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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

Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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