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Anonym
10 August 2015
Overall impression

It’s a dusty city. It’s very uncomfortable especially if you love walking or cycling. There are several big chemical plants and coal-fired boilers in the city, so around 25% of days there is a chemical smog and people are recommended not to go outdoors. There is no natural gas here, so this big city is heated by coal. Overall, life here is more tense and difficult than joyful and happy.
Proximity to the sea: The nearest sea is not near at all, you need to go there through Moscow, and the prices are high. There are local lakes (like lake Shira which is situated 500 kilometers away from the city), but in summer they are overcrowded with rednecks and drunkards.

Attitude to foreigners

Attitude towards “white” is good. What concerns others. It depends. But people are still quite tolerant.

Impression of local population

As a rule, people are unsmiling because of many problems caused by life in a harsh, cold and poor region. Population is diverse, but there are many people from the surrounding villages and small depressive towns. Intelligent young people try to move to Moscow or St. Petersburg.

Climate

Winter is long and cold with the temperatures as low as -30, although last two winters were comparatively mild. Summer is short and hot, 30 degrees is a common temperature. There is almost no spring and autumn, it may snow in the end of May and in the beginning of September. The grass begins to grow in May and finishes in October. There is a strong drawback of summer here – mites. It is very dangerous to go to the forest, and there are even mites in the grass in the city. Since there’s no wind in summer and the city is covered by smog, and going to the forest is dangerous, staying in the city is disgusting.

Education

There are several good universities, so you can get good education. Education in IT sphere is outdated and you can’t become a good specialist without self-education and additional courses.

Quality of medicine (quality and cost)

Commercial medicine is more or less good, free state medicine has poor quality – as everywhere in Russia.

Language (learning of the local language and communication with the local people)

Russian. It’s hard to navigate in the city if you only speak English.

Transport (road access, quality of roads, level of driving, gasoline cost, public transportation)

Road condition is satisfactory, but they are not renewed. There is a big problem with storm drain system (many roads are flooded after heavy rains). Public transport mainly consists of old buses which are cold in winter, hot in summer, and are not ecological. Trams are not developing – on the contrary, this transport is degrading.
Travelling abroad: It is far and expensive. We usually travel through Moscow. There are few flights to Asia (China, Thailand).

Prices (cost of living, food, entertainment)

Prices are high, in general 25% higher than in Moscow. For example, one liter of milk costs 55 RUR, ten eggs cost 55 RUR, apples (one kilogram) cost 100 RUR (prices in the end of 2014). There are some distribution centers where the prices are a bit lower, but they are not convenient. There are many tasteless Chinese fruits and vegetables and almost no Russian ones. Entertainment is very expensive, the average check in a café is 1000 RUR per person (without alcohol). Bike rent costs 250 RUR per hour, and it is not possible to rent it for a day at a lower cost. Skates and ski rentals are also very expensive. There are few swimming pools – there are only two big pools for the city with the population over 1 million.

Job (search complexity, level of salary)

There is a lack of specialists in IT sphere, because many of them leave to Moscow or St. Petersburg. It is easy to find a job like “coder in a web-studio” with a salary around 25-35 thousand rubles; however, there aren’t many interesting places with good salary. There is a strong demand for 1C specialists. All developers leave the city or are forced to work at lower qualification. There’s no demand for high-scale IT in the city, the companies tend to call in specialists from Moscow or buy turnkey solutions. The average salary here is 15-18 thousand rubles, salary over 25 thousand is considered to be good, and there are few people who earn over 40 thousand RUR.

Housing (cost, availability, rent, purchase)

One square meter costs on average 50 thousand RUR, there is a lot of choice. Most new houses are built by the cheapest technology. Rental fee starts from 12-14 thousand RUR per month, in the city center it’s higher.

Crime

Crime rate is average, in the daytime it is quite safe to walk in the streets, but at night you should be careful. Sometimes (1-2 times a year) there are shootings. There are many drug addicts and drunkards.

Women \ men (for dating)

Women are in general beautiful and tidy, a lot of men are untidy.

Internet access (availability, price)

The Internet is ok, unlimited 10 Mbit/s cost 300 rubles per month.

The region's economy (crisis, inflation)

The economy depends on raw materials and energy, there are no modern high-tech factories. Any crisis is felt here: the budgets go on the red, different state programs and constructions are being downsized. Small business is not controlled by local authorities, so there are many violations: small shops sell vodka at night, waste is discharged into storm drains, all garbage is burnt without any purification.

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