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3 Comments Already

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Kevin Said,
December 27th, 2010 @6:47 pm  

My experience, being married to a local, is that they really are not xenophobic in either city. You’ll experience this more in smaller towns.

I would term it more a “curiosity”, and a good book on the Russian culture is in order. Many foreigners take the difference in the small cultural aspects as xenophobia, when in fact it is just one of those cultural things.

No offense to anyone here, but you will find that there are prejudices more prevalent in Russia. I use the term “prejudice” loosely here, and those prejudices will vary by region. Some areas of “Euoropean Russia” will have more prejudice towards “Asian Russia” or “Afrikaners” for example. Also, women are treated much differently (and expected to behave much differently) there.

But, (again, no offense) a white, middle class American should have no problems in Russia.

That said… both Moscow and St. Petersburg are very compatible with foreigners. Moscow is the capital, so foreigners are very commonplace there. And, of course, St. Petersburg is a main tourist area… so again, foreigners are common.

Both cities have pro’s and cons. In general, and this is my personal opinion only, I think Moscow is more “tolerant” in many ways since the population is used to people from many cultures living there.

Learn Russian, study the culture, and you will do fine in either city. I personally prefer St. Petersburg, but then I am biased .

I do hope some Russian nationals from both cities will post their views for you too.

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Katya-Zelen Said,
December 27th, 2010 @6:56 pm  

From a personal point of view, as someone who has lived in Russia and visited Moscow and Petersburg many times, there isn’t really a huge problem with xenophobia, although it is on the increase. It is particularly active towards the ex-Soviet states of Central Asia (Tajiks, Uzbeks etc) but even then, they are isolated, but tragic incidents. The suburbs of Petersburg can be hotspots but even then, you would need to be incredibly unlucky to encounter any problem.

As for living as a student, I’m bias, I prefer Petersburg. It’s smaller than Moscow (obviously) but you don’t realise how huge Moscow is until you are actually trying to get somewhere. Of course, both cities have excellent (if, totally packed) metro systems. Moscow is also crazily expensive and still skyrocketing. Of course, Petersburg, is expensive too compared to the rest of Russia.

Petersburg (again, my own opinion) is immeasurably prettier than Moscow, although the weather is rubbish, because of its coastal location. The people of Petersburg I would say, are marginally more friendly. You would need to speak adequate Russian though to take advantage of everything russia has to offer.

Either way, Russia’s the greatest. I urge you to go.

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www.9323610.812.ru Said,
December 27th, 2010 @7:00 pm  

I suppose you will like in Russia really.

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