Feel free to ask your questions

April 14th, 2011

Dear Guests,

if you are interested in some certain question about living in Russia, please, feel free to live your question in the commens to this post, we shall try to give you an answer. You are welcome!


  Comments (0) | Published April 14th, 2011 в 8:38 am

Life is a Struggle for Russia’s Disabled People

April 14th, 2011

When you come to Russia you will be surprised that there are no disabled people in the streets. It is not because we have no disabled people in Russia. This is because we have no facilities at all for their normal living in a society. Many disabled people in Russia, especially those who have spinal problems, spend all their days and actually spend all their lives within the four walls of their homes. Doorways and elevators are very small for wheelchairs, the staircases are almost never equipped with wheelchair ramps or any lifting devices and this is a really great problem. Metro systems, bus systems, tram systems (that is the whole public transport system) are not designed for disabled people. Besides, there wheelchairs are so old and not modern, that they hardly can be used outside their apartments. Very often when the old wheelchair is broken the disable person loses the only opportunity to move in the house.

The pensions that are payed to disabled people are very poor. They are sufficient only for food and for community charges. To buy a new wheelchair, to buy lifting devices a person has to ask for a help of the people around – to sponsor this vital important needs. Sometimes it is possible to get some help from the government, but most disabled people fail when they face too many bureaucratic procedures for a simple getting of a new wheelchair or some other help. They risk their health to pass through this cruel system.
To get little or nothing from the state disabled people have to prove day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year their disabilities. It is really nonsense when an amputee must go through dozens of procedures to confirm the disability. It is a hard job to obtain dozens of documents from dozens of doctors, then from variety of departments of social services, also residential services and many others. Visiting all these instances requires standing for hours in long lines and all these departments are also never equipped for disabled people. Read the rest of this entry »

  Comments (0) | Published April 14th, 2011 в 8:30 am

Russian retirees survival

April 13th, 2011

The Pension fund of Russia is very poor. Neither President, nor Prime Minister of the country tried to survive on the sums that Russian retirees get monthly. Average monthly pension in Russia is about 8-8,5 thousand roubles. It makes only about USD 285-300. Sometimes the pension is lower – about USD 150-200. It is to be noted that monthly payments for the apartment make about the half of this sum or even more – from USD 100 to USD 150. And for eating normal food sufficient for the healthy life a person living in Russia needs no less than 2500-3000 roubles weekly!!! (This is about USD 100).
The authorities are very far away from the common people and especially from the retirees. They can not realize or do not want to realize the reality of about 40 million common retirees in Russia.

The government try to solve the problem of the lack of money in the socail funds trying to increase taxes for business. Some business in Russia is not at all Gazprom business and requires more care. Huge taxes can kill it. The business is strong mainly in large cities like Moscow or St. Petersburg – in other cities and towns of Russia peolpe work hard to make their business to be profitable. Besides, huge taxes make the business to do the following: to compensate it by increasing the prices for all kinds of products on the market and for all kinds of services also.

Most Russian retirees have nothing else to do but to survive. Some things are unreachable for them – like a vacation somewhere abroad, like private medicine, like new clothes, like buying some electronics for their houses. Having only USD 150 for the whole month they sometimes can not afford themselves meat or fruits or a bottle of good wine.

Here are the approximate prices for food:

meat – USD 10/per kilo
cheese – USD 10-15/per kilo
sausages – USD 10-15/per kilo
potatoes – USD 1,5/per kilo
apples – USD 2,00/per kilo
milk – USD 1,0 – 1,5/per kilo
tomatoes – USD 3,00 – 4,00/per kilo
bananas – USD 1,5/per kilo
bread – USD 0,80 – 2,00
sugar – USD 1,5-2,00/per kilo

  Comments (0) | Published April 13th, 2011 в 2:08 pm

Morning crash

October 5th, 2010

A few days ago when I left home I saw this crash near my house.

The guy on BMW is guilty in this case – he did’t let the bus go, though he should certainly do that.
He was in a big hurry, you know. He didn’t have time to wait till the bus passes by.

  Comments (1) | Published October 5th, 2010 в 1:13 pm

Office life in big cities

September 13th, 2010

In large cities like Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Novosibirsk and some others exceeding 1 mln inhabitants a lot of people every day go to their offices.

Normally, the working day at the office starts at 8, 9 or 10 o’clock in the morning. The working day is 8 hours + 1 hour for going out for dinner. So, those who start at 8 can leave office at 17.00, those who start at 9 o’clock – usually leave for home at 18.00, and those who arrive at office at 10 can only leave it at 19.00.

