There are some Russian terms that all but defy translation into English and business is an especially tricky area. After the fall of Communism, Russians had to rediscover the vocabulary of capitalism after a hiatus of over 70 years. But 70 years is a long time and terms had appeared in the interim which had no modern Russian equivalent, while some pre-Revolutionary words were too obsolescent to be pressed back into service. One such puzzler for the etymologist is the term dokhodny dom. It translates literally as ‘income house,’ and designates an apartment building where all the residential units were leased rather than sold in order to provide a long-term return on a capital investment.
All right, let’s not kid ourselves. No, these photographs aren’t representative of this winter, nor indeed winter last year. Thick, picturesque blankets of snow and the sort of weather when you can see your breath in the cold air have — for the time being, at least — become a thing of the past in Moscow. These days you have to go a lot further afield than the neck of the woods where this property is located (although we’ll come back to that in a little while) to see a decent amount of snow and to remind yourself of just how a real Russian winter feels. At the time of writing, that meant going right up north to near or even inside the Arctic Circle, while winter in Moscow this year was definitely already on its way out.
At the moment there is an unprecedented demand for international properties from buyers in Russia. There are many explanations for this, including a cultural and historic one. Before the 1917 Revolution, well-to-do Russians would spend part of the year living on estates that they owned abroad, with France and Italy being especially favored destinations. So the motivation has always been there, given the harsh climate of northern and central Russia and the trend is being driven by the currently limited choice and underdeveloped infrastructure on the Black Sea coast.