This guide was written prior to Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine and is therefore not reflective of the current situation. Travel to Russia is currently not advisable due to the area's volatile political situation.
Expats moving to Russia are likely to have a number of questions about life in their new home. Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about relocating to Russia.
Do I need a car in Russia?
It greatly depends on where one intends to live. In bigger cities such as Moscow
and St Petersburg, public transport
is efficient, safe and cheap. Maintaining a car can be extremely costly and a nightmarish bureaucratic experience. One will also have to get a Russian driving licence after six months. On top of all this, the weather conditions in Russia make it more challenging to keep any car running. That said, if living in a more rural area or planning to live on the outskirts of the city, one would need a car. Many expats opt to hire a Russian driver.
Is it worth learning Russian?
Definitely. This is a must, even if only learning how to read the Russian alphabet and a few basic phrases. One will not easily find Russians who are able to speak English, even in Moscow. It is important to know the basics of Russian before arriving.
How safe is Russia?
are dropping in Russia. Theft (pickpocketing in particular) and extortion are the most common crimes against foreigners. Most of these incidents occur in areas associated with public transport, underground pedestrian crosswalks and popular tourist areas. Provided expats take adequate precautions, they're unlikely to be affected by such crimes in Russia.
What are the options for travelling around Russia?
The major cities have good public transport
systems, but the more rural areas do not. There is an extensive railway network across the country, which is the most popular option for long-distance travel. Aeroflot, the Russian national airline, also has many domestic flights connecting major cities.
Can I open a bank account in Russia?
The Russian banking system has undergone significant improvements in recent years. Online banking is now offered by many banks and credit cards are accepted at establishments throughout major towns and cities, although cash is still used widely in the more rural areas. Expats are able to open a bank account in Russia, but many choose to bank with an international bank rather than a local bank. ATMs are widely available.