What it’s like to live in Moscow in 2018

matrioshka

What do you think life is like, when you’re living in a foreign country?  Especially a country as enigmatic as the Russian Federation?  I want to give you a little peek into my life here in Moscow, because I’m sure if you don’t live here, you cannot imagine what life’s like here.

First of all, I must say that things have changed a lot since I first came here in January 2007.  There have been so many changes that sometimes I’m even a bit nostalgic for the ‘old’ Moscow.

(And if you wonder why I’m here, you can read about it in this post)

It’s a lot more modern now, compared to back then.  Public transport has improved dramatically, the centre of the city has many more pedestrian zones for people to enjoy, and Moscow City has blossomed into a business centre any European city would be proud of.

Shopping

Let’s start with shopping.  11 years ago there were not a lot of opportunities to pay with your bank card in the shops.  Now, it’s everywhere.  We have the technology – tap and pay, finger-scanning security, you name it, you can pay with it.

There are shops everywhere in Moscow.  And a lot of HUGE shopping centres.  There’s one right near my flat, called Metropolis.  It’s so enormous I still haven’t been through the entire place yet (after living in the neighbourhood for 5 years).

Eleseevski
One of Moscow’s 24 hour supermarkets

You can buy whatever you want in Moscow (sanctions permitting).  And we’re really spoilt with 24 hour shops, including supermarkets, chemists, and even florists.  You can get anything you want almost at any time.  Except alcohol.  That’s restricted and you can’t buy it between 11pm and 8am.  Apparently.

beer and sweets
You can buy almost anything in Moscow, including beer and sweets

All different types of food is available here (except for whatever is sanctioned that we can’t get from Europe).  If you can’t find what you want in the supermarket, you can go to a local fresh market, they’re everywhere, and find all kinds of fruit and vegies, as well as herbs, honey and other foods.

vegetable shop
There are lots of fruit and vegetable shops in Moscow

Housing

Most people in Moscow live in flats.  There are almost no houses in Moscow.  Some of the buildings we live in are quite rundown, but it’s not the outside that counts.  Once you go inside your flat it’s your castle and the outside view can be deceiving.  Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

But a lot of flats are quite small and not terribly comfortable for families.  On the upside, utilities are cheap compared with European countries.

Public transport

Public transport has improved out of site in the past 11 years.  We have modern buses, trams, trolleybuses, and metro carriages.  There are still some older ones in use, but the really old ones are disappearing.  And the older ones get a makeover so they look newer.  In the trams and trolleybuses in winter the seats are sometimes heated.  It’s appreciated, believe me.

heated tram seats
These tram seats were heated – nice

The metro is fast and efficient, even if it’s a little crowded at certain times of the day.  It beats the buses and other road transport hands down because you’re not going to get caught up in a traffic jam while you’re underground.  And it’s beautiful.

Moscow metro
The Moscow metro – fast and efficient
moscow metro
…and beautiful

In the metro all the signs are in English as well as Russian, and the announcements for the next stations are also in English now, too.  I think this was introduced for the World Cup this year, but of course it will stay.

Metro signs in English
Metro signs in English

Going out – night life

Cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs are everywhere.  All levels of sophistication and price available.  And some even open 24 hours.  You can have dinner at 3.00am if you really need it.  I’ve done it.  It’s great.

Airports

Coming and going from Moscow to the 3 main airports is a breeze these days.  There are trains, called the Aeroexpress, that will take you from the airports to the centre (or vice versa) in no more than 45 minutes for 500 roubles.  It’s cheaper than a taxi if you’re only 1 or 2 people, but with 3 or more people it might be cheaper to take a taxi, depending on where in Moscow you want to go.

Weather

The weather isn’t as extreme as some people think.  Of course it gets cold in winter, but not so cold that you can’t go out and play in the park or take the dog or the kids for a walk.  It’s only when it gets colder than minus 15 degrees C that it becomes difficult to stay outside for any length of time (for me, anyway).  And it’s not often so cold during the day.  Minus 10 degrees C is certainly ‘warm’ enough to walk for a while outside and enjoy the cold, fresh air.

cold
Going for a winter walk

And summer is usually warm enough to pop down to your local park and sunbathe – for a few weeks of summer, at least.

sunbathing in the park
Summer sunbathing in the park

So, that’s about it I think.  Life in Moscow in 2018 is wonderful!  I couldn’t have imagined that it would be so good to live here when I first arrived here so long ago.  Of course, I’m a foreigner, and I don’t have to deal with the general hassles of being a citizen (owning a car and a flat, or finding a job, having a baby etc).  Life is good here.

