Moscow is not so expensive as previously thought

A key line in the refrain of one of the best-known Soviet-era songs read: “My dear city, my gilded Moscow.” The song was first broadcast over the radio some sixty years ago. Nowadays the words can hardly convey the original patriotic meaning and lofty sentiments. The daily routine of living in the capital makes both Muscovites and foreigners interpret the line in a literal way as Moscow is rapidly turning into one of the most expensive cities of the word.

The authoritative consulting agency Economist Intelligence Unit has recently published the cost-of-living rating list of the world’s largest cities. Over the last six months Russia’s capital has climbed seven places to number 22 on the latest list. Moscow’s uphill movement on the cost-of-living scale looks quite impressive. Three years ago Moscow occupied 35th position, climbing 13 places from number 42 three and a half years earlier.

Muscovites still have to catch up with the residents of Oslo who spend at least 30% more on daily needs. However, the comfort level is considerably higher in the capital of Norway than in Moscow. The top ten of the world’s most expensive megalopolises is as follows:

1. Oslo
2. Tokyo
3. Reykjavik
4. Osaka
5. Paris
6. Copenhagen
7. London
8. Seoul
9. Geneva
10. Helsinki

It is worthy of notice that Moscow has been the most expensive East European city for many years. It still is, and the gape between Moscow and the competitors keeps widening as years go by. Warsaw and Prague – Moscow’s closest neighbors in Eastern Europe on the list of Economist Intelligence Unit – have dropped to number 67 from number 55 a year earlier.

The cost of living in the above cities is by 20% cheaper than that in Moscow. In terms of cost of living, Budapest is 30% cheaper than Moscow, while Bucharest is nearly 40% cheaper than the Russian capital.

The rating by Economist Intelligence Unit is based on the cost of a basket of goods and services used regularly by city dwellers. The cost includes spending on foodstuffs, public transport, utilities. However, the costs relating to the purchase or lease of real estate are not taken into consideration.

On the face of it, a huge difference between the lists of the above agency and those released by Mercer Human Resource Consulting stems from a different approach to the classification. According to a rating list released by Mercer Human Resource Consulting in late June, Moscow is ranked the most expensive city of the world. The rating lists by the above agency are usually commissioned by large companies with representative offices in Moscow or with employees visiting Russia. Therefore, Moscow invariably gets the top places in their ratings due to sky-high hotel and restaurant bills, costly medical services and pricey entertainments.


Translated by Guerman Grachev

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov