Your guide to expat life in Russia

From Russia with love

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The lingering impression a lot of Westerners have of Russia is of a cold, dreary place best avoided. In truth, modern-day Russia is bursting with colour and culture, and its thriving cities present expats with a variety of business opportunities and a high standard of living.

The infamous Iron Curtain was finally lifted at the end of the Cold War in 1991 and, although modern Russia still bears remnants of its turbulent past, it has emerged as a proud country prepared to assert its place as a global superpower, but also to welcome tourists and expats to its shores. Russia’s former isolationist policies limited its populace’s exposure to foreigners, and many expats report that they find the locals unapproachable and cold – the considerable language barrier doesn’t help much either.

That said, expats willing to put time and effort into learning the local language and culture will find that most Russians are keen to welcome them to their country and help them settle down. Russia, especially the heavily expat-favoured economic centres of Moscow and St Petersburg, is expensive, but most expats move to Russia to take up top positions with attractive accompanying salary packages, which nullifies the high cost of living.

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Our checklists give you a comprehensive overview of the kinds of things you need to do before you move and also what to consider in your first few months in your new country or region.

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