moving to russia

Moving to Russia

Russia Score
Shithole Paradise

What is Russia?

moving to russia

Russia is the largest country in the world, with a dark history and a probably bleak future

The Russian Federation, also known as Mother Russia, formerly known as the Soviet Union, currently known as Putin’s Paradise, is a massive transcontinental country.

Russia’s truly large, on the map below I wasn’t even able to completely show it because Google maps didn’t zoom out more …

It covers 1/8th of the world’s inhabitable landmass, and is the largest country in the world. It has the same surface area as Pluto.

Russia spans across 11 time zones, borders 16 other countries, but perhaps surprisingly only has a population of 146 million, less than half of the US.

It’s one of the world’s least densely populated and urbanized countries.

I’m sure you know a bit about Russian history, because wow, has it ever been eventful.

Before the early 20th century, Russia had a tsar – basically a king, with all the shit that follows from such a system.

In 1917 the communists revolted, and Russia became the first true socialist state:  the Soviet Union.

A lot of people died in the process, but the SU grew rapidly to superpower-level, and was the largest rival of the US in the second half of the 20th century.

Of course, the Soviet Union was corrupt from within and based on a flawed system, so it collapsed in 1991, ushering in a few years of crisis.

In 1993 Russia became a federal semi-presidential republic, but after a mere 7 years it made the fatal flaw of “electing” Vladimir Putin in 2000.

22 years later, the dude’s still in power and causing all kinds of mayhem in the world.

Russia at this point is again an authoritarian state, with all the encompassing shenanigans like low freedom of press and civil liberties, and of course high corruption.

Human rights are a joke in Russia, but there’s free education and health care for all citizens.

That said, Russia is an economic power house (although in decline or at least not growing much) which shouldn’t be underestimated, as has become very obvious in 2022.

As long as we’re relying on oil and natural gas, Russia’s going to be powerful.

Geographically speaking, Russia’s got mountains (plenty of those), a very long coastline, islands, a semi-desert, polar deserts, steppe, over 100.000 rivers, gigantic lakes (Lake Baikal contains over 1/5th of the world’s fresh surface water), expansive forests, and plains in the Siberian tundra.

As you probably guessed, Russia is generally pretty damn cold, although there are some moderate regions as well.

Russia maintains diplomatic relations with nearly 200 countries, is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, a member of the G20, and other prominent international groups.

Fun fact: while Russia’s very much opposed to a lot of the Western nations (the US and the EU predominantly), it has great relations with China and Turkey.

If World War 3 were to erupt, it’s pretty obvious how the sides would be formed.

russia map
It's really fucking big, Google Maps didn't even zoom out enough to show it entirely
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Requirements for moving to Russia

The requirements for moving to Russia are pretty tight, as every Westerner will need to get a visa beforehand.

There used to be an option for an eVisa, but that’s on hold right now – for obvious reasons.

After that, you could apply for a temporary residence permit, which can be turned into a permanent one after a year.

Citizenship is possible, but you’d need to renounce your current nationality, which seems like a big no-no.

The cost of living is pretty low, and a moderate English proficiency suggests a medium language barrier.

However, the main requirement for moving to Russia is being able to deal with the many disadvantages this country has, such as the cold weather, the kleptocracy, the dictatorship, almost inevitable clash with the West, and so on.

What is the cost of living in Russia?

The cost of living in Russia is pretty low, around $1,200 per person.

However, you’ll have to pay taxes on your income, and I’m guessing you’ll have to pay more than a few bribes as a foreigner, so aim for a budget of $2,000 to $2,500 per month.

Benefits of living in Russia

  • Low cost of living

    If you make around $2,000 a month, you shouldn’t have an issue living in Russia

  • Least likely to be nuked by Russia

    If you live in Russia, you should be safe from Russian nukes ... unless they make a mistake because of their 1980's technology or what have you

  • Beautiful, diverse country

    Russia's got a lot of awesome vistas, like mountain ranges, forests, many rivers, tundra, steppes, and so on

  • Decent permanent residence options

    You can get a Temporary Residence Permit, valid for 3 years, not extendable. After one year, you can apply for Russian permanent residency

life in russia for expats

Downsides of living in Russia

  • Cold and dark

    Russia’s in general very cold, rainy and dark

  • Low economic growth

    <2% GDP growth over the last decade is pretty weak

  • International pariah

    Russia’s clashing with the West, which is hurting both sides and could escalate

  • Likely nexus of World War 3

    If WW3 were to kick off, Russia would probably be at the center of it

  • Civil rights are a joke

    Like speaking your mind? Don’t go to Russia

  • Shitty visa options

    Everyone needs to apply for a visa beforehand, and it can barely be extended

  • Taxes on international income

    If you live in Russia, you’ll have to pay taxes on your income

  • Putin

    Living in a dictatorship isn’t a great idea usually

Moving to Russia - by the numbers

Russia Score
Shithole Paradise

Climate: 2.8/10

Hours of sunshine (4/10) Temperature (1/10) Rainy days (0/10) Humidity (6/10)
6.5 C – 43.5 F

NOTE: Russia is massive, so these numbers are for Moscow and environs. If you want  to go live in Siberia, these won’t apply to you and will probably be even worse – and may Odin have mercy on your soul.

Level of English: 6/10

Moderate Proficiency

Cost of Living: 8/10

Minimum Annual Wage Average monthly cost single person

Taxes on international income: 7/10


If you reside in Russia for less than half a year, you’ll be paying 30% income tax on your Russian-sourced income.

If you’re a tax resident (when you spend more than half a year there), you’ll be paying taxes on your international income, at a 13% rate.

Economic growth: 3/10

Average GDP growth over the last 10 years: 1.8%

Safety: 6.8/10

Global Terrorism Index (6.5/10) Intentional homicide rate (5/10) Rape rate (9/10)

Visa: 6.3/10

  • Visa (7/10)

    All Western citizens need to apply for a visa in advance; some might be eligible for an eVisa (EU citizens). Usually, this type of Tourist visa allows you to spend time with Mother Russia for up to a month. It can be renewed for 10 days, provided the total duration doesn’t exceed 90 days per 180 day period. Americans can get a 3-year tourist visa, which allows them to stay up to 90 days per 180 days. A Business visa is possible, which allows you to stay for longer (1 to 12 months, multi-entry is possible) – but again you can only stay 90 out of 180 days

  • Permanent Residence (9/10)

    You can get a Temporary Residence Permit, valid for 3 years, not extendable. After one year, you can apply for Russian permanent residency

  • Citizenship (3/10)

    Naturalization is possible after 5 years of permanent residence, but of course you need to fulfill a language requirement, and renounce your previous citizenship – fuck that

living in russia

How is life for expats in Russia?

Oh boy, where do we start.

Russia has some redeeming qualities, such as the varied and absolute gorgeous natural vistas you can see there, and the low cost of living – but that’s about it.

The downsides are numerous and cannot be brushed aside.

You’ve got a dictator in charge of a kleptocracy with the world’s largest inventory of nuclear weapons, who likes to invade other nations.

Russia’s a pariah at the world stage at the moment – at least concerning the Western powers.

It gets along well with China, another nation which could clash with the West.

We’ve never been closer to another devastating war, one at a scale of which we’ve never seen before.

Stay the fuck away from Russia if you want a prosperous  life.

If you consider planting one of your flags in this cold and dark powder keg of a shit hole, I would strongly urge you to revise your plans.

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