Ask the Experts


‘Each issue we invite carefully selected expat experts with years of experience who can answer questions on specific businesses in Russia’

Selection_043Kim Waddoup

How long have you been working with Russia?

I started in Moscow in 1992 and have had an office in Moscow since 1994.

Are you an entrepreneur or employed?

I would say that I am definitely an entrepreneur!

What type of work do you do?

My initial background was tourism and I came to expand tourism from Russia for up-market clients. This moved into organising specialised tourism events in Moscow and now my company is the market leader for Property Abroad with 8 exhibitions, the leading overseas property magazine and a vast property portal. In addition we also organise exhibitions for the Meetings/Incentive sector and Medical Tourism. I recently launched Moscow expat Life magazine, a project that I wanted to do for a long time.

My speciality is now property abroad, where, when and how to invest or to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle. With Moscow expat Life I can also assist people promote their products/services to the vast expat community in Moscow.


Selection_045Johan Verbeeck

How long have you been working with Russia?

I visited Russia for the first time in autumn 1986 as a student. Since then I have been here regularly on private and business trips. I settled here in 2002.

Are you an entrepreneur or employed?


What type of work do you do?

I manage the Russian branch of ElaN Languages, a language service and training provider with headquarters in Belgium.

What is your expertise and how can you help our readers?

In the nineties I was working in logistics as a regional operations coordinator (FedEx), then I spent a couple of years in recruitment (Mercuri Urval). I’ve always been interested in a variety of industries and challenging roles. How can I help? I’m confident that we are amongst the best translation and training providers in town. Meaning you can really rely on the style and quality of our work. If you want to learn a language or business skills, face-to-face or online, a pool of very experienced and dedicated trainers and online support programmes will definitely get you there.

Selection_046David Morley

How long have you been working with Russia?

I first came as a university student of Russian in 1972. Then I worked here as the representative of a Swiss trading company in the late seventies and early eighties. I landed back in Moscow with another Swiss company in 1991 and have worked here in one capacity or another ever since.

Are you an entrepreneur or employed?

Entrepreneur for the last 8 years or so.

What type of work do you do?

I am involved in two areas, not entirely unrelated. I am partner in a business dealing in country residential property and land development, particular in the Kaluga and Tula regions. Some of our land holdings are agricultural, so you can see the connection to my other business interests. Two years ago, I formed the International Farmers Club of Russia which provides support to farmers and agri-businesses coming into this market or looking to expand.

What is your expertise and how can you help our readers?

I have accumulated enormous experience in out-of town property, land acquisition and conversion issues today and, of course, the farmers club is there to help with questions about Russian agriculture.

Authentic American Burgers Opens in Moscow

Selection_037Shake Shack is a modern day “roadside” burger restaurant known for its 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers, delicious flat-top dogs, fresh-made frozen custard, craft beer and wine, and more. A fun and lively community-gathering spot with widespread appeal, over the past decade Shake Shack has earned a cult following around the world.

Shake Shack Moscow will be located at the center of the city in the historic and vibrant Arbat street—frequented by Muscovites and visitors alike. Arbat is one of oldest surviving streets in the Russian capital, and dates back to the XV century. The secret of Arbat’s fascination is its historical heritage. Traditionally it is associated with the brightest Russian intellectuals, as for numerous famous writers, actors, poets, artists Arbat street was a place to live and work or go out for a fine dinner.

Seniors’ Open Golf Championship

Selection_057The Moscow Country Club hosted the Senior’s tour three day event for the first time in September this year. The last time the over-50’s pro’s came to Russia was in 2008 at the Pestovo Yacht and Golf Club which was also a rain-soaked autumn occasion.

Despite the difficult, wet conditions at Nakhabino the final round on Sunday 15th September produced some spectacular golf and a cliff-hanger finish to excite the small crowd of spectators braving the weather.
The British rookie ‘youngster’, Simon Brown, the over-night leader by one shot, dropped a precious two points when he fired his drive into the trees for a lost ball at the 14th. Recovering one with a birdie at the next hole, he then missed
a short putt at the 16th having chipped out of the bunker. He
was then even-steven at -10 and
a shared lead with his compatriot, Carl Mason, and the Australian, Mike Harewood, who were already in the warmth of the clubhouse. It was looking like a three way play- off in the pouring rain.
The Scot, Colin Montgomerie, who had looked a potential winner at start of play, was lurking at -9 but lost shots waywardly on the back nine. He finished joint third with Steen Tinning of Denmark and the Spaniard, Miguel Angel Martin.

