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The wonders of living in Russia

calendar 6/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
author Admin System

A new perspective

If you´ve never travelled across Russia by train, it means you don’t know what travel is.

Riding the train for hours across towns and cities, watching the cutest little houses and breath-taking forests go by is a feeling you won´t easily forget.

You start seeing life from a different perspective when you are watching it through a Russian “Zhelezno Dorozhnyi” train. The biggest country on earth suddenly unfolds before your eyes and so does life, with its great simplicity and magnificent day-to-day wonders.

It is in moments like this when you start seeing things from a totally different perspective and finally understand what life is all about. You suddenly realize that life is more than just an ordinary boring routine: taking your latte in the morning, getting in the car and going to work like everyone else.

It´s in moments like this when life suddenly shows its true wonders, its untold secrets, in the shape of a blue-roofed cottage or a snowed white forest.

So, suddenly life hits you in the face and you understand what it´s really all about. Life is more than a perpetual struggle for survival and barely making it alive to your retirement years (only if you are lucky) and not so f#&ked up in order to properly enjoy what´s left of it.

It´s crazy how one day you decide to jump on a train from Izhevsk to Saint Petersburg, believing that this will be another ordinary journey and yet you come out on the other side totally renewed. A new light, a new vision has been presented to you. You are seeing everything under a different light now.

“New vision, new thoughts”. It´s unbelievable what a ray of light can do to a person´s soul”.

These are Dostoyevsky’s words, describing a cold sunset in Saint Petersburg in the month of March. He describes how a ray of light suddenly illuminates the dismal houses of a poor, somber and depraved Saint Petersburg.

Thus, Dostoyevsky describes the city he hated but at the same time immortalized on the unforgettable pages of his novels.

I, on the other hand, didn´t know Dostoyevsky’s Saint Petersburg. I walked the same streets as he did, stepped on the same floors and watched the same skies. Nevertheless, I didn´t know this corrupt and vicious city that I once read in his books, but a whole different one. In Saint Petersburg I knew a city full of opportunities, full of life and music and absolutely great art.

This is the Russia that I want my readers to know today. I want to show you the Russia that I´ve seen, with never-ending forests, with amazing little towns where you can have the most delicious home-made meal and visit the best “banya”. I want to describe the Russia where you can uncover the marvels of the red square and the secrets of the Nevsky Avenue.

One of the most interesting traditions of the Russian people is the banya. It is fair to say that you haven’t actually been in Russia if you haven’t been to one of these.

There is nothing like being friends with a Russian family, going to the “dacha” at the weekends and share a beer with them. Nothing like stepping into a banya and forgetting about the world even if only for a few hours.

The banya is similar to the Finnish sauna, only with hot steam. In winter or in summer, it´s Russian tradition going to the banya with your friends and having some honest heart-to-heart conversation. It´s only in such situations, in a banya or during a journey by train, when you really understand the Russian soul.

It is only in those moments when you know the true essence of a people that has something that cannot be easily found nowadays anywhere else: the Russian people has soul.

But I´ll stop writing now and let Pushkin, the great national hero, speak for himself.

There, baba Yaga´s house comes and goes on its own.

There, tsar Kashei languishes over gold

There, is the Russian soul; there, smells like Russia

I have been there, and have drank honey

I saw a green oak next to the sea

I sat by it and a wise cat

Told his stories to me.

And with Pushkin’s amazing closure, I invite you to travel through Russia with me and Mundo. I invite you to get to know all the wonderful things Russia has to offer not only to those passionate about art and literature, but also to those who are looking for a new life perspective. Russia can give you, like Dostoyevsky said, a new vision.

A new thought.

A new perspective under which you can grow your business and conquer your financial goals.

Lifestyle

Being the largest country in the world, Russia is truly diverse in climate, geography, and culture. I lived in two different Russian cities and I can tell you the difference.

If you love art, then Russia is the right country for you. All main cities in Russia have at least: a philharmonic, a puppet theater, a drama theatre, an opera and ballet theater and all supported by the State, which really tells us about how much the government cares about maintaining the cultural life at high levels.

