Many expats moving to Moscow have similar questions about how they will adapt to life in the Russian capital. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about expat life in Moscow.
How safe is Moscow?
Moscow is quite safe compared to many other big cities. As long as expats are aware of what’s going on, and take the usual precautions, they should be safe. Using public transport is very safe, and walking home alone should be fine, provided it’s not in the middle of the night.
What is the cost of living in Moscow?
It can be very high, depending on what kind of lifestyle an expat leads. In general, Moscow is much more expensive than any other place in Russia, and some prices, particularly those attached to clothing, can be very high.
Does a person need to learn Russian before moving to Moscow?
Yes, this is a very good idea. It is probably best to learn some basic Russian, and at least to know how to read Russian Cyrillic before arriving. The grammar is quite complicated. For example, there are six cases for nouns, with endings differing in each case depending on whether the noun is masculine, feminine or neutral, and again whether it is plural or singular.
Are the locals friendly to expats?
Russians maintain a distant and uninvolved mask in public. Once befriending a Russian, expats will be amazed at how warm-hearted, generous and romantic Russians can be. There is some resentment towards expats who come to live a superior lifestyle in Moscow, so be prepared for some street-level negativity.
Are weekend getaways from Moscow possible?
It is possible to take an overnight train to St Petersburg. On the whole, though, weekend breaks are not very popular. Most Muscovites stay in the city, as there is plenty to amuse and entertain them right there. The notable exception to this is over the summer months, when there is a mass exodus to the dachas (summer cottages) on the outskirts of Moscow, either for the whole summer or as long as possible.