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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 6:15 PM
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Moscow Ranks As World's Priciest City

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070618/...pensive_cities

Moscow ranks as world's priciest city
By JACKIE FARWELL, AP Business Writer Mon Jun 18, 5:11 PM ET

NEW YORK - Moscow is the world's most expensive city for the second year in a row, thanks to an appreciating ruble and rising housing costs, a new survey reports.

The cost of living for expatriates in the Russian capital is nearly 35 percent higher than in New York, which served as the base city for the survey released Monday.

London, estimated at 26 percent more expensive than New York, climbed three spots to second place on a strengthening British pound and steep rental prices.

South Korea's Seoul ranked third, followed closely by Tokyo at No. 4.

The survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting ranked 143 cities around the world, measuring the comparative cost of more than 200 areas such as housing, transportation and food. The findings are designed to help multinational employers determine compensation for their expatriate workers.

In Moscow, a luxury two-bedroom apartment will cost an expat $4,000 a month; a CD rings up at $24.83; one copy of an international daily newspaper is $6.30; and a fast-food hamburger meal totals $4.80.

A strengthening euro boosted 30 European cities to top spots on the 2007 list — Copenhagen, Geneva, Zurich and Oslo, respectively, placed among the top 10.

Eight Asian cities made the top 50, though Taipei, Taiwan, plunged 20 places to No. 48.

New York and Los Angeles were the only two North American cities to rank among the highest 50, though both fell in the rankings due to a depreciating U.S. dollar, Mercer reported.

The Big Apple dropped five places to No. 15, while Los Angeles fell to No. 42 from No. 29 in 2006.

Ranking as the least expensive city for the fifth year in a row was Paraguay's capital of Asuncion, where the cost of living is half that of New York, Mercer estimated.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 6:36 PM
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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 6:38 PM
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Here's another article:

http://www.businessweek.com/globalbi...ge_top+stories

Moscow, London Top Priciest Cities List
Europe June 18, 2007, 12:43PM EST text size: TT
by Andrew Rettman

The Russian and British capitals lead a survey of the most expensive cities for expatriates, with 30 of the top 50 in Europe

Moscow and London are the world's most expensive cities for expatriates to live in, with Europe in general topping a fresh "cost of living" survey by Swiss-based consulting firm Mercer.

The Russian capital came top a second year running, followed by London, which jumped three places from 2006. Copenhagen, Geneva, Zurich and Oslo also made the top 10, together with mostly Japanese towns and Hong Kong.

The global top 50 saw 30 European cities named. Milan (11), St Petersburg (12), Paris (13) and Dublin (16) also scored high, with Dublin now just 0.4 percent less expensive than New York and pricier than Rome.

The EU capital, Brussels - home to some 80,000 EU officials, press and lobbyists - came in at 44, between Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi, climbing from 70 last year. Sofia was Europe's cheapest city, coming in at 108th place.

Mercer pinned the rise of European costs on the strength of the rouble, the British pound and the Nordic krone currencies. But steep hikes in accommodation prices - especially in Moscow and London - were also a factor.

"Steep property rental costs, together with the strengthening of the British pound... contributed to [London's] high ranking," Mercer's Yvonne Traber said. The 18 June study also tots up food, transport and "entertainment" costs.

By comparison, the firm's March 2007 "quality of life" ranking was dominated by Switzerland, Germany, Nordic countries, Australia, Canada and the US. London (39) and Brussels (14) did well, but Moscow fell outside the top 50.

"A city with a high quality of living index is a safe and stable one, but it may be lacking the dynamic je ne sais quoi that makes people want to live [there]," the preamble to the March survey said.

"Sometimes you need a little spice to make a city exciting. But that 'spice' may also give a city a lower ranking."
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Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 7:16 PM
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Originally Posted by city dweller View Post
"A city with a high quality of living index is a safe and stable one, but it may be lacking the dynamic je ne sais quoi that makes people want to live [there]," the preamble to the March survey said.

"Sometimes you need a little spice to make a city exciting. But that 'spice' may also give a city a lower ranking."
Exactly right. I couldn't have put it better myself.