The gastronomic offer is also very wide because Russia is a mixture of different nationalities. You will find all kinds of restaurants, including Georgian, Chinese, international, Thai, Japanese cuisine and more.

Russian food is unbelievably delicious, and you can have a great meal in a “Stolovaia” (Russian for cafeteria) for as little as 5 or 6 dollars. Here you will find a variety of soups from which my favorite is borsch (soup made with beet, meet and vegetables), and it can be served hot or cold as well.

Another one of my favorite Russian meals are the pelmeni, which are actually a Ukrainian meal that is widely popular in Russia too. This is a pasta made of pork and usually served with a delicious white sauce or smetana. Smetana is usually used to accompany different Russian dishes (pancakes, soup, pasta, etc.) and it´s similar to sour cream.

If you are walking the streets of Moscow and suddenly get hungry, I advise you enter one of these “stolovaias” and try a “Chebureshka”. These are similar to Argentinian empanadas but are larger and with a different, sharper taste in meat.
 

The weather

Before going to Russia one of my main concerns was the weather. Will I survive those strong winters? Well, I did survive. If you are not from a cold country, like Panama or Argentina, then you have no idea of the clothes that you are supposed to wear. You won´t find the right clothes until you are there in Russia, where all the outfit is prepared for the low temperatures. My advice is that you buy a good coat for when you get there the first time, but probably the next day you should spend it shopping for the right clothes, gloves, socks, a cap and a scarf.

The truth is that, with the right clothes, you can live through the winter. Also, keep in mind that you will mostly be spending your time indoors. Absolutely all places, theaters, restaurants, family houses, malls, apartments have great heating systems. However, cold weather wasn´t the biggest problem that I found in Russia, but it was the slippery floor. Sidewalks and streets are usually full of snow and ice, which can be extremely dangerous for people who are not used to walking under those conditions. The lesson here is that it´s extremely important to choose the best possible shoes and with shoe soles with protection against the ice.

If you have a birthday during the summer here is my advice: don’t invite your Russian friends to your apartment. They just won´t come.  Since they have very low temperatures most of the year, during the summer they like activities in the open air.

If you are friends with a Russian family then you will get invited to spend the weekends at the dachas, that are special weekend houses on the outskirts of the cities. Most Russians have an orchard and all the family gets together to work the land during the weekends, children help their parents in a unique atmosphere of cooperation and friendliness.

Here you will get invited to the banya. Like I pointed out at the beginning of the article. You don’t know what Russia is until you have been to a banya with your Russian friends.

Where to live in Russia

Being the largest country in the world, Russia is extraordinarily rich in geography, culture and nationalities. Like I said, I lived both in a small city and in one of the most exciting capitals of Europe, Saint Petersburg.

Both experiences were great but different. If you live in one of Russia´s small cities, you will utterly understand the essence of the country. The environment here is more conservative and people tend to form their families at a younger age. If you are looking for a quiet family life and connection with the culture, then a place like this would be ideal for you. Please keep in mind that in small cities people are more conservative and less trusting, so it will be harder for you to meet new people. I advise living in a place like this if you already have friends and acquaintances with whom to socialize.

In the big cities like Moscow or Saint Petersburg, the environment is completely different. The cultural offer is much wider here with international artists performing very often and with more variety of local culture like concerts, ballet, and theater.

These are cosmopolitan cities, so, if you like to have an international life and to be in touch with people from different parts of the world you will love these places. Thus, you can have Russian friends but also, when you feel lonely or homesick, be in touch with foreigners or even with a community from your own country.

Also, people are more used to foreigners, so they are more open to meeting new people. In Moscow, people would just come and start a conversation with me on the streets, in restaurants, in bars. Thus, walking the streets of Moscow I have made many friends.

Why doing business in Russia?

Russian people have historically showed affection to foreigners. The best example of this is one of Russia´s most important Tzars, Peter the Great, who built a whole city (Saint Petersburg) as a window to Europe, with the idea of bringing foreign talent to the country.

In St. Petersburg foreigners came to constitute 25-30% of the total population at various historical moments.

