Cost of Living in Russia



Expect to spend in Russia. The Mercer surveys continuously identify Moscow as the most expensive city for expats since 2006 and the most expensive city in Europe as of July 2009.

Most expats have more purchasing power than their Russian counterparts due to their higher salary, plus paid expenses such as apartment rent and transportation. The key is to eliminate the major burden – housing. The limited number of apartments in the city allows rent to be high. It is wise, prior to signing a contract with Russian employers, to negotiate accommodation expenses, along with work - permit and transportation costs, to be paid by the company.

Long-term expats find the cost of living manageable once housing is removed from the list of expenses. Basic commodities like food, toiletries, transportation and petrol are relatively affordable. Needless to say, it is the finer things that you are probably accustomed to back home that hit the wallet hard, such as fine dining - a 3-meal course easily amounts to $100, coffee in a luxurious café (up to $6), beers in a city pub ($4-$8 for only 50mL), a night out ($5-$10).


If paid rent is not included in your job offer, you are likely to need around $600-$800 USD per month for a room in a flat or $1,200-$1,500 for your own flat. It is best to make a pre-arrival arrangement with an agent about accommodation.


According to, Russia ranks as the second most expensive country to shop for clothing. As a result, the opulent ones end up purchasing their haute couture wardrobe in London or Milan. Shopping in a large store proves to be frustrating, as haggling is not widely practiced; the most that you can expect is a 15 percent discount. For the ultimate cheap yet quality finds, ask around for the markets and second hand shops.


Due to the long winters, Russian cuisine is essentially comprised of carbohydrates and fats such as potato, bread, eggs, meat, fish, poultry and butter. The abundance of rye and wheat allows Russians to follow the mantra of "No dinner without bread."

As mentioned above, food and grocery items are affordable. One loaf of bread amounts to $0.52, 1 kilo of pork is $6.58, 1 kilo of potatoes is $0.69, 1 Big Mac is $2.15, 2 liters of Coke is $1.56.


Public transportation costs are also reasonable. Bus, cab and trolley rides range between $0.35 and $0.87 within the city. Buying a monthly metro ticket is more practical, especially for expats staying long term. A single journey metro ticket costs $0.76 whereas a monthly metro ticket for unlimited ground transportation during 90 days is $75.

Car rental, on the other hand, is not a popular choice due to road quality and high cost. Petrol is $0.66 to $0.87 per liter.

Recreation and Culture

With Russia's rich culture, history and impressive architecture, it is impossible to resist combining lots of play with work. Film tickets begin at $10 and entrance to the Kremlin is $12.



Expat Services in Russia

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