Moving to Russia



There are over 140 languages, and dialects spoken in Russia; many new expats are unfamiliar with these and with the Cyrillic alphabet. Learning some words might be helpful for you to get you around, especially in public transport, though it will be of more importance to ensure you get a good deal when moving your belongings.

Occupying an immense land area in northern Eurasia, enveloped by a dark history, Russia broods like a dark horse, but the tide is turning for sure.

Russia is considered the largest country at 17.1 million square kilometers; it is almost as large as the whole of South America and approximately twice the size of the United States. Neighboring countries include Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, North Korea, China, Mongolia, Poland, Norway and Finland. Its interiors are divided into tundra, taiga, steppe, arid and mountain zones. 

The population is currently around 142 million. It can be described as predominantly urban and highly sparse, making Moscow and St. Petersburg top places to live. About 82 percent of the population is Great Russians; 7 percent is a combination of Tatars and Ukrainians, and the rest is made up of around 100 ethnic groups and nationalities. Recent years have seen population stagnation due to a low birth rate and an increase in the mortality rate. Needless to say, the government welcomes migration.

Moscow, the capital, is the political, economic, cultural, educational and transportation hub. It houses the Kremlin, Red Square, and St. Basil's Cathedral, to name but a few sights. On the other hand, St. Petersburg, dubbed as "Russia's window to the west," is known for its bohemian vibe and the summer season called White Nights. Although not a popular destination due to its extreme cold during winter and punishing short but warm summers, Siberia is the ultimate haven for the adventure-seeking expat. As Russians are appreciative of music and sports, there is an abundance of concerts, ballets, circuses, gymnastic acts and other cultural activities for the entertainment enthusiasts. 

Before the "Sleeping Bear of Europe" woke up to claim independence in 1991, Russia displayed scarcity and illiteracy. Today, the nation has welcomed European influences and participated in the worldwide trade. Federal government structured as democracy has replaced Communism.  

For a number of expats, Russia may be what they would call their promised land. The 2009 Expat Explorer survey shows that they earn more than their Russian counterparts. The literature also suggests that it offers more than escape or livelihood for them; some expats have opted to take root and stay for decades.



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