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View Full Version : Is Russia Cool / A Good Place To Live?



wisdom
25-09-2011, 02:38
I live in the United States with my wife who was born in Russia and grew up in Odessa, Ukraine. We visited Moscow and Eysk (where her mother lives about 22 hour train ride South of Moscow on the Azov Sea). Seemed like a very interesting place.

To be frank, I feel the United States is headed in the wrong direction on many fronts. The economy, immigrant problem, expanding "police state", fragmented culturally, Television / Media worshipping, dumbing down of the population, etc. I am thinking about moving to another country, but I don't want to end up out of the frying pan and into the fire. I was thinking about Russia because my wife already has family there which I thought might make the transition easier. I also heard from my wife there are no real estate taxes on houses there, not sure if this is true from recent research. But I am wondering if Russia is a good place to live? Especially as far as finding a job and raising a family, that type of thing. I have professional background in Business-to-Business advertising and Publicity as well as being a sales professional. I am very good at writing in a wide variety of technical and business formats as well. I appreciate any feedback. Thanks!!

Carl
25-09-2011, 09:56
The economy, immigrant problem, expanding "police state", fragmented culturally, Television / Media worshipping, dumbing down of the population, etc.

Yeah...you should come here! It will feel as if you've never left!!
And you'll have the added bonus of never having to worry about all those silly elections:)) You see, it's all decided for you here! In fact, you really wont have to think about a thing..just turn on the nightly news and you'll hear everything you need to know or think! It's really easy!!))

bydand
25-09-2011, 12:41
My uninformed (except for what you wrote) advice is, from my experience do not move for the reasons you stated.

I agree with member Carl's sarcasm. You will certainly know you left, and there will be many things you miss. Too many for me to enumerate here, not the least of which is UPS, FedEx and USPS.

Maybe Costa Rica?:whisper:

Remington
25-09-2011, 13:50
My advice is to try it out here for 6 to 12 months and see how you like it. Just keep everything at a storage place in US until you decide what to do with it in a year. First 3 to 6 months will be hard to get adjusted to everything and during that times you'll feel wanting to return to US. I've been here for almost 5 years even I planned to stay for a year.

BabyFirefly
25-09-2011, 15:12
So I know this is going to be an essay, but... you asked for opinions...

Are you aware that those "problems" you stated, are present just about everywhere, especially the media worshipping, immigration problems (there are illegal immigrants in Europe and Latin America too, you know?), economic instability, etc. These problems are not in any way exclusive to America and moving abroad just because them... I wouldn't do it.

Personally, I prefer living in Russia to living in the US. But, is it easy? No, heck no. Like everywhere else, it's great and much better if you are already well off financially... but otherwise it's difficult. And you need to speak Russian, fluent Russian if you live in a cheaper (as in, you'll be of the few if any English speaking people) aera. I've seen people here claim you can live without speaking Russian, but I'm having a hard time believing it, given my experience has been the exact opposite 95% of the time. Finding a job? My partner found a great job in about four weeks... BUT he's a very well educated Russian with lots of experience working. I'm a student and have yet to know how foreign workers fare off (without counting the Central Asian people who seem to have all the cleaning jobs reserved for them, sadly). Raising a family? Um... if you have no kids and you want them to be born in Russia, I think that's fine, but if you have kids already and want to bring them here, I'd hesitate a bit. I don't know about Russian children, but Russian adults seem to not be very keen on making friends with people they're not already somehow connected to, and if that's the case with children, then your kids might be lonely. Russians are pushy and blunt; be prepared to be PUSHED, and I mean with enough force to nearly knock you to the ground, on the metro. Political correctness doesn't really exist, and you as an American will get no beneficial treatment because of your nationality so don't expect that unless you want to be an example of the "stupid rude American" stereotype. Also if you're not much into cities then of course Moscow will be overwhelming. Don't expect much in terms of political freedom here, but IMO political freedom exists nowhere so it doesn't bother me. It's just much more insanely obvious here.

What's good? The transportation system, the city has an incredible amount of stuff to do in terms of bars/nightclubs/museums/anything you can think of, culturally I find it much more interesting than the US, some things (like food... but where I lived food was stupidly expensive) are a lot cheaper, the people are loyal to those they trust, food's good (yeah, I love Russian food, somehow) and at least in terms of higher education, it's great, and there's a lot of places to "escape" to for a weekend if you're sick of the city. I've made few friends, but they're absolutely excellent and have done things for me I don't think any friend back home would ever do.

