Expats in Moscow: 9 things to know about Moscow before taking the plunge

Have you ever heard the expression “Peacefully chaotic?” I doubt you did.

When asked to describe Moscow in a few words, I sigh and say that Third Rome is peacefully chaotic.

Peaceful because you are safe wherever you go. Chaotic due to its fast paced nature. If you’re not careful, you might get lost in the bustle of Moscow.

Expats in Moscow - 21222

That said, whether you’re coming for the legendary museums, on business, to school, or just to catch a glimpse of the beautiful views of Moscow, here is a list of things you need to know before heading here.

  1. Moscow is not always cold

Would you believe me if I told you the meteorologist read –42.20C in Moscow a few decades ago? It happened in January 1940.

Does that sound scary? Is not it. The good news, however, is that temperatures are relatively more favorable these days. As in most parts of the world, winter is generally the coldest month. But even then, temperatures don’t normally drop beyond -100C or so.

Currently Moscow is in summer and the meteorologist today reads 29 0C, which is sunnier than what we have in the USA (22.20VS).

All in all, don’t dread the Moscow weather. Instead, research the prevailing climate before you come so you know what to prepare for.

  1. Finding accommodation (real estate) is super easy

Whether you are looking for rental apartments, such as a dish, to reside there during your stay, or you are interested in buying real estate for sale in Russia, there are so many reputable outlets waiting behind the scenes to help you. One of these companies is Moscowestates.com, which specializes in everything related to real estate ads in Moscow.

They help expats find affordable or luxurious properties right in the heart of Moscow, Russia.

Suppose you plan to visit Moscow in a few months, you can use their extensive database to search for all kinds of real estate listings, including rental apartments with excellent views, penthouses in famous Moscow residential complexes, suburban mansions, closed community residences, palaces, mansions and chalets.

In short, no matter what type of property you are looking for in Moscow; companies like Moscow Estates can help you find it in seconds.

  1. Come loaded with Russian or get a translator

As expected, Moscow doesn’t speak much English. Although a good portion of the residents understand and can converse in English, it is always best to perfect your Russian before coming.

If you think that is too much to ask, you can download a few language translators to your mobile device, which will help you navigate your way into the heart of Moscow.

To get started, you can download Yandex Translate. It works online and offline and can translate up to 94 languages, including Russian.

What’s more, it can even translate text from photos.

  1. Prepare for a fast-paced experience

Most of the big cities around the world claim to run fast-paced companies, but you will rarely see people walking at lightning speed in these places.

In contrast, Muscovites walk as if they were running. Don’t be surprised if someone accidentally bumps into you on your way to the metro. He doesn’t want to hurt you. He’s just in a hurry. Everyone is in a hurry here, hence the name RUSSHia (LOL.)

Your best bet is to improve your walking game so that you aren’t the guy everyone is pushing around in a queue or on the bus.

  1. Never leave your passport behind

As an expatriate in Moscow, your ID is your passport. For security reasons, Moscow police officers can check the identity documents of people at random. So, to avoid any embarrassment or delay, you should always have your passport with you.

  1. You won’t find many crosswalks

Maybe you have a habit of jumping on pedestrian bridges when crossing the roads in your home country. You won’t find many here.

Moscow is more concerned with underground passages. These passages are the way you make your way through the streets.

For beginners, navigating these underground passages can be a challenge. But not if you downloaded Yandex before coming. Yandex Metro is the Moscow version of Google Map, although more reliable. The Yandex metro allows you to find your way in and around the Moscow metro.

Once you’ve started your journey, you simply indicate your “starting station” and “destination” on the app, and the app tells you which line to take, where to turn and alternative routes to follow. Moreover, it will also help you calculate the time remaining before reaching your destination.

  1. Carpooling is super active in Moscow

Don’t go to Moscow and start waving your hands for taxis to stop for you. As in most major cities, Moscow also has provisions for carpooling. There is Uber, and there is Yandex Taxi. These two platforms are the most popular carpooling platforms in the region.

So before you go, download one of the apps to help you connect with a driver when you arrive.

  1. Prepare to carry cash

It is true that Moscow accepts cashless payments, but credit cards do not work everywhere. So, to avoid getting stranded, you should have enough cash on you to make your way through Moscow’s series of concentric rings.

  1. Wifi is free everywhere

If there’s one thing Moscow gives away for free, it’s internet access. Everywhere you go there is free wi-fi, from bars to clubs, restaurants to pubs, hotels to the metro.

You really don’t have to worry about buying cellular data. Internet access here is almost free. Unless, of course, you need to do your own thing in your apartment.