Author Topic: Living in Russia  (Read 661 times)

Offline LausTibiChriste

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Living in Russia
« on: October 12, 2021, 04:08:21 PM »
Heinrich asked me to do this, so I will oblige him. It turned out way longer than I anticipated, sorry for rambling.

To make it very clear from the beginning, I do not live in Russia, yet. But as soon as my visa goes through, I will be moving. Hopefully within the month. My wife is Russian and we live nearby, so we visit a lot. I think that gives me enough insight for now and will update in a year if all goes according to plan. Greg can give his insight too, he'd know more than I do.

Ultimately, I do not think moving to Russia is a smart move for Trads...at all. I'm doing it mainly for family reasons, not because I think it's some Christian utopia. I think too many people have their heads in the clouds and think they can just pick up, move and because there are no poofs there all will be swell.


1) Language - I've traveled a lot. The language barrier in Russia is very high compared to other places I've been. Very. They speak very little English there - even the youth don't speak that well (only one of my wife's friends can speak English and it's quite poor). Do you speak Russian? It's not an easy language to learn. - I'm doing ok, but it'll be at least 2 years before I can hold my own in a conversation and I immerse myself in it a LOT.  If you have a family you will NOT survive living there without speaking Russian. A single guy could get by with a bit of difficulty, but bringing a family and having to do the day-to-day things you need to do will be next to impossible. I've lived in 3 different E. European countries. Language isn't an issue until you start having kids - it's pissing my wife and I off not being able to speak to doctors, nurses, city offices etc where we live(one of the reasons we're moving to a country where at least one of us speaks the language)

I think this is the most important one because it affects the rest of the points:

2) Work - What the heck are you going to do for work? The English teacher market is already pretty saturated. Any English-speaking jobs are high-level (think C-Level executives) and usually they're transferred to a Russian branch office from the West. Start a company maybe, but again there's the language issue, and point #3 below. But it could be done. I'm starting a business I will run solely online, but Russia is dang near shutting down YouTube, Twitter, FB etc in the country. They already block LinkedIn. So that's something to keep in mind. You could go into agriculture - the government is investing massive amounts into their agriculture sector and I've heard of quite a few South African farmers moving. You could team up with your spouse if you have a Russian one, get her to do all the client-facing roles while you work on the actual meat & potatoes of the business - that's our plan if I can't work online. But if you work internally in Russia somehow, don't expect a lot of money, even if you do well. Working online and making even a medium-low Western income will have you living pretty comfortably.

3) Bureaucracy - Good luck getting there even if you want to. Lol. If you've never dealt with ex-Eastern Bloc bureaucracy you're in for a treat. It could be an Olympic sport for them. When we go to the offices to get my temporary residency next year, I'm bringing a lawyer, a laptop, a printer, and about 10,000 rubles...otherwise they'll send me home 9 times before they accept it. When you don't understand that this is just how they do it, it can be mind boggling annoying....to the point even the most modest of you will start talking like I do. We had to go back to the consulate 8 times for our son's passport, because letters didn't match and Lady A wanted it this way so when we changed it Lady B didn't like it and wanted it done the way you originally had it. Like building Ikea furniture, the fact my wife and I got through that whole process and aren't divorced is a miracle lol.

So there's that. Then there are the actual rules of are you allowed in or not? There are no spouse visas (kind of, they just changed the rules). There are investment visas coming down the pike, and there are business visas. I believe they have a lottery for temporary residency, but good luck even applying without being fully fluent in Russian. So I'm not exactly sure how an American family would even get there? Because I'm married to a Russkie, I'm outside the quota for temp residency permits so I could apply - but I would still have to take a language test and a history test (all in Russian)!! My wife took the language test and said it was hard af. Luckily, as the parent of a Russkie, I am exempt from those tests - otherwise we wouldn't be going anytime soon.

