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Question:
My wife (Russian & US citizen) and I (US citizen) plan on moving to Moscow in 2009. Is $4,000 per month ok to live comfortable in Moscow? How much is high-speed internet? What about overall cost-of-living comparison with US income and expenses? (Online Resources). Spaseeba.
Jonathan D.
Answer:
Dear Jonathan,

Thank you very much for your posting. Mercer's cost of living report for 2008 has concluded that for the third consecutive year Moscow tops the pole of the most expensive cities in the world to live for expatriates. "Moscow's position...has been strengthened by the appreciation of the rouble against the US dollar and the continuous rising accommodation costs" Ms Traber of Mercers. I'm not clear from your question whether the $4000 includes your housing budget or whether that is just for your housing budget but I hope to be able to respond to both scenarios.

If your housing budget is $4000 you will be able to find a comfortable 1/2 bedroom apartment in a central Moscow location with a western renovation which would be approximately 60-90sq meters in size. For your reference, two bedroom central Moscow apartments can command as much as $20,000. per month so as you can imagine factors such as location, quality of renovation, standard of building and security etc can impact quite considerably on pricing.

If your budget is to include housing, the minimum you would be looking to spend to live comfortably would be circa $2- 2500 per month on rent. Apartments within this budget range are likely to be located outside the garden ring and are unlikely to be western renovated but can be comfortable and clean none the less.

High speed internet would be approximately $25 - $35 per month although this may be something that can be negotiated with the landlord to be included in the monthly rent if a contract with a provider is already in place.

In terms of daily living expenses, eating out/ entertainment/ bars/ clothes and home furnishing purchases can be considerably more expensive than the US as can some supermarket shopping although affordable alternatives are in abundance if you seek out those frequented by locals. Transportation however is inexpensive in comparison.

I'd be happy to answer any further questions you may have. Kind regards,
Tamara Ayoub
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