Of course I'm speaking from my experience, being a student at MGU living in a bit of a dodgy area in Moscow (speaking of, in this dodgy area, we pay $1200 in rent, so be prepared for insane real estate prices here) where I seem to be the only foreigner. If you can swing living in a better area, I'm sure things might be a bit better and more like America, if that's what you want. Most of the problems I stated bothered me only at first, so I'm just telling you them so you can see your first few months here will not be a walk in the park. The expats I know here seem to fall in either the "I love living in Russia" or "I hate living in Russia" category; I fall in the former, but I moved here from a country that's much worse than Russia (I'm American but spent my last few years in a dying country in the Caribbean) and even comparing with America, just because of the culture, public transport, and the fact that it's one of the BRICS, I'd pick Russia.

This isn't an easy decision and it's not one you should make quickly. I'd say get a business visa and spend three months here, then go back to the US, then come back for three months. If/when you do that, don't stay in the touristy/wealthy areas, go to areas that are the ones you're likely to live in so you can get a better perspective of what you're gonna face daily and whether that's what you want or not. And ask your wife and her family if you can, although being that they are Russian you will face problems they will not.

DavidB
25-09-2011, 17:41
Others have already covered your questions quite well, but I'll add what I can based on my experience of living in Russia and being from the financial field:


The economy, immigrant problem, expanding "police state", fragmented culturally

These problems are much the same if not worse in Russia.

Except for a few industries, the economy of Russia is no star performer. As an employee, your taxes will probably be higher in Russia than in the USA. One situation where Russia would put you ahead financially is if have an independent foreign income. Russia is very much a tax haven for people in that situation. In my experience, if your family spending is more than $100k per year, you could be better off in Russia. In Moscow, I would put the figure at $150k, due to the higher cost of living.


I also heard from my wife there are no real estate taxes on houses there
That would be incorrect, and like most places in Europe, the prospects for real estate investment look questionable for at least the next 5 years.


But I am wondering if Russia is a good place to live? Especially as far as finding a job and raising a family, that type of thing.
I was thinking about Russia because my wife already has family there which I thought might make the transition easier.
As far as finding a job goes, wages in Moscow are higher but living can be expensive in that city. Wages in other cities are lower. Being experienced in sales, you may be able to find a good job with an international company. As far as I have heard Russian companies don't actively search for foreign sales experts any more (that era ended 4-5 years ago). You also have competition from the growing number of people who can speak Russian and English and have both local and international experience (these are both Russian and foreigners).

The negatives of raising a family in Moscow would be the pollution, high cost of education and living, and the daily stress due to transport (either busy metro or slow cars). I don't think you would find any international schools outside of Moscow or St.P, and getting into a good Russian school depends on how much you're willing to pay. The same goes for universities.

Living in Russia because you have a Russian wife would be similar to living in Mexico because you have a Mexican wife. The advantages and disadvantages in terms of economics, family life, culture, health, etc. are quite similar.

The ones who usually enjoy living in Russia are the kind who don't mind an adventure. Every day can be a challenge, but at the same time, every day can be entertaining in some ways.

wisdom
25-09-2011, 19:09
Unfortunately, it's getting to be the same way here. No matter who you vote for or who gets in office, the agenda seems to proceed the same. Obama campaigns on bringing the troops home from the wars, then gets in office and it's business as usual. It has the perception of looking like the American people are in charge of their destinies because of their voting, but once they get in there, they do what they want.

wisdom
25-09-2011, 19:09
Costa Rica, I dunno. My buddy keeps talking about Belize as a safe haven.

wisdom
25-09-2011, 19:11
Great idea Remington, thank you for the tip. Yes, there is a certain charm about Russia. I don't want to romanticize it too much though. No matter where you go, there you are ya know. lol Thanks!

Godsend
27-09-2011, 20:23
The ones who usually enjoy living in Russia are the kind who don't mind an adventure. Every day can be a challenge, but at the same time, every day can be entertaining in some ways.[/QUOTE]

What about other countries? If I am foreigner living in any country in Europe. Any day can be a challenge...or vice versa. ? Your opinion?

andymackem
28-09-2011, 11:57
Picking up on some comments from DavidB and BabyFirefly:

"And you need to speak Russian, fluent Russian if you live in a cheaper (as in, you'll be of the few if any English speaking people) area."

You'll certainly need _some_ Russian, but fluent is a bit of an overstatement. I'm about intermediate, and I can cope on a day-to-day basis. Also, having been here five years I've got a few Russian friends who can help if I get a serious problem - so far that hasn't been necessary (apart from one time I managed to knacker the electrics in my apartment!).

"I've made few friends, but they're absolutely excellent and have done things for me I don't think any friend back home would ever do."