4) Religion - Why would Trads want to move to ground zero of Eastern Orthodoxy? Russians are rabid and make sedes look more Ecumenical than a JPII Assissi Pagan Ritual. I actually don't get why Trads (who's online identity in places like this is first and foremost their Faith) want to move somewhere that is rabidly against their religion and the small pockets of Catholicism that do exist are so NOey it'll make you throw up? Anyways, there are some TLMs - SSPX in Moscow every Sunday, and I believe the priest goes to Saint Petersburg on occasion (not sure the TLM situation there). There was a diocesan TLM in the Cathedral crypt, but that stopped because the priest was really old and sick. Additionally, my wife told me the Bishop is super liberal and loves TC so he's shutting down any chance of having the TLM. There are some sede chapels there, including CMRI, but I'm not sure how often they say Mass.
As for Eastern (which I am now, informally - formalities to be settled next year) there is Armenian liturgy every Sunday (they are trying to get their own Church built but the EOs are blocking it) [side note to single guys, go to that liturgy if you're ever in Moscow holy moly]. There's Byzantine Rite every Sunday in the crypt and a few pockets elsewhere (usually just a single priest who travels around). There is also a small Russian Catholic community in SpB.

5) Weather - If you're from the northern States or Canada, it's not much different than back home in places like Moscow. SpB can be brutal because it's on the water.

6) Infrastructure - Generally good in the bigger cities. Moscow's metro is amazing, and they're doing a lot to expand it/commuter trains, etc. Roads are fine but it's busy as heck. Air is really well developed, Aeroflot is a great airline and you can get to just about anywhere from Moscow, which has 3 major, 1 minor and 1 private airport. I haven't been on the intercity highways yet, but I think the major ones are fine, just like what you'd find elsewhere. Took the train to Yaroslavl once, it was comparable to any train in continental Europe except for the fact it actually arrived on time. 
The technological infrastructure there too is amazing. I remember a few years ago, my wife and I were in Montreal when we were dating. She paid for something with her card and IMMEDIATELY got a text message from her bank. My bank still doesn't have SMS alerting and it's 2021. It's a small, petty example but there's examples of tech like that all over Russia in their daily life and it's awesome.

7) People - Other than Iranians, I'd say Russians are some of the most hospitable people you'll ever meet - after you get to know them. They will legitimately think you're crazy if you smile at them in the street and they all look sour as hell. Get to know them though, and they're amazing. And if you're a single dude, even if you're ugly, fat and have no teeth you'll do ok. And if not just take a trip to Ukraine, then you'll really do ok.


Another point I like is their openness with Belarus - Great country and Minsk is amazing. More Catholic options in Belarus too, would recommend it over Russia to be honest


Again, if you wanna know anything else just ask. Hope Greg can pipe up if he has the chance too.


If I was an American and wanted to move, this would be my game plan:
1) Pick a high-demand skill, something that you can freelance or start your own small company in (SEO, programming, web design, digital marketing). I recommend something in the digital marketing space - it's easier to learn, less technical, + everyone needs it so it's easy to sell. There are guys out there pulling in $50,000/month just sending cold emails. In 6 months you could be well versed enough to start getting clients. Goal would be to make at least $3-4000 a month. If you can find a remote job that's fairly secure, that would work well too, but less secure imo. Start a digital marketing company that caters to Russian companies wanting to expand westward - plenty of those for the time being.
2) Start learning Russian, yesterday. DON'T take classes, they're useless. Immerse yourself by watching tons of movies, do a bit of research on who Stephen Krashen is and follow his methods. Forget Duolingo, it's nonsense. Glossika is good. I can give recommendations for resources too.
3) Travel there - though you can't right now BeCaUsE Of CoViD I dont think. But if you get a chance, go for a month, see what it's really like.
4) Find out how you would move there from a legal immigration viewpoint. Find a lawyer and ask them. I'm not sure, but there may be ways to move if you start your own company. Moving to a normal country can usually be done without a lawyer, but I recommend getting one because even the Russian authorities don't know the rules half the time (see point #2)
5) Once you have points 1-4 covered, move temporarily. Have a plan to bail if it goes south. Your wife (if you have one) might HATE it - YOU might hate it, doesn't matter. I wouldn't cut all your ties back home until you've lived there at least a year and have a better idea if it's actually for you.
6) If you don't know how to drink, better start learning.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2021, 04:20:00 PM by LausTibiChriste »
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Offline Heinrich

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2021, 04:17:15 PM »
Thanks. Very thoughtful of you. For the record, my request was out of curiosity, not speculation data. I wouldn’t move to Eastern Europe as an Exodus. Prayers and best of fortunes in Mother Russia.
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Offline LausTibiChriste

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2021, 04:20:36 PM »
Thanks. Very thoughtful of you. For the record, my request was out of curiosity, not speculation data. I wouldn’t move to Eastern Europe as an Exodus. Prayers and best of fortunes in Mother Russia.