InterNations “We are All One in A Million” Exclusive Moscow Events.

Angel Taxi

Selection_039This summer Angel Taxi finally opened a hotel in Sukhum, Abkhazia.

Angel Taxi continues to sponsor major events at Moscow Conservatory. We are also organising master-classes for opera singers, by Anna Skininsky and Richard Barrett.


Business Cocktails & Launch of Acapella Restaurant

Selection_054The event was sponsored by: AWARA Group, Grant Property, AM Ароматный Мир, SPEYBURN Highland Single malt Scottish Whisky, CATTO’S Blended Scotch Whisky, anCnoc, and last but by no means least, HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY. Amongst speakers, Alan Thompson, Russia director of the RBCC said during his welcoming speech: “I am very optimistic about the resent business climate in Russia… lot’s of people are
 taking interest in Russia and taking example out of the wonderful networking event that we are hosting together with the French chamber and the Swissôtel.” Marc Ohlendorf, General manager, Swissôtel KRASNYE HOLMY, mentioned that: “80% of what we are serving today is the produce of Russia, but that doesn’t mean we are serving only borsch or Russian recipes, you can create really good international dishes here…

We welcome you to come back here to visit this 
new restaurant…” Pavel Chinsky from Chambre de commerce et d’industrie franco-russe CCIFR said:
“We have 260 people here this evening… it shows the potential of what we can do when we come together… it’s great to have so many people together in a wonderful environment with the launch of a new restaurant. “ Jon Hellevig, the managing partner of AWARA group said “I am glad this event has shown how despite the weather (it was a very miserable rainy day) we are able to organise this kind of happy, positive event, this shows our internal resolve…”


Russia’s accession to the WTO – the first conclusions one year later

Selection_006When on 22 August 2012 Russia became the 156th member state of the World
Trade Organization, it was the end of long lasting talks and the beginning of high expectations. Now, one year later, we are drawing the first conclusions.

Entering the WTO, Russia agreed to adhere to the obligations under the signed protocol which foresees among other provisions that the import tariff rates should not exceed the rates provided for by the WTO. The requirements regarding the regulation of the import tariff imply a partial decrease or even a complete cancellation
of certain tariff lines. During the talks between the WTO and Russia, the decrease in revenue for the Russian Federation was one of the hottest topics. The complexity
of this question is also due to the fact that the consequences will be felt throughout the Customs Union, whereas Belarus and Kazakhstan are not yet members of the WTO. In order to reach, nevertheless, the final agreement, a series of compromises needed to be achieved. First of all, the changes do not need to be implemented right away but within a transitional period of seven years with the main changes to be expected after the third year following the accession. The first amendment of the customs import tariff was published on 6 August 2013 and came into effect on 1 September. A total decrease of the rates can be observed from 9.6% to 7.8%. However, importers should also be prepared to see an increase of those rates which are currently lower than the ones provided for by the WTO.

Another issue which many seen related to the decrease in revenue coming from customs payments is the so called recycling fee which was introduced by Russia on 1 September 2012. The fee is levied on motor vehicles, and for cars it ranges from about 420 – 2 700 €. While the fee is imposed on
all imports into Russia, vehicles produced in Russia are exempt. As the fee has a severe impact on EU vehicle exports to Russia, the European Union has already filed the first case against the Russian vehicle recycling fee and is supported also by Japan and
the United States. Moreover, the new certification legislation, called the “Technical Regulations” of the Customs Union will remain in force. This is due to the fact that only in 2010, the three countries decided to introduce the Technical Regulations of the Customs Union and assign the competences regarding their establishment, as well as the coordination and control related to it, to the Customs Union Commission. The scheme elaborated by the Commission introduced 47 regulations of which currently 21 have already come into force, 11 have been approved and another 15 still need to be approved. Starting from 1 January 2012, with the new Technical Regulations of the Customs Union coming into force step by step, the respective national standards will no longer be valid.

The current picture shows that Russia’s accession to the WTO is not the end of a long path but only the first steps towards a more liberal trading environment.