Moscow is a wild and exciting city... it has amazing nightlife and entertainment... No other city even comes close!
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  #5  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 9:08 PM
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^^^
When it comes to nightlife and entertainment no other city comes close to Bangkok, trust me

And I wouldn't be that excited about Moscow. It hardly tops other rankings such as MHRC's quality of life survey or World Financial Centres ranking which are apparently say more about the city. So there's still alot to improve.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2007, 11:34 PM
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to keep the ball rolling...

The Times

Tony Halpin in Moscow

When my wife and I ordered wine in a restaurant soon after our arrival in Moscow, the £15 price tag seemed like a good deal.

It was only when the waiter returned with two small glasses that we realised we had moved to the world's most expensive city. A bottle of this really quite ordinary plonk would have set us back a mere £50, we learned.

It was a rude introduction to what has been confirmed today in a study by Mercer Human Resource Consulting - that Moscow is now the costliest place in the world for expatriates to live, beating even London into second place.

Nine months later, I have become inured to the absurdity of paying 200 rubles for a cappucino, consoling myself that £4 isn't so outrageous for a good cup of coffee. And it's a bargain compared to that £6 slice of cheesecake I just ordered to go with it.

Once the centre of the global struggle against bourgeois decadence, Moscow now luxuriates in its new status as the capital of capitalist excess. The more "elitny" something is, the better, as far as many Russians are concerned.

Soft-top Bentleys appear to be the fashion must-have among the super rich on Moscow's choked roads this year, with high-end BMWs the run-around of choice for the merely very rich. The old joke about "new Russian" businessmen comparing identical ties to see who paid the most continues to ring true.

Even ordinary Muscovites seem to take a perverse pride that their city is No 1 in the World at something - even if it is the dubious honour of living in rip-off central. Many reason that it's only foreigners who are paying such prices and they can afford it, right?

Well, yes and no. Clearly, expats lack the networks of family, friends and local knowledge that helps Muscovites to live much more cheaply than foreigners. But much of the expense of living in Moscow is driven by soaring property prices, which gets passed on to everybody through higher costs for goods and services.

A friend went looking recently for a space to open a store and was offered 100 square metres on the ground floor of an apartment building. The estate agent said that the owner was keen to do a deal and had cut the rent to $1,250 - which turned out to be the price per square metre per year. A mere $125,000.

Finding an apartment can be an equally eye-popping experience for expats, where rents in central Moscow can range from $10,000 to $20,000 per month. As in London, buying a home has become the principal headache facing the city's growing middle class, with prices in excess of $3,000 per square metre.

Income tax in Russia is a flat 13 per cent, which has been a key factor in the booming consumer culture here. But high state tariffs on imported goods make shopping an expensive exercise.

Want shoes? Be ready to fork out £60 for even the cheapest pair in many stores. Want service with that? Forget it - Moscow may have embraced consumerism but standards of service remain resolutely Soviet and the customer is almost always wrong. If you have a problem with a purchase, be ready for a fight either to exchange your goods or to get your money back.

The Mercer survey highlighted the cost of international newspapers as one element of expensive expat life. At £14 an issue in my local store, I was certainly persuded that Vanity Fair was a luxury I should live without.

But prices for internet service are reasonable and mobile phone charges are low, so you never feel cut off from the rest of the world in Moscow.

There are bargains here too. Petrol is 40 pence per litre and a ride on Moscow's magnificent metro costs only about 35 pence, less if you buy multiple tickets.

You can smoke yourself to death for about a dollar a packet. And when it all gets too much you can hit the bottle cheaply, as many Russians do, provided you stick to locally produced vodkas and beers.

