Nothing ever ends up as bad as you think unless you decide not to learn the Cyrillic alphabet. As a result, you may experience severe culture shock after that rebellion. You felt like you had landed on Mars, or perhaps China, but the situation had changed entirely within a month, and you were thrilled to stay. The language is likely to be the biggest surprise, but besides the traffic, there aren’t many other things that can daunt you. You have all seen heavy traffic before, but Moscow’s steadily worsening. Maybe it’s just the way people drive here.
One of your primary responsibilities is to keep your family fed and hydrated. The sooner you get started, the better. As Moscow is a 24-hour city, you can find anything from nappies and milk to a full weekly shop and books no matter what time of day it is. This guide is all about living in Moscow.
Top 5 things you need to know before living in Moscow.
1. The finance industry
When you were growing up in Moscow, the only way to shop was to go to the ‘products,’ where you had to pay for milk, get your receipt, and then go to the counter and collect your purchase. There was no wandering around at will and simply filling up your trolley. Thanks to technology, all that has changed, and now you even have hypermarkets outside of town with so many tills that they have rollerblades or staff who race around on them. Everything can be found under one roof and at a reasonable price.
Foreign banks operate there; the President does not allow them to enter en masse. He fears dominating the Russian banking market, Citibank (American) has four branches, and Raiffaisen (Austrian) has three branches. These companies can provide you with debit banking services as well as mortgages. Other than that, there are many Russian banks, but most ex-pats tend to avoid them.
2. Expenditures of Shopping
There are also more upmarket shops such as Stockmann’s and Globus Gourmet (where there are never any traffic jams because of the high prices, think cornflakes at £7 a packet (small packet!)). At the same time, low-cost alternatives like Ramstore and Azbuka Vkusa are too expensive to suit bargain-hungry Muscovites. There is a very slim chance that you won’t find your favorite foods there.
If you don’t have a driver, you should ask for their assistance or take it on the chin that they will likely charge you more once they discover you are a foreigner. It happens everywhere, so don’t take it personally.
3. Repairing the house
For recommendations, if you live in a rented apartment and want repairs that don’t affect the apartment’s infrastructure, like changing light fittings or fixing a washing machine. There is something extraordinary about Russian men, most of whom have been born with a spanner or screwdriver in hand. Small or large, they are convenient for repairs, and due to necessity in the past, they have become incredibly resourceful. If you have a driver, you might be able to ask him first, or perhaps he can recommend someone who can.
The cost of repairs is lower, and workers aren’t as inventive when calculating their bills as in the West. Could you take advantage of this while it lasts? If you live in a top-of-the-tree penthouse, you should expect to pay top dollar. You’ll probably pay a premium if you’re an ex-pat if you live anywhere else.
4. Internet, mobile phones
In Russia, smartphone sales are enormous (4th in the world), and pay-as-you-go is the most common payment option. There are three leading providers of phone service in Russia: MTS, Beeline, and Megafon. The other leading internet provider is Rostelecom, and no matter which company you choose, you can apply online, and the connection takes about two weeks to set up.
Most ex-pats have a cultural barrier regarding baby groups, and they tend to form their own. The odd Russian who wants to bring their sprog to play in an English-speaking environment might join in, but it is unlikely to be very frequent. You can contact the British Women’s Club and the International Women’s Club if you need help connecting with other mothers.
Most nannies and domestics can be found through recommendations. There are two primary choices when hiring a nanny: a Russian or Eastern European nanny, who tends to do more such as pay bills or speak with your child’s Russian teacher, or a Filipina, a growing trend (pros: they won’t tell you what to do with your child; cons: they usually can’t speak Russian). The pros and cons need to be weighed against what you need in a nanny, and recommendations from other ex-pats will be plentiful.
What does a dinner cost in Moscow?
Although meal costs in Moscow might vary, the daily average cost of meals is 1,052. Typical lunches in Moscow should cost around 421 per person while dining out, according to the spending patterns of recent visitors. Prices for breakfast are often a little lower than those for lunch or supper.
What is the cost of living in Moscow?
Moscow is only outdone by New York and Hong Kong when it comes to the number of resident billionaires. Although living in Moscow isn’t affordable for everyone, it’s certainly not for the poor.
The Mercer Cost of Living Survey, for example, consistently ranked Moscow among the top five most expensive cities for ex-pats. Due to the falling Russian ruble against the US dollar, it became more affordable in 2013, and as of 2017, it was ranked 13th in the Mercer survey. Housing, schooling, and medical expenses comprise the most significant portion of ex-pat budgets.