Bettina Wisthaler, Senior Manager Import Handling at RUSSIA CONSULTING

What do the numbers on the Red Number Plates mean?

Selection_007001 – Great Britain

002 – Germany

003 – Canada

004 – USA

005 – Japan

006 – Spain

007 – France

008 – Belgium

009 – Greece

010 – Denmark

011 – Italy

012 – Luxembourg

013 – Netherlands

014 – Norway

015 – Turkey

016 – Australia

017 – Austria

018 – Algeria

019 – Egypt

020 – Rwanda*

021 – Argentina

022 – Afghanistan

023 – Myanmar (the former Burma)

024 – Bolivia

025 – Brazil

026 – Burundi

027 – Ghana

028 – Bangladesh

029 – Guinea

030 – Zambia

031 – Peru

032 – India

033 – Indonesia

034 – Jordan

035 – Iraq

036 – Iran

037 – Ireland

038 – Iceland

039 – Cambodia
(the former Kampuchea)

040 – Kenya

041 – Cyprus

042 – Congo

043 – Costa Rica

044 – Kuwait

045 – Laos

047 – Lebanon

048 – Libya

049 – Mali

050 – Morocco

051 – Mexico

052 – Nepal

053 – Nigeria

054 – Venezuela

055 – New Zealand

056 – Pakistan

057 – Burkina Faso*

058 – Senegal*

059 – formerly Syria. Now code 133 is used.

060 – Somalia

061 – Sudan

062 – Sierra Leone

063 – Thailand

064 – Tanzania

065 – Tunisia

066 – Uganda

067 – Uruguay

068 – Philippines

069 – Finland

070 – Sri Lanka

071 – Chad

072 – Switzerland

073 – Sweden

074 – Ecuador

075 – Ethiopia

076 – Angola

077 – Democratic Republic of Congo (the former
Republic Zaire)

078 – Colombia

079 – Cameroon

080 – Guinea-Bissau

081 – Portugal

082 – Bulgaria

083 – Hungary

084 – Vietnam

086 – Poland

087 – Korean People’s Democratic Republic
(North Korea)

088 – Cuba

089 – Mongolia

090 – China

091 – Romania

092 – formerly Czechoslovakia (nowadays Czech Republic (148) and Slovakia (149))

093 – Serbia

094 – Benin

095 – Gabon

096 – Guyana*

097 – Mauritania

098 – Madagascar*

099 – Malaysia

100 – Niger*

101 – Singapore

102 – Togo*

103 – Central African Republic (code 106 used earlier)

104 – Jamaica*

105 – Yemen

106 – formerly Central African Republic. Now code 103
is used.

107 – Palestine

108 – Nicaragua

109 – Mozambique

110 – Equatorial Guinea

111 – Sovereign Military
Order of Malta (earlier code 111 belonged to Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon))

112 – Malta

113 – Cape Verde

115 – Zimbabwe

116 – United Arab Emirates

117 – Côte d’Ivoire*

118 – Namibia

119 – formerly Republic of South Africa. Now code 137 is used.

120 – Oman

121 – Qatar

122 – formerly Arab League. Now code 503 is used

123 – formerly Liechtenstein

124 – South Korea

125 – Chile

126 – Panama (earlier code 126 belonged to UNESCO;
see code 512)

127 – Israel

128 – FYR Macedonia (earlier code 128 belonged to EU)

129 – Albania

130 – formerly international organizations

131 – Holy See (Vatican)

132 – Lithuania

133 – Syria (code 059
used earlier)

134 – Estonia

135 – Latvia

136 – Bahrain

137 – Republic of South Africa (code 119 used earlier)

138 – Armenia

139 – formerly Georgia. Now code 158 is used.

