Excerpted from the Russia Career Guide
Cost of Living
Russia’s economy ranks tenth in the world, and its per capita wealth has reached almost 20,000 USD. That makes Russia’s population the wealthiest among the four BRIC nations – the high-growth countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. Russia’s impressive growth helped make the country one of the world’s top ten expat destinations.
One of the potential surprises for expatriates in Russia is the country’s high cost of living. Russia can be as expensive for expats as the UK or Switzerland. Moscow, where the majority of expatriates in Russia are located, is currently one of the most expensive cities in the world, particularly for housing.
Most expatriates in Russia live in Moscow, where housing is very expensive. Prices vary depending on a number of factors, including location. Demand exceeds supply, and the growing demand for luxury housing by wealthy Muscovites is driving up property prices for everyone.
Some of the most popular neighborhoods for expatriates are centrally located inside the city’s center (Garden Ring), near restaurants, theaters and museums. One of Moscow’s most prestigious areas is Arbat-Kropotkinskaya. In the most highly sought after locations, rent for a luxury furnished three-bedroom apartment with parking can exceed 12,000 USD per month.
Russia’s extensive transportation network includes a web of highways, railroads and airlines from the western end of the country to the far east, a system stretching nearly 5,000 miles.
The country’s rail network is the second largest in the world (after the US). Railways are state-owned. Routes cover the entire Russian Federation, as well as 16 other countries in Europe and Asia. Train travel in Russia is generally reliable and convenient, with stations located in city centers. Foreigners traveling from St. Petersburg to Moscow on overnight trains are advised to lock their doors at night.
Medical Care and Health Insurance
Russians citizens receive free health care in the country’s public clinics and hospitals. However, although the country’s public health care system has made major advances in the recent past, it does not yet meet Western standards. Most public hospitals are ill-equipped to handle anything more than minor problems. Citizens of the United Kingdom are entitled to use these hospitals as well as to receive basic medications free of charge under a reciprocal agreement between the two countries. In contrast to the public clinics, private facilities in Moscow and St. Petersburg do approach Western standards. Some even have Western-trained doctors who speak English. Even so, expats who do not speak Russian should be accompanied by someone fluent in the language.
This is just a sample of what you'll find in over 100 pages of information in the Russia Guide.