Agree with this. /sweeping generalisation alert/ Russians can be quite hard to get to know, but are among the most welcoming and supportive people I've met once I've got over that barrier /sweeping generalisation off/ However, I came here as a single man, without family commitments. That made it easier to fit in with other people - I didn't have to get home to the wife and kids. It also meant I could hang out with a slightly younger crowd (who also didn't have to get home to the wife and kids). That's not quite as lecherous as it sounds, I promise. I can imagine that it would be harder to build a circle of soccer moms to socialise with if I'd arrived with a family of my own. This might be something for your wife to consider (though since she presumably speaks good Russian she'd find it easier than a monoglot Brit).

"As far as I have heard Russian companies don't actively search for foreign sales experts any more"

There seems to be a contradiction in state policy at the moment as far as visas are concerned. On one level it's all about making it easier for highly qualified, capable foreigners to come over and share their expertise, especially in the much-touted innovation sector (a sector so innovative it may not actually exist in the here and now, as far as I can see). But in the real world, it's a pain. Employers are being handed more and more responsibility for ensuring the legal status of foreign staff, which means any non-Russian hire generates extra paperwork and stress for the HR department. Plus foreigners tend to want higher salaries and are more likely to spend three months here and chuck it because they don't like it. Consequently, getting in might be a real - and growing - struggle.

Good stuff: I've been here 5 years, after planning to come for a nine-month 'adventure' as an EFL teacher. I've been able to move back to my original career and find better work (in terms of pay and responsibilities) than I would realistically have expected at this point in the UK. I love big cities, and Moscow delivers on that. I've really enjoyed exploring the local music scene, following the local sport (unusually for a Brit I'm a big hockey fan - the local league is rather better than we have back home!). While property prices are high, I've found a flat in the city centre which I can afford on my own - something I could never have done in London.

To sum up: you know yourself better than anyone else. What works for me might be irrelevant, or worse, for you. And a lot of the problems you mention are not location-specific (my parallel has always been that going to work tends to suck a bit, because it involves going to work - not necessarily because my office is in Moscow rather than somewhere else). Remington probably has it about right. If you're willing (and able) to gamble, and you have a viable escape route if it doesn't work out, give it a go. If not, be very cautious.

Apologies for the essay. You've stopped reading by now anyway, haven't you?

HSE/Environmental Pr
04-10-2011, 22:53
I live in the United States with my wife who was born in Russia and grew up in Odessa, Ukraine. We visited Moscow and Eysk (where her mother lives about 22 hour train ride South of Moscow on the Azov Sea). Seemed like a very interesting place.

To be frank, I feel the United States is headed in the wrong direction on many fronts. The economy, immigrant problem, expanding "police state", fragmented culturally, Television / Media worshipping, dumbing down of the population, etc. I am thinking about moving to another country, but I don't want to end up out of the frying pan and into the fire. I was thinking about Russia because my wife already has family there which I thought might make the transition easier. I also heard from my wife there are no real estate taxes on houses there, not sure if this is true from recent research. But I am wondering if Russia is a good place to live? Especially as far as finding a job and raising a family, that type of thing. I have professional background in Business-to-Business advertising and Publicity as well as being a sales professional. I am very good at writing in a wide variety of technical and business formats as well. I appreciate any feedback. Thanks!!

Many social advantages from one part, that is certain, but professional career, how it would be? You should find long-term job to fit your career needs before transition

amrootha2015
05-11-2011, 09:56
Thanks for your nice information.

winner
05-11-2011, 19:32
I think Russia is not cool place to live. I am Russian.

But people need to try finding out themselves. Who knows you may be like this place. I know some foreigners, some Americans who like Russia, and they live not only in Moscow.

But don't burn your bridges!!!

luzolo
05-11-2011, 21:17
I would advise first to try to live here (in Russia)for a year. I think you may be sorry. Moscow is of course a good place where one can find work... There may arise more serious problems..I would rather stay where you are. There are more possibilities for a person in the US. And the problems are the same everywhere.

smchilds
06-11-2011, 00:44
I live in the United States with my wife who was born in Russia and grew up in Odessa, Ukraine. We visited Moscow and Eysk (where her mother lives about 22 hour train ride South of Moscow on the Azov Sea). Seemed like a very interesting place.

