Become a digital nomad in Russia

Become a digital nomad in Russia
Updated 2017-11-23 17:15

If one had to think of a country least associated with the lifestyle of the location-free, it would probably be Russia. With the popularised stereotypes of dreadful winters, bear sightings, and vodka-infused extravagant parties, the old Russia of rumours may not seem like a great place to visit. The modern Russia of today, however, is quite a fascinating destination to explore — but you will need to pack a coat.

Why Russia?

Russia offers a comfortable and productive urban remote work environment in its two major cities, Moscow and St.Petersburg. A lot of travellers arriving in the country are attracted by the ability to see the remnants of the Soviet period in a convenient modern setting. With an abundance of historical, architectural and cultural sights to visit as well as some of the world's most well-preserved natural treasures to uncover, Russia is the country of many faces.

The country offers a well-developed city infrastructure for work, entertainment, and moving around. You will be able to travel freely in central locations with the use of English while international coffee and restaurant chains provide a welcoming starting point. Also, there is a wide range of local establishments to explore offering a different cultural and gustatory experience.

Best cities to work from

Moscow, the country's capital, is the obvious place to start when exploring Russia. Home to over 11 million people, Moscow is a big cosmopolitan city with modern infrastructure and a pronounced Soviet heritage displayed in the city's many monuments, squares, and museums.

Organising your work in the city won't be complicated. From international coffee shop chains to local boutique cafes, finding a place to park with your laptop is not a problem.

The city centre is convenient for travellers with most signs written in both Russian and English and the shopping centres and restaurants in the area will mostly have English speaking staff.

With that said, renting an apartment in Moscow's city centre will be pricey ' Moscow is ranked as one of the costliest cities for expats. However, settling in remote areas may make things complicated with fewer amenities available and a non-English speaking environment.

St. Petersburg is the country's second-largest city and its former capital which remains its educational and cultural centre. Working from St. Petersburg is a unique experience as it puts you right in the middle of one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage Sites. St. Petersburg is home to some of Russia's most important historical sights and attractions: Hermitage Museum, Winter Palace of the Romanov Dynasty, Mariinsky Theatre, and many others. The city is located on the eastern edge of the Baltic Sea and the bank of the Neva River. The whole city is threaded with canals and offers a truly picturesque and inspirational setting for a freelancer. You will find all the needed amenities ">internet speed in Russia is about 10Mbps and most big cities have a very developed network of free public Wi-Fi hotspots. Most cafes and coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi, and you will also find Wi-Fi access in some of the city's parks and main tourist attractions. The internet is also available on the metro but this will require an SMS verification with a local number.

The concept of coworking is relatively new to Russia but the scene is developing rapidly, and you should have no problem finding a place to sit down with a laptop.

Coworking spaces in Moscow

DI Telegraph, Tverskaya St, 7

NUMA Moscow, Kozhevnicheskaya ul., 10

Cabinet Lounge, Novaya pl., 6

Coworking spaces in St. Petersburg

Taiga Space, Palace Embankment, 20

Business incubator "Ingria", pr. Medikov, 3A

Work smart, Plutalova ul., 23

Leisure in Russia

There will be plenty of things to occupy yourself with after work. If you settle in one of the big cities, you will have a wide choice of museums, art galleries and exhibitions to attend, and a vibrant nightlife to explore after dark. All big cities are well-connected to the suburbs, and you can always conveniently explore the countryside and nearby sights. Some of the country's most prominent attractions include the Hermitage Museum, Winter Palace, and Bolshoi Theatre while Lake Baikal (the world's deepest lake) is the main natural treasure.

What to know before arriving

All foreign nationals require a visa when travelling to Russia. You can apply for a tourist visa at the Russian Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Note that in order to apply for a visa you will need to have an official invitation processed by the Russian government or an officially authorised travel company. The invitation may come from a party in Russia (friends, relatives, business partners, etc.) or a travel agency. Also, keep in mind that upon arrival in the country, you will need to register with the Migration Police (if you are staying at a hotel, the hotel will complete the registration procedure for you).

Useful links:

Federal Agency for Tourism

Map of free Wi-Fi hotspots in Russian

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.