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St. Petersburg and Moscow Become More Affordable for Expats

Published: July 11, 2014 (Issue # 1819)



  • St. Petersburg, Russia's cultural capital, fell 12 places to 35th on Mercer's annual list of the world's most expensive cities for expats.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Moscow has slipped seven places to ninth on an annual list of the world's most expensive cities for expats.

The rankings for 2014, published Thursday by global human resources consulting firm Mercer, were compiled based on the comparative cost of more than 200 goods and services, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment in 211 cities.

Moscow placed second last year — making it the most expensive city in Europe for emigres — but almost slipped out of the top 10 thanks to a dramatic weakening of the ruble against the dollar, exacerbated by the drama of Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Moscow's European title has been handed over to Zurich, which came fifth in the standings. Geneva in sixth place and Bern in eighth have also overtaken Moscow over the last year.

St. Petersburg, Russia's cultural capital, fell 12 places to 35th.

First place was taken — for the second year in a row — by Luanda, the capital of Angola. N'Djamena in Chad and Hong Kong fill out 2014's top three.

Ed Hannibal, a partner at Mercer's Mobility, explained the high rankings of the two African cities by saying that while they are both relatively inexpensive, they end up being pricey for expats because of the high cost of importing goods.

Added to that, accommodation that meets the standards of expats is also very expensive there, Hannibal said.

Other cities in the top 10 include Singapore in fourth and Shanghai in 10th.

New York, in 16th place, is the most expensive city in North America.

Despite seeing moderate price increases, Western European cities — particularly those in Britain and Germany — tended to move up in the rankings, mainly due to the strengthening of local currencies against the dollar, said Nathalie Constantin-Metral, who compiled the rankings.

Glasgow leapt 49 places to 108th, while Berlin jumped from 99th to 68th.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. The tragic tenor’s work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russia’s greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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