Intermark report: The expectations and the reality of living in Russia

Relocating to a new country can throw up a lot of questions. We take a look at some of the views of some of those who have relocated to Russia and how the reality matches their expectations.

St Basils Cathedral sunny day in Moscow
Arriving in Russia may cause a total change in ones preconceptions of the country simply because some people say unrealistic or sometimes even weird things about Russia and its people.Intermark collected the thoughts and expectations of visitors to the country, who were going to move to Russia, and their impressions after several months or years of living there.

How do expats view their relocation to Russia?

For some moving to Russia can alter their perceptions, Nova G., from the UK, said, “Moving to Moscow was never really our plan. After living in Malaysia and Netherlands moving to a country that wasn't warm, friendly or at least easy to get to definitely wasn't going to happen. But we did it and I can remember being stunned for the first time by the energy of the city and bamboozled by the language.“But very soon I had changed my preconceptions. I relish the chance to walk on wide, clean streets, wandering along and taking in the sights. I still get goose bumps at seeing Red Square and St Basil's Cathedral.“There is an appreciation for culture and arts here, such as beautiful bas-reliefs and sculptures commemorate artists, composers, war heroes and writers on every street you walk along.”Petra A., from Germany, added, “When we thought about Moscow before, we imagined an exciting mix of cold winters, secret agent movies, buildings with onion-shaped towers, and impressive culture. We were also a bit afraid of not being able to understand the language with the Cyrillic script, or finding ourselves in a completely foreign world.“First time in Moscow everything was so different, so big and impressive. Today most of all, we love the variety of things available here: from sweet Peruvian mangos to Mexican raspberries.“We also really like visiting the countless historical sights that stand face-to-face with shiny modern skyscrapers.“You could think of Russia as a Matryoshka doll, big and beautiful. But, as you get to know it, you discover so many unexpected layers that you can fall in love with… and another… and another.”
Related stories:For more related news and features, visit our Russia section. 
Fernanda R., from Brazil, said, “When I heard for the first time that I needed to relocate to Russia, I was really shocked, I never imagined living in Moscow.“Our cultures are so different that I couldn’t imagine how my family would adapt to these traditions and customs. I remember myself trying to read all the signs in Russian while driving around Moscow.“I felt like a child playing spy games and deciphering codes! It is really a funny exercise! Russians do not smile much, but it is because of their nature and it does not at all mean that they do not like you.“In Moscow I like to visit museums and going out for a walk. The Moscow metro is outstanding and you can go everywhere! My kids love being here in Moscow. They adapted extremely fast. Their favorite activity in winter is to play outside in the snow.”Russia can also offer the opportunity for adventure, Leigh-Ann S., from Ireland, said, “I came in Russia for the adventure and stayed to live there. I’ve ridden snowmobiles on the black beaches of Russia’s Pacific coast, bathed in volcanic springs at -18 degrees Celsius, drank kvass with metro drivers in suburb hovels, walked across the Neva river in February, fallen off a dogsled and lost some huskies, been accidentally interrogated in a metro police cell, eaten dried fish while swatting mosquitoes at the dacha and met more Red Army generals than soldiers. This is amazing experience!”

What do children make of relocating to Russia?

The cool weather in Russia offers plenty of activities for children, Riccardo, from Spain, said that there is, “Lots of snow and you can have great fun playing in it even if the temperature is very low.”Guy, from the US, added, “I like living in Moscow because you can play ice hockey and do other winter sports for example ice skating, skiing and sledging. The people are helpful and the weather is nice all year round.”Katie, from France, said, “One of my favourite landmarks is St. Basil’s Cathedral. The bright colours and stripes make for an amazing view. Remember to make it there on New Year’s Eve as it is beautiful!”Zwenneken, from Finland, commented, “I like how the weather changes – it is cold in the winter and hot in the summer. I would recommend you to come and live in Moscow, it’s great!”Don’t be afraid to travel, move and try the other places! Taste Russia!Intermark will support you in all steps of your relocation.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory