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Despite being known for its glitz and glam, the cost of living in Russia isn’t as extravagant as you might think. Living in the country is very affordable and most live comfortably even in the major cities. Even though the cost of living in the Eastern European country has increased over the last few years it remains low in comparison to other countries.
Don’t get us wrong, if you want to live the high life then things get more expensive but on average apartments are affordable as is transportation and utilities and outside of the main cosmopolitan areas, the cost of living gets even cheaper.
In comparison to other capital cities around the world, according to Mercer’s 2018 Quality of Living Survey, the cost of living in Moscow is:
When it comes to property in Russia there are two categories; apartments within the city or houses outside the city.
Similarly, to most other countries in the world, the prices of renting and buying in Russia very much depends on the type of asset being purchased and the location. However, consumer prices including rent are 49.53% lower than in the UK. To rent a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre it would cost on average £727.40 a month in the UK, whereas in Russia you would typically pay around £269.25 a month.
If you’re looking to buy a property in Russia, the price per square meter to purchase an apartment in the city centre is £2128.23 and generally range between £1446.76 and £6074.63. The price per square meter to buy an apartment outside of the city centre is £1514.38 and generally range between £860.83 and £3473.46.
Even though living outside of the city centre is cheaper, it often means commuting and although public transport in Russia is cheap and fast, commuting times are on average at least an hour.
The public transport network in Russia is extensive and there are numerous options including trams, trains, trolleybus, private fixed-route taxi, also known as marshrutka, and buses. The big cities also have the benefit of the metro system, which is an easy and cheap way to get around.
Transport in Russia is generally very cheap but the larger the city, the higher the fare. In Moscow one journey on the metro will cost you around 55 Russian Ruble (£0.66), you pay only to enter the Russian subway and the distance travelled and routes covered will be unlimited. It is also similar when travelling on public road transport.
Residents in Russia are required to pay for their utilities such as gas, water and electricity but luckily, they aren’t too expensive. If you’re living in an 85 square metre apartment you can expect to pay on average about 6,800 Russian Ruble (£81) a month and that includes electricity, water, heating and rubbish collection.
Internet services are also very cheap in Russia and can be as low as 350 Russian Ruble (£4.20) a month.
This is where things get a little more expensive. Russians live cheap when it comes to transport and utilities but they make up for it when it comes to groceries.
Although, there are plenty of affordable supermarkets all over the country if you want good quality food and wine you must pay the price. During the winter months, you’ll find that the vegetable counters in supermarkets are visibly drained and imported ones are excessively expensive. On average, the monthly minimum expenses for groceries per person is between 9,600 – 12,600 Russian Ruble (£115.33 – £151.37).
Eating out can be fairly cheap depending on where you choose to dine. The larger cities have more restaurant options with a range of different cuisines some more expensive than others.
A standard meal at a moderate restaurant will cost approximately 500 Russian Ruble (£6.01) while a three-course meal at a more refined establishment will cost around 2,000 Russian Ruble (£24.03). Long gone are the days of saving up for a night out because in Russia a bottle of 0.5L domestic beer costs just 60 Russian Ruble (£0.72). This price does double for imported beers whilst a bottle of wine starts from around 300p (£3.60).
The Russian Government funds the healthcare, but it’s often described as chaotic and unpredictable. If you’re considering moving to Russia and your employment package doesn’t include health insurance, then it’s recommended that you research private healthcare insurance options as the private healthcare in Russia is expensive and often requires you to pay upfront for the treatment you’re receiving.
Overall, you can easily live a comfortable life in Russia if your lifestyle isn’t extravagant. Even though groceries are expensive, property, transport and utilities mean that the cost of living remains low.
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