~ Cheryl

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Author: Cheryl

I'm an Australian woman who is now living in a village in rural Bulgaria. I lived for 12 years in Moscow, Russian Federation, working as an English language teacher. My current loves are my husband and my vegetable garden.

10 thoughts on “What it’s like to live in Moscow in 2018”

  1. Russia has always been a fascination to me and we have visited St Petersburg but not Moscow. That is on my list. It has certainly come a long way since the days of the Cold War and I enjoyed looking at your photos. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and have a great week. x

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    1. Thanks Sue! Moscow is now a very cosmopolitan city with cafes on the footpaths and all the big names in shopping and other chain stores. I’m not sure I like it, but as long as the architecture doesn’t change (I mean, as long as they don’t destroy the old buildings to put new ones like they do in Australia), then at least it will hold some of its history. I love walking in the centre of Moscow – I hope you manage to make it here for a visit one day soon! Thanks for dropping by. 🙂 x

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  2. What a fascinating insight into life in Moscow, and the comparisons you’ve given show it has changed a great deal since 2007. Really enjoyed your post #mlstl

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    1. Hi Debbie, thanks for reading! Moscow’s becoming much like any other big European city now. I’d love to go further into the centre of Russia and live in a more ‘soviet’ city – they’re changing a lot more slowly than Moscow so there would still be many things left over from ‘soviet’ culture and lifestyle that could be experienced. Thank you for reading! 🙂 x

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  3. Hi Cheryl, Moscow sounds so interesting and a lot like places we’ve been in Eastern Europe. I love what you said about not judging a book by it’s cover, when talking about the buildings. That sounds like the buildings here in the Republic of Georgia. Would love to visit Moscow someday, but we need a Visa, and it would be a little pricey for us. We live on an average pension from the US. Since I just found your blog, recently, I’ll go back to your posts and read about your day to day living. I think I read in your last post that you teach English. Is that right? My daughter lives in the Netherlands and is also teaching English. I really enjoyed your post and will share this on fb.

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    1. Hi Christina, thank you for visiting again 🙂 I can’t wait to visit Georgia, and maybe live there for some time, since their visa regime is so relaxed! Yes, unfortunately the visas are expensive to come here and they limit tourists to only 30 days so it’s not a very attractive proposition, unfortunately. Yes, I’ve been teaching English since 2007 when I first came to Russia. I’m getting a bit tired of it now, though, trying to find something new to keep myself busy and provide me with food and shelter 🙂 How long has your daughter been teaching English? I’m surprised they need English teachers in the Netherlands, they all speak it so well! Enjoy the rest of the week and I’m sure we’ll connect again soon. x

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  4. Cheryl you make it all sound so normal! Russia seems so exotic to me and I have visions that switch between the opulence of St Petersberg and the restrictions and sanctions of early Communism. It was fun having a glimpse of modern day Russia – still very different from Australia (especially all that snow!)
    Thanks for linking up to MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

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    1. Hi Leanne! Well, it is kind of normal for me after 12 years here! But in reality there’s still a lot that’s exotic here – including some things as simple (in Australia) as getting into an office building (showing passport and having them record your details, stating who you’re visiting…) it can be pretty intimidating and just plain annoying sometimes! But, it’s fun, and I’m happy to be living here. Yes, the snow is the icing on the cake! Thanks for visiting me again. Looking forward to reading you on Monday 🙂 x

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  5. I know my FB friends will enjoy this post Cheryl! Thanks for sharing all the information and photos. What a wonderful experience! My son and his family live in the Middle East and it was such a great experience to see life there up close too. Sharing for #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Mary Lou, thank you for your kind words 🙂 And thank you for reading and sharing my post about Moscow. I love Moscow, and I love sharing Moscow with anyone who wants to know about it! I’m happy that people are interested in this amazing place, there is so much negativity surrounding Russia that it’s refreshing to know that there are people who will take the time to listen to someone who lives there. I’ve never been to the Middle East. It’s also a region that gets a lot of negative comments by people who haven’t been there. Great to hear that you had a good experience there! Thank you for your support! Have a nice week! 🙂

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