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Question:
My husband has been approached re a job in Moscow and will be flying over for an interview in the next 10 days. We know nothing whatsoever about that part of the world and as it is with a company we do not know, we don't know if they even have expatriate policies in place. We are also not sure whether we will bring our teenage children, or leave them at boarding school in our own country. We have a good standard of living and a large house/garden and two dogs. What sort of accommodation can we expect in Moscow, and what sort of money are we talking per month. What is usually included in the price? Having read some of the other questions, it appears that an apartment in the city area, in an expat area - if anything is available there - is what you will likely recommend. Three bedrooms will probably be sufficient. Are dogs generally permitted in apartments and is it easy to exercise them? Is security an issue with living arrangements? Does one require a garage - I don't know whether expats drive or drivers are provided? Do expats generally bring all their goods and furniture or are there lots of furnished places? This and any other information would be appreciated. We have only ever lived abroad under the umbrella of a large multi-national where we always felt very secure. This is going to be quite different. Is there anyone who we can chat to in order to establish whether our "package" is sufficient? Thanks for any help you can provide.
Belle Anne King
Answer:
Dear Belle Anne King,
Currently there are hundreds of multinational companies operating in Moscow. The majority of major multinational companies provide housing budgets and a variety of other perks to their senior-level expatriates. These may include fitness club memberships, a personal driver, a health care package, etc. Most likely, your husband's new company will try to provide you an "umbrella" concerning your level comfort and security. The expatriate community in Moscow is very large and compared to other Russian cities, Moscow offers expatriates a much higher level of familiarity in terms of entertainment, dining, and schooling. With the Russian economy booming, Moscow is especially attractive in terms of career development. However, like most cities with 10+ million people, the pace of life in Moscow feels extremely fast. There are a number of schools in Moscow that you may find suitable for your teenage children. Please have a look at the following websites: (All three schools offer courses for teens up to the age of 18): The English International School: www.englishedmoscow.com, The British International School: www.bismoscow.com, The Anglo-American School: www.aas.ru. One of your questions was regarding driving, which happens to be quite frusterating in Moscow due to consistantly heavy traffic! Many expatriates buy/lease cars in Moscow or have personal drivers. Intermark Auto Leasing offers comprehensive operational leasing: www.intermarkleasing.com. Underground parking is limited in Moscow, although can be found in a number of complexes in the city center. A larger number of apartments have gated parking nearby the residence. For those who cannot bear to stand in traffic jams, Moscow offers an efficient but overcrowded Metro system. Moscow's Metro stations are beautiful, relatively safe, but not extremely clean. Many expatriates relocating to Moscow do bring their furniture to Moscow. There are numerous fantastic furniture stores here but overall their prices are rather steep. I believe that the majority of apartments in Moscow come furnished, but in many of the newer developments are not. You shouldn't have a problem finding an apartment owner who will allow dogs, but of course there are some landlords who don't allow pets. Moscow has plenty of parks and pleasant areas to exercise your dogs - a nearby park might be one of the requirements to name during your home search. For a nicely renovated, medium size (100+ sq./m) two or three-bedroom apartment in a popular center neighborhood, you are probably going to pay somewhere between $4,000-8,000/month. If the size is 150-200 sq/m, the price will be closer to $8,000-12,000/month. These are rough estimates and of course the price determinants are numerous. The rent usually doesn't include international telephone calls, Internet, or satellite TV but can be negotiated with the landlord. From the description of your current living situation I think that you and your family may be most comfortable in a place like Syetun: www.syetun.ru or Serebriany Bor. The latter is located West of the city center and within reasonable driving distance from the British International School and the Anglo-American School.
Paul Nordlund
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