To be frank, I feel the United States is headed in the wrong direction on many fronts. The economy, immigrant problem, expanding "police state", fragmented culturally, Television / Media worshipping, dumbing down of the population, etc. I am thinking about moving to another country, but I don't want to end up out of the frying pan and into the fire. I was thinking about Russia because my wife already has family there which I thought might make the transition easier. I also heard from my wife there are no real estate taxes on houses there, not sure if this is true from recent research. But I am wondering if Russia is a good place to live? Especially as far as finding a job and raising a family, that type of thing. I have professional background in Business-to-Business advertising and Publicity as well as being a sales professional. I am very good at writing in a wide variety of technical and business formats as well. I appreciate any feedback. Thanks!!

I would echo those who said that the above are not good reasons to move to Russia. The only real reasons in my opinion are that you like adventure/want something different/feel bored at home and/or get a really fantastic job offer that can never compete with your job/salary at home. You won't feel bored living in Moscow, I am pretty sure, but you might feel bored living in the regions. I don't think that finding a job is a piece of cake, and you really do need Russian. If you don't speak Russian you are really limited as to what you can do and will feel out of the loop a lot. Maybe basic Russian is enough to order coffee at a cafe, but plenty of people don't speak English (especially if you move to a small town) so parties, family get-togethers, etc. will be torture without decent language skills.

Kids are a major factor. After living in Moscow for 6 years, getting married there, making decent money there, etc., I left Moscow to have a kid and wouldn't really want to go back. People may argue with me but I don't think it's a kid-friendly place, and most of my Russian acquaintances (with kids) agree. Your kids will never go outside without you, there are really no safe outdoor places for them to play, etc. I taught a lot of Russian kids and they NEVER went outside, except at their dachas. If you have kids that means you need to buy food, which means you spend one whole day every week roaming around Ашан or some such supermarket. That's reason enough for me not to want to raise kids in Moscow. Maybe, though, since your wife is Russian she would take care of a lot of the "kid duties" and it would be easier for her, since it's her homeland, language, etc. If you don't have kids and don't plan on having kids, then sure, move to Moscow, it could be fun. (Note: if you do have kids and plan to raise them in Russia, then you *have* to do it in St. Petersburg or (preferably) Moscow, or I think they'll have to struggle to compete with other Russians as they get older, and it will be hard to find a job/etc.)

If you want to speak about education, I would argue that American education is better. Yes, people will certainly argue with me, but having taught kids who went to the "best" Russian schools, that is my impression.

Nothing about moving to Russian will be objectively "better" than living in the US. If you want to talk about "a dumbed-down population" watch Russian TV for 10 minutes and you will feel your brain cells die. As much as the American economy sucks, I can't believe that the Russian economy is better. I mean, I know people who are "poor" in the US but have their own house, a car, a cell phone, a laptop and Internet, etc. "Poor" has a totally different definition in Russia. Many people who are "poor" in the US would be considered "middle class" in Russia.

What I usually tell myself is: a huge number of Russians want to leave Russia. That's a fact. At least half of my personal acquaintances want to leave, and a good part of those are in the process right now of trying to emigrate. So why would *I* decide to move there? As fun as I find it, as much as I liked my social life there and etc., it doesn't seem fair to my kid. Sure the US is not perfect but there are more opportunities, and if he wants to move to Russia as an adult he can always do that - it will be a lot easier than moving to the US from Russia (assuming no major changes occur politically etc.).

Nobbynumbnuts
06-11-2011, 00:53
I live in the United States with my wife who was born in Russia and grew up in Odessa, Ukraine. We visited Moscow and Eysk (where her mother lives about 22 hour train ride South of Moscow on the Azov Sea). Seemed like a very interesting place.

To be frank, I feel the United States is headed in the wrong direction on many fronts. The economy, immigrant problem, expanding "police state", fragmented culturally, Television / Media worshipping, dumbing down of the population, etc. I am thinking about moving to another country, but I don't want to end up out of the frying pan and into the fire. I was thinking about Russia because my wife already has family there which I thought might make the transition easier. I also heard from my wife there are no real estate taxes on houses there, not sure if this is true from recent research. But I am wondering if Russia is a good place to live? Especially as far as finding a job and raising a family, that type of thing. I have professional background in Business-to-Business advertising and Publicity as well as being a sales professional. I am very good at writing in a wide variety of technical and business formats as well. I appreciate any feedback. Thanks!!

If you are escaping the problems back home that's fine, done it myself but Russia is in a far worst state, generaly speaking, than the US.
Politically, socially and economically for the vast majority of people.
Having said that, if you can find yourself a good paying job as an expat it's easy to stick your head in the sand and enjoy life in Russia.

kaufen
06-11-2011, 13:33
I should come in moscow from Italy in the next months... I hope to stay well there. Honesty the meaning thing because I'm worried is the weather.... I live In Naples now and here is never too much cold