Moving to Russia: What to Expect
Moving to Russia is no easy feat. The largest country in the world, with a long and tumultuous history, Russia has made significant economic progress in recent years with help from Western business investment. This investment has brought a very large number of expatriates from other countries. If this is you, it is important to be aware of some of the cultural differences you will discover in your time in Russia.
What you want to be aware of before arriving in Russia is that life here is difficult. The climate is harsh, pollution is high, and there is a relatively high rate of crime. The governmental bureaucracy can be stifling to progress and customer service is at some times non-existent. With that being said, expatriates seem to get special treatment, and you will find good schools and available health care. Overall your quality of life will be much higher than experienced by local Russians.
Jobs are available via internal company transfers before arrival. You will find it extremely difficult to find a job after arriving unless you speak the language and have connections. Securing a work visa can be a lengthy process so be sure to start that well before your arrival date. There is a high demand for English teachers so that is one option if your job does not pan out.
Russians value security, stability, and conservatism. In general, Russians are not welcome to change and are currently transitioning to a free country, so times are a bit confusing. They have great pride in their history.
Certain medications may be difficult to obtain, so be sure and stock up before you go or have some way to mail your prescriptions. It is illegal to film on the Russian metro and some other public places. Once you break their outer shell, the Russian people can be very hospitable and will invite you to their home if they think you are worth their time. If you are invited be sure and bring some kind of gift with y0u.
Enjoy your time in the Motherland!