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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Price of Moscow Life

The European Union statistics bureau recently stunned the entire planet with their finding that Moscow is the most expensive capital in the world. Is it true? Yes, but only if you are a traveling businessmen. The statistics bureau had in mind a traveler who stays in four- or five-star hotels, eats three times a day in a restaurant, calls home once a day, buys a newspaper that is published abroad and takes a taxi twice a day. The only luxury he allows himself is to give his shirts to the hotel's cleaners.

The Americans used another way. They looked not at the traveler but the native. Taking into account the prices for food, housing and public transport, they tried to figure out how a resident, and not a foreigner, lived in his own city. Moscow took ninth place. The most expensive cities were Tokyo and Osaka. These were rather unexpectedly followed by the African cities of Kinshasa, Zaire, and Libreville, Gabon. Then came European cities: Paris, Berlin, Geneva, Brussels and Hamburg. Cities that are less expensive than Moscow include Bonn, Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong and Washington, D.C.

It seems there is something to be proud of. Admit it, it is pleasant to be among the top 10, in any case. Our prices are a particular point of pride. It is the only thing we can compare to on a world level. Moscow, for example, has the highest office rental prices in the world.

Imported goods and services in Moscow are 1 1/2 to two times more expensive than they are in the countries they are produced in. And imports make up two-thirds of the Moscow consumer market.

The only possible explanation I can find for these prices is the special care and respect that store clerks show us consumers in Moscow.

Argumenty i Fakty, No. 27, July 8-14.