During Vladimir Putin’s tenure as President of Russia, then Prime Minister, and then President again, Russia has enjoyed significant investment in its oil and gas industry. Although Moscow is not close to Russia’s main hydrocarbon-producing areas there are plenty of oil executives based in the capital city since major international oil companies, such as BP plc, maintain large offices there, while Russia’s own major oil firms Gazprom OAO and Rosneft OAO have their headquarters located in the city.
Moscow has also become home to several billionaire oligarchs and a growing middle class, with both phenomena driven by the growth in Russia’s energy wealth. This has served to make Russia’s capital one of the most expensive places to live in the world. ECA ranks Moscow as the world’s fifth most-expensive city for expats to live in, while Mercer ranks it at number two.
Mercer notes a luxury, two-bedroom unfurnished apartment costs an average of $4,600 per month in Moscow (or 14 times as much as a similar abode in Karachi, Pakistan), while a cup of coffee will set you back $8.29. However, despite Russia turning its attention toward the Arctic region and the Russian Far East in order to further exploit the country’s hydrocarbon resources, a report in the New York Times in June of this year suggested that the country’s great gush of oil and gas wealth is « leveling off » and foreign investors are now « hanging back » amid concerns about an expanding government role in the economy.