Drowning your sorrows with imported wines and spirits will be an all too sobering reminder that you are living in Moscow.
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Old Posted Jun 21, 2007, 1:00 AM
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Wow.
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Old Posted Jun 30, 2007, 5:58 AM
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I was just there in April. Hadn't been there since 1999. Even though everyone had told me things had changed radically, it was hard to believe it until I saw it myself. Many things have gotten RIDICULOUSLY expensive, though on the other hand, no one I know is scraping by; in fact, everyone's doing quite well. There were cell phones everywhere and everyone has high-speed internet at home. No more reading Dostoyevskiy in the metro; everyone's sitting there text messaging each other or playing video games. There is espresso on just about every block. We went into "Kofe Khaus", which is as ubiquitous there as Starbucks is here (and it's usually quite busy) and ended up paying $28 for a latte, a mocha, a piece of cake we shared and two small pre-made sandwiches. That's just about double what it would be here in the States. So obviously Russians, in Moscow at least, are doing just fine. A trip to Rostov reminded me that the oil money doesn't seep much further than the MKAD, however.

The author's comment about prestige and status driving everything couldn't be more true. EVERYONE has a car now, and I know someone whose commute to work by metro would be about 15 minutes, but who chooses to drive - an HOUR AND A HALF (each way) - because the metro is for regular folk. She's an accountant, nothing special, btw.

I'd have to disagree with the comment about service though - I was shocked to find salespeople to often be helpful and even polite. Check this out: I'm standing with my wife in a completely typical non-elite grocery store off in the suburbs and we're looking for basturma (sort of an Armenian version of pastrami), when one of the employees overheard us, APOLOGIZES, tells us that there isn't any on the shelf, but she'd be glad to go in back and see if they've got any more. For anyone who's ever shopped in a soviet-style grocery store, that's just about unbelieveable.

On the other hand, the air pollution is absolutely ghastly, and the Muscovites must be used to it because they seemed surprised when mentioned it. It's so bad that at the end of the day your fingernails have black under them, because you're covered in a fine film of grime. But I suppose it's no surprise given all the cars.

[BTW, not to start an argument, but, I'm sorry, there are some very dim stations in the Moscow metro. Not all - Borovitskaya is a good example of one that's quite bright, but take Paveletskaya (radial'naya) - it's positively gloomy. Yeah, yeah, perhaps that's part of the architectural concept - personal comfort and safety always take a back seat to grandiose statements in Russia.]
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2007, 2:17 PM
Scandalist Scandalist is offline
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Hm i spent some time in Moscow and i didnt find things so much expensive of course there are a lot of luxuriously places and goods but there arent available for the poorer people who constitute majority of Moscow inhabitanst, i live in London now and i'd rather say here is much harder life because of the costs in spite of higher payments.
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2007, 8:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvpcvm View Post
[BTW, not to start an argument, but, I'm sorry, there are some very dim stations in the Moscow metro. Not all - Borovitskaya is a good example of one that's quite bright, but take Paveletskaya (radial'naya) - it's positively gloomy. Yeah, yeah, perhaps that's part of the architectural concept - personal comfort and safety always take a back seat to grandiose statements in Russia.]
Yes, these grand older stations are dim-lit by design; the lightening scheme is conceptual part of the architecture. At the time the incandescent bulbs was the main source, they were less bright comparing to sources available today. Comfort and safety were not taking back seat at all. The stations at the time were handling more than 10 times less traffic than today and were projected to handle at most half as much as they do now. For that matter safety and comfort were not compromised, at least initially.

One thing that contributes to the stations being dim-lit is the changed light level inside the trains. In the 30s the trains were much dimmer-lit as well (again, such was the available technology). As the pupil of the eye was adjusted to that low light level, a passenger exiting a train did not feel that the station were so dim-lit, as it is perceived today, when the light level inside cars has been increased (for you safety and comfort).

So, it sounds simple - change the light levels of these older stations, right? No so simple. Over 40 of them are designated as UNESCO architectural heritage sites.

Novoslobodskaja station (the one with stained glass mosaics) used to be one of the most dim-lit ones. After recent renovation the light level was increased substantially, precisely for safety considerations. However, many people, both individuals and organizations, complained about the increased light level since it has changed the historic feel of this station. It is very different from what has been originally intended.

Borovitskaja is a new station, and as such it has been built with a much higher light level.

Last edited by anm; Jul 2, 2007 at 8:57 PM.
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