As for me, I usually start at 10 o’clock and leave at 19.00, sometimes, if I miss my dinner I leave earlier. I am very lucky to work in a office building that is only 2 minutes away from the nearest metro (subway) station – I do not spend my time in traffic jams which became a very usual thing for Saint-Petersburg.
Read the rest of this entry »

  Comments (1) | Published September 13th, 2010 в 12:38 pm

The First of September

September 1st, 2010

The First of September is a great day in Russia for children, schoolchildren, students and also school teachers and college/university professors. The new school year starts on this day: small children (3 to 6 years old) go to the kindergartens , children and teenagers of 7-16 years old go to school, students (16-23) start their new year at the Universities and colleges.

The other name of the 1st of September is the Knowledge Day. This day is a big holiday for the children who come to school for the first time. All schools prepare special celebratory assembly on this date. One of the special ceremonies is the First Bell – when a first grade girl or boy is lifted on the shoulders of the grade male pupil and they make a huge circle for everyone could see and hear this first bell of the school year.

September 1st has a kind of cultural status in Russia. Somehow everyone celebrates it – almost in every Russian family there are children or students. All chilren on this day go to school or college with a bunch of flowers and all of them are very nicely dressed. The bunch of flowers is normally given to the most loved teacher.

In some families a small celebration takes place – the members of the families usually congratulate the kids with the First of September and sometimes even give them some special presents, though it is not obligatory.

  Comments (0) | Published September 1st, 2010 в 12:42 pm

A bit about family life in Russia

August 23rd, 2010

A Russian traditional family is normally composed of mother, father, children, and extended family. In the former Soviet Union the family traditions were strictly observed – the State was interested in it as after World War II there were too many broken families and too many children lost their families and it was not good at all neither for the children, nor for the grown ups.

Family traditions remain very strong. Now every generation lives separately, though earlier it was a normal thing, that 2-3 or even 4 generations lived together due to the lack of apartments and money for living. At the present moment more and more young couples have possibility to buy or to rent an apartment of their own and to start their family life.

My own family is very traditional, it consists of mother, father, my older sister and me. My grandparents from the dad’s side have died very early, I do not even remember them. As for my mothers’ parents – they always lived in another town and we met not so often – I only spent my summer vacations with them or they came to see us for a short time in St. Petersburg. My grandfather died in 1989, and grandmother – in 2010.

Now I live separately from my parents but in the same city – we see each other very often and I spend a lot of time with my mother – we luckily have very much in common and understand each other very well. We also usually celebrate all the main holidays like the New Year coming, Easter and birthdays together. Read the rest of this entry »

  Comments (0) | Published August 23rd, 2010 в 1:03 pm

A bit about my Soviet childhood

August 8th, 2010

Though I was born in 1979 in the Soviet Union, I do not remember much about those times. The Soviet Union ended with my childhood. Childhood is a time when you just feel free and happy and do not realize many things that are around. I do remember some hard times – when we could not buy some products and even bread, when it was hard to buy some books, when my mother had to create clothes for me and my sister on her own – as the clothes sold in the shops was very ugly and inattractive. But at the age of 4-12 it was not realized – as we, children, thought it is just the way of living.

Now it is a history – but my friends and I we were happy to become oktyabryata – that was an organization for children of 8-9 years old – the first step to the communist party. It was not done under constraint, it was done willingly – it is compared with the Scout movement – we were involved into a great number of social events that had sense for us, that brought good to other people, to our ecology, to our culture. For example, we cared about our World War II veterans and memorial cemetries, we collected the waste paper for further recycling, we planted new trees in the areas we lived and went to school – we did something to improve life around us. At the age of 10 we became Pioneers, but it was not a long story – very soon, in 1991 the Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union came to an end together with the Soviet Union.
At that time I understood that my pioneer red scarf would become a part of history and I was willing to keep it for many years as the part of that time. Anyway, I failed. I lost it somewhere or may be someone of my relatives decided it was a useless thing and threw it away.

I would not now judge the political side of these youth organizations, as I didn’t feel any politics at that time. I would just say about the emotional part – we had an opportunity to be useful to the society and to be involved into many interesting events. I do remember the name of my penpal friend from Bulgaria, and I still keep a couple of her postcards to me telling about the life in her country. That was really amazing. I do remember how we wrote postcards to our World War II veterans on Victory days each year. I do remember how we collected old newspapers and magazines to pass them for the recycling – that was a true competition for us, we knew that we keep some trees alive in this way. I also remember that my friends and I had something in common, something uniting. Now we do not have any uniting organizations for children and teenagers. Children are not taught to care about those who are around, about nature and they do not have many friends. Do not know if they are lucky or not – they just live in the other time and in the other country.

  Comments (0) | Published August 8th, 2010 в 12:55 pm