Sure, but I've seen it come up periodically over the years, so I thought I'd say my piece.
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Offline diaduit

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2021, 08:22:10 PM »
What are the houses like? How much is rent for an average 4 bed PM?
 
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Offline LausTibiChriste

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2021, 04:58:12 AM »
What are the houses like? How much is rent for an average 4 bed PM?

In the cities there are almost no houses...it's quite unlike the suburbs of North America. Typical Moscow neighbourhood looks like this:



On the very outskirts there may be a few houses, but not a lot

In Moscow there are a lot of "cottage villages" popping up with modern homes that have a range of styles. They're modern little communes (for lack of a better term) that usually have all the amenities like schools, restaurants, gyms etc. They're typically about 1-1.5hrs by train to get to Moscow (same times for driving). Places like Istra and Otradnoe for example.

Typical rent in Moscow varies greatly depending on how close to the city centre you are (as with anywhere), but typically for a 3 bed flat:

150-200,000rub/month ($2-2700) in the city
60-100,000rub/mth ($835-1400) towards the outskirts

Houses in these communes will be closer to the city prices above.

Housing is stupid expensive in Moscow, cheaper in SpB, way cheaper in other places like Kazan or Ekaterinburg.


 
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Offline ChairmanJoeAintMyPrez

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2021, 09:42:34 AM »
Those brutalist housing projects are reason enough to stay away
 
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Offline diaduit

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2021, 02:26:02 PM »
While looking at those concrete boils fills me with horror, at least they saw fit to keep them together while allowing massive amount of lands to one side and also the train station running closely to the residential flats.

Here we'd have massive sprawling concrete jungles with a token small park for a huge area and not as organised at the photo above.
 
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Offline ChairmanJoeAintMyPrez

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2021, 02:32:00 PM »
While looking at those concrete boils fills me with horror, at least they saw fit to keep them together while allowing massive amount of lands to one side and also the train station running closely to the residential flats.

Here we'd have massive sprawling concrete jungles with a token small park for a huge area and not as organised at the photo above.

If you haven't seen Koyaanisqatsi, it's time.
 

Offline LausTibiChriste

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2021, 03:33:29 AM »
There's lots of socialist architecture, sure, but there's also a ton of beauty. It's comparable to any central or Eastern European city. And better than glass and concrete soul-sucks like Vancouver





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Offline GiftOfGod

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2021, 05:59:09 AM »
For those who desire to live rural: a problem with Russia is that their bureaucracy is inescapable. In the USA, you can buy a piece of land in the middle of nowhere, build a house, and dig a well without asking the government for permission, legally. But in Russia, even in remote Siberia, you have to get licenses, permits, and inspections for everything. I would assume bribes are needed as well. It's also illegal for non-citizens in Russia to own firearms. You can own long guns after citizenship but you won't be allowed to own a handgun for at least 5 years after citizenship. The process of legally owning a handgun in Russia makes Illinois look like Alaska. You have to be seen by a doctor and all that crap. Putin reacts like American leftists when mass shootings happen: MORE GUN CONTROL IS THE ANSWER!!!!!
« Last Edit: October 14, 2021, 06:23:06 AM by GiftOfGod »
 

Offline LausTibiChriste

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2021, 06:18:36 AM »
For those who desire to live rural: a problem with Russia is that their bureaucracy is inescapable. In the USA, you can buy a piece of land in the middle of nowhere, built a house, and dig a well without asking the government for permission, legally. But in Russia, even in remote Siberia, you have to get licenses, permits, and inspections for everything. I would assume bribes are needed as well. It's also illegal for non-citizens in Russia to own firearms. You can own long guns after citizenship but you won't be allowed to own a handgun for at least 5 years after citizenship. The process of legally owning a handgun in Russia makes Illinois look like Alaska. You have to be seen by a doctor and all that crap. Putin reacts like American leftists when mass shootings happen: MORE GUN CONTROL IS THE ANSWER!!!!!