Thus, foreign investors were always well received in Russia and a perfect example of this are the Noble brothers, the founders of the most prestigious international award, who actively invested in the Russian industry. To describe the strong historical ties that unite foreigners to Russia, we present the example of the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, whose ancestors were designated barons and obtained a nobility title from the Russian emperors, as a recognition for their contribution to the local economy.

As we all know, this tendency was interrupted with the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, after which a long dark period followed, in which the Soviet State closed its borders preventing the free movement of locals and foreigners, and implemented a statist politic regime. This is the Russia that many of us remember, but the truth is that things have changed. Almost 30 years have passed since the sunset of the Soviet Union, and there is a new generation of people in Russia. Thus, the old and natural tendency of foreign friendliness has found its place once again.

Nowadays, Russia offers great incentives for foreign investors.

Is it safe to invest in Russia?

Back in the 90´s, during the perestroika period, Russia was very unstable and unsafe. For this reason, businesspeople from that time used to be aggressive when investing in the local economy cause the environment was not safe enough. Those businesspeople safeguarded their assets in offshore jurisdictions for asset protection.

That generation is now mostly retired, and their descendants are now surfing the business markets. This new generation, unlike their parents and grandparents, now find the Russian market as a very stable place where to invest. The local currency, the ruble, is very stable and has been this way for a long time, there are no inflation issues, the country has many natural resources, and a huge reserve of gold with positive balance, whose amount exceeds the public debt and all foreign loans of Russian corporations. Due to the improvement of the Russian economy and business opportunities and to the increase in international regulations, this new generation of Russian businesspeople is choosing to safeguard their assets in their own country.

Also, the Russian government offers great advantages and protection to foreign capital. Investing in Russia is one of the safest options nowadays.

Business opportunities

If you want to live and conduct business in Russia, this country offers great opportunities and one of our favorite ones is the Kaliningrad free economic zone.

Kaliningrad is an enclave in European territory. This means that it´s Russian territory that is located within European soil and separated from the rest of the country.

Under the right conditions, this special zone offers great advantages for foreign companies that are registered here. Trading companies obtain the status of international companies and are given preferential tax treatment. These companies are taxed 0 % on income in the form of dividends, provided that on the day the payment is executed, it has held these dividends for one year and has at least 15 % of the deposit in the share capital of the organization that pays the dividends or has deposit receipts that qualify for them. Also, these businesses are taxed 5 % on income received by foreign persons from shares of international holdings, which, on the date of payment of dividends, are public companies.

Also, residents of the Special Administrative Regions are not subject to taxation on profits earned outside Russia nor to taxation on transactions involving shares or equity interests in Russian or foreign organizations.

We describe all the advantages of the Kaliningrad special economic zone in detail in or county page.

Undoubtedly, this is a unique zone because it offers the great advantages and incentives of the Russian government but also a great connection to the European and Asian markets.

Asset protection through a family fund

Russia surprises us one more time with an excellent asset protection tool which is a hybrid between a trust and a fund. This is called a closed-end mutual fund and it offers great confidentiality, tax optimization and it´s available to foreigners.

Using this structure, you can invest in all kinds of assets and be in control of them.

This is a great tool for wealthy families that are looking for effective estate planning solutions.

The founder is allowed to distribute shares of the fund between the shareholders (family members) and to set up how and when these assets will be released. The final beneficiary owners´ information is not disclosed in any public records.

This is also a great tool for tax planning as the assets within the fund are exempt from income tax. There are two levels of taxation: the fund´s property and the individual’s property.

All the assets that are held in the fund are exempt from income tax, which means that you can still hold your assets under the fund and use them as you please, and still be free of income tax.

It´s important to note that the founder is the one who will be deciding the distribution and uses of the fund´s shares and property.


Conclusion

Russia is one of the most amazing places I have ever been to. If you are a businessman who loves art, then Russia offers the perfect combination of culture, stability, asset protection and opportunities.  Believe me, if you are humble and respectful of their culture and habits, the Russian locals will open their hearts to you and treat you like family.

Come and discover your new family in Russia with the support of Mundo and our experts. Contact us for more information.

Contact us now


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