats who do base themselves there are able to afford a high standard of living that allows them to live in gated developments that offer good levels of security. For such expats, issues pertaining to Russia’s bureaucracy and inefficient customer service have a greater impact on their day-to-day lives than the highly publicized security risks.
The facilities available to expats living in Russia’s bigger cities are very good and there is a good availability of international schools and healthcare facilities.
Russia is frequently referred to as Europe’s most expensive country in which to live and according to many analysts this is set to remain the case for quite some years to come. In the 2012 Mercer cost of living survey Moscow was named as the 4th most expensive city in the world for expats for the third year running. St. Petersburg rose one place in the rankings and was named as the 28th most expensive city in the world.
It is possible, however, for expatriates to live an affordable life here provided that they relinquish some of the luxuries they associate with home and adopt a more local standard of living. While housing here can be very expensive, other items such as groceries, public transport and petrol can be acquired quite reasonably.
The Expat Info Desk guide to living in Moscow contains a comprehensive list of all the costs of living in this European city, including groceries, eating and dining out, local and private transport, schools and education and a whole host of other living expenses.
The official language of Russia is Russian and expats will benefit if they are able to learn some of the language. Turkish is also spoken in some regions. Whilst a small number of Russians do speak English, and it is frequently used in business transactions, the majority of public signs and directions will only be available in Russian.
Russia has many different climatic regions, from sub-arctic conditions in Siberia to a temperate, continental climate in the south.
Russia’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world and many international companies are establishing operations there. This does bring with it some job opportunities for expats but these are usually only available via internal company transfers or are jobs that secured by expats from their home country prior to arriving in Russia. People who move to Russia in the hope of finding work once they arrive will find it difficult to find a suitable job. In addition to this, securing a suitable work visa can be a lengthy and difficult process.
There is a high demand for English teachers in Russia and there is no shortage of jobs available for qualified teachers. The schools in Russia however, often only employ teachers on a part time basis and may not pay good salaries. It may therefore be necessary for people who do wish to teach in Russia to secure more than one teaching post.
A working knowledge of Russian is a necessity for most business jobs when living in Russia, especially those that are situated outside of the major cities.
Expat Info Desk currently has a city guide available for the capital of Russia, Moscow. This exhaustive guide contains everything you need to know about relocating to this Russian city and will assist you to:
Unlike a book, the guide to living in Moscow is regularly reviewed and updated in order to ensure that the information is accurate and reliable and because the guide is written by a real expat who lives and works in Moscow, you can be assured that you are accessing the information that you need as written by someone who really is in the know.