Lmao prove it
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Offline GiftOfGod

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2021, 06:22:29 AM »
For those who desire to live rural: a problem with Russia is that their bureaucracy is inescapable. In the USA, you can buy a piece of land in the middle of nowhere, built a house, and dig a well without asking the government for permission, legally. But in Russia, even in remote Siberia, you have to get licenses, permits, and inspections for everything. I would assume bribes are needed as well. It's also illegal for non-citizens in Russia to own firearms. You can own long guns after citizenship but you won't be allowed to own a handgun for at least 5 years after citizenship. The process of legally owning a handgun in Russia makes Illinois look like Alaska. You have to be seen by a doctor and all that crap. Putin reacts like American leftists when mass shootings happen: MORE GUN CONTROL IS THE ANSWER!!!!!

Lmao prove it
This was told to me personally by a man who lived in Siberia. But please, if you don't believe me, find out for yourself. And just pray that Russia grants you an exit visa (yes, Russia still has those), allowing you to leave the country with your dashed dreams, empty pockets, and a sore butthole.

Regarding "Lmao prove it": https://boards.4chan.org/pol/thread/343360900 (warning: NSFW)
« Last Edit: October 14, 2021, 07:38:36 AM by GiftOfGod »
 

Offline Christe Eleison

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Thank you, LAUS! :) Living in Russia
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2021, 05:28:33 AM »
There's lots of socialist architecture, sure, but there's also a ton of beauty. It's comparable to any central or Eastern European city. And better than glass and concrete soul-sucks like Vancouver







Laus, thanks for the great thread & detailed information!
I really like these pictures! They are gorgeous! :thumbsup:
The first one looks a bit like Venice, lovely! ;D

If you can think of anything else or have additional pictures, please share with us!

I LUV this thread! Russia is a beautiful country, with amazing literature, music, architecture, scenery, museums, ballet, opera, etc. I think it would be awesome to take the Trans Siberian train & take it all in! And I really LUV their farmers markets!

A journey on the Trans-Siberian Express train Rossiya is the longest train ride in the world. The train made its first trip in 1966. It departs from Yaroslavsky train station in Moscow and after crossing two continents and six time zones, arrives in Vladivostok 7 days later. The train stops in approximately 140 cities.                           
 
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Offline Christe Eleison

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2021, 09:33:26 AM »
Beautiful views, history, gorgeous Churches, etc.
And I am sure that this type of experience is pretty pricey....

Golden Eagle Luxury Trains

'This “Cruising on Rail” episode is produced by Cruising on Rail media productions, aired by Amazon Prime and documents the classic Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express journey by private train.
The 15-day all-inclusive journey between Moscow and Vladivostok, is the only way to complete the world's longest single service railway journey in luxury, comfort and style.

Tour itinerary; MOSCOW – KAZAN – YEKATERINBURG – NOVOSIBIRSK – IRKUTSK – LAKE BAIKAL – ULAN UDE - ULAAN BAATAR – VLADIVOSTOK'
 
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Offline Greg

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Re: Living in Russia
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2021, 10:12:06 AM »
In Siberia you can pretty much do whatever the heck you like if you are earning more than the local cops or inspectors.

A small bribe takes care of just about anything like a well or a fence or a small house extension.

Russia has bureaucracy yes, but it also has bribery.  It is like tax, but much cheaper and you don't need to file and fill in forms.  Just bribe the official who will stamp your forms that they fill in or simply turn a blind eye.

Make friends with the local bosses and mini-garchs, invite them over for shaslik and beers and vodka, teach their children English and then your bureaucratic problems will melt away like Siberian snow in May.  This is true in just about every former Soviet state with the exception of Estonia.

You call Boris he fixes it, you give him a bottle of whiskey as a thank you.  Next time you fire up the banya he brings two bottles of whiskey.  You are up a bottle of whiskey.  Boris does not care, he still has a bottle of whiskey and is with his Canadian friend in the banya sharing stories about drug smugglers.

On the outskirts of Moscow the bureaucrats probably earn more than you (those bribes are by new Russians who are worth millions), but in Siberia they are still affordable.  Then your fixer needs to be friendly with those bureaucrats.  They will lower the bribe because you are poorer or sometimes just do it for free and sometimes not at all.

I have good friends in Omsk, Sverdlovsk, Kaluga, Peter and Moscow and I know the member of the Duma for the Lake Baikal Region too.  I also know some Chechans if you need anyone beaten or killed.

I hope you have a great life there.  When this Covid shit is over I will visit you.

If you are not fatalistic already learn to be.  Accepting your fate is how to be happy in Russia.
 
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