Get the latest updates as we post them Ч right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Lesson on Being a Muscovite

Daonag's Tips on Moscow Life

Job Hunting

Х Get to know people at various companies.

Х Consult and other web sites where people discuss jobs honestly.

Х Become an expert on your desired position.

Х Proactively investigate necessary information concerning the tasks you may be expected to perform.

Х Call your potential employer and pretend to be a client. This can lend insight into how the company conducts business.

Х Do not run from the metro station to an interview.


Х Call two or three hours in advance to confirm an appointment.

Х It's nice to work in the Moskva-City business district or in offices with a view of the Kremlin, but any office in the center is fabulous.

Х Avoid working in the outer parts of the city.

Х Work in a field where you have sincere interest.

Х Don't be afraid of making mistakes, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Х Value yourself as a professional.

Х Follow the office dress code.

Х Don't be discouraged if a job doesn't work out; it's perfectly normal to change jobs several times.


Х Make sure your rent isn't higher than 30 percent of your salary.

Х Living in the center is expensive and bad for your health, so avoid neighborhoods near Leninsky Prospekt, Kutuzovsky Prospekt and Leningradsky Prospekt.

Х Try to live near a grocery store, a police station and a hospital.

Х Avoid living in southeastern Moscow, where winds carry the smog.

Х Locations near a metro station or with a nice view will be more expensive.

Х Try to live near a park such as Bittsevsky, Sokolniki or Brateyevo.

Х If opting to live in the suburbs, choose Korolyov, Solnechnogorsk or Troitsk.

Х Look for areas in which you can recharge your energy, such as Tsaritsyno park with its pine glades or Poklonnaya Gora.


Х Push through the first six months.

Х Keep a calculated budget of expenses.

Х Eat nutritious food.

Х Try to arrange for free transportation.

Х Get a limitless cell phone plan.

Х Save money for health care.

Х Don't carry lots of cash.

It isn't easy for newcomers to adapt to Moscow, with its 12 million inhabitants, overwhelming metro, traffic-snarled streets and relentless hustle. So Sergei Daonag decided to offer lessons.

Daonag, a 41-year-old native of Ukraine who has lived in Moscow since the 1980s, is teaching recent arrivals and longtime residents alike the need to be tough, reflective and lucky to survive.

"Moscow accepted me when I came here many years ago, and I have since formed a friendship, or even a bond of love, with the city. I want to share this love with others," he said.

The three-hour course, taught in Russian for 850 rubles ($33), gives practical advice on how to manage a career, an apartment and everyday life. Daonag started teaching the course in January, and each session draws about 15 people.

Daonag tells the students that they need to be tough to deal with the unfriendliness in the city. "In Moscow, maybe people don't think it's worth smiling, to have personal contact," he said in an interview. "But you can't be offended."

Daonag invoked Vladimir Menshov's Soviet film "Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears" to convey the stolid tenacity necessary to live in Moscow.

"Moscow does not know how to lament anything," he said. "There is no pity in Moscow. Moscow will respect you if you present yourself firmly, if you have your own strength and personality. But if you do nothing but cry, Moscow will reject you."

The secret to success, he said, is a combination of luck, intuition, strength, knowledge and opportunity -- ingredients that elude even longtime residents.

One of his recent students is Sergei Sim, 56, a Kazakh native who has spent the past decade fretting about his future after losing his job as a construction manager amid the 1998 economic crisis.

"You need to have a strong, interesting and well-paying job to feel good, especially when you live in a metropolis," said Sim, a 14-year resident of Moscow. "And when something changes in our lives, I, at least, need to ask for help. We need to find somebody."

In his search for advice, Sim came across Daonag. He initially sought private counseling from Daonag, who has run a consulting business since 1998, and then enrolled in Daonag's interactive course this February.

"I know what it's like to be lost after coming to Moscow," Sim said. "I was thrilled to hear of a course given to prepare people for this adaptation."

Sim referred his friend Oksana Rozhanchik, 46, to the course. Although Rozhanchik has lived in Moscow since moving from Ukraine in 1979, she wanted advice as she struggled in her job as a construction manager.

Rozhanchik said the first thing Daonag taught her was that successful people ask for advice. She said she also had learned the importance of taking time to reflect on what she really wanted in life. "There is a rhythm in this city," she said. "People here run nonstop. Sometimes we get used to a routine that does not allow us to realize what our purpose is," she said.

Daonag, who was raised in a military family that moved frequently, settled in Moscow in the early 1980s to study at Moscow State Technical University. He has been teaching and counseling since 1989.

Daonag said he had found that people from Siberia have demonstrated the most perseverance when dealing with the hardships of life here. "It's easier for people from Siberia to live here than for people from closer regions because people from Siberia are firm. They are stronger and have a vivacious energy," he said.

Daonag said once people assume responsibility for their actions and sort out their goals, Moscow becomes a more attractive place to live.

"Moscow is like a beautiful woman, a beautiful, rich and successful woman. You know, like Sharon Stone," he said. "And if you pay attention to your own pursuits, then she will open the door of opportunity, and she will give you success."