140 – Saudi Arabia

141 – Slovenia

142 – Uzbekistan

143 – Kyrgyzstan

144 – Croatia

145 – Azerbaijan

146 – Ukraine

147 – Moldova

148 – Czech Republic

149 – Slovakia

150 – Belarus

151 – Tajikistan

152 – Turkmenistan

153 – Kazakhstan

154 – Guatemala

155 – Bosnia and Herzegovina

156 – Eritrea

157 – Paraguay*

158 – Georgia
(code 139 used earlier)

159 – Brunei-Darussalam

160 – Gambia

161 – Vietnam

162 – Mauritius

163 – Dominican Republic

164 – Montenegro

165 – South Ossetia

166 – Abkhazia

167 – Djibouti


Selection_038Eurohome, a subsidiary of the Voerman Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Sherman Pereira as Russian Country Manager. Sherman’s appointment brings 20 years of removal and relocation experience to the Moscow team. Eurohome Relocation Services has been assisting expats in Moscow for the past 10 years with a growing list of relocation services including home searches, cultural and partner programs and HR mobility solutions. Sherman, who has worked in Australia, South Africa, a number of Eastern European countries and 4 years previously in Russia, is looking forward to raising the level of relocation and mobility services in the market. “We are currently working on some new and exciting innovations which will be rolled out in the next few months that will focus on providing real and practical solutions for the Human Resource market in Russia,” Sherman commented to Moscow Expat Life.

Eurohome, which has its head office in the Netherlands, can service any destination in the world through its close network of partners.

Feel free to contact Eurohome for your relocation needs on +7 495 502 9523 or at [email protected]

Bolshaya Dmitrovka and Nikolskaya Ulitsa


Have you been out walking round the centre of Moscow recently? Noticed the changes? The cars are being slowly but gradually forced off streets which were only recently hell on earth for pedestrians and drivers alike. I took a Saturday after noon walk and rediscovered two such streets: Bolshaya Dmitrovka and Nikolskaya Ulitsa.

Not quite all the cars on Bolshaya Dmitrovka have been banned, because there are quite a few government buildings on this street, and no self respecting senior official is going to walk to work in any country. Orange car evacuators, wait with engines running at strategic points up and down the street. Meanwhile the street itself has suddenly started to reveal its glory, and Muscovites have started, cautiously at first, to claim back this street for themselves.

Starting from the North end of the street walking South, a vista of impressively clean mostly pre-revolutionary architecture sweeps down to the red steeples of the Kremlin. Why didn’t I notice the beauty of this place before? Could it be because of the c a r s? There are a few people walking in the narrowed road between the widened pavements. On the right is the latest home of ‘Gastronomic House of Hediard’ which moved from its spacious but empty pervious location on Sadovaya Kudrinskaya. Further down is the Moskovsky Musikalny Teatr, where you can catch a highly recommended version of Nutcracker during the New Year’s holiday. On, past the Generalny Propkuratora of the Russian Federation, and then I am in top level boutique land which is making this street one of the most expensive and fastest growing retail areas in the capital. The exclusive Nobu restaurant is at number 20, and so are a whole range of brand boutiques such as Stefano Ricci and Prada, as the street crosses the also pedestrianized Kammergersky Pereulok. One of Moscow’s only vegetarian and vegan restaurants with the name: Fresh is here, which is indeed refreshing news. My publisher tells me that he enjoyed an amazing American salad here with avocado adorned with a totally delicious dressing, then Falafel and an Italian salad. All very good!


Further down, almost at the Southern end of the street on the left is the Moscow Operetta Theatre where holiday specials: Mowgli, Cinderella and Graf Orlov can be enjoyed this December. On the other side of the road one passes the heavy red walls of the Novy Manege, built in the end of the XIX century in the pseudo-Russian style. Novy Manage is still functioning today but overshadowed as far as exhibition spaces go, by its gigantic relative, the Manege on Manezhnaya Square.

The sound and aggression of the traffic hits you hard as you come out onto Okhotny Ryad, however respite is not far away in the form of an underground subway over to the Teatralny Metro station’s Southern exit. Up through a winding pathway past the suggestively named ‘Vanil’noe Nebo’ ‘Vanilla Sky’ bar and restaurant which must be one of Moscow’s best and least exploited locations for an eatery, and out into Nikolskaya Ulitsa. This street is another example of classical architecture, rich in history and deep cultural intrigue. A whole book could be written about this street. Here, at number 11, you can find the remains of the Nikolsky Greek Monastery. The building on this site became the centre of a small Greek colony in the city during Ivan The Terrible’s reign, until the main building was destroyed in the 1930s. The neighbouring Zaikonospasskiy Monastery faired only slight better.

Number 15 now houses a department of the Russian State Humanitarian University. The architectural styles of the gateway defies description, but seems to be made of up of an eclectic mixture of Gothic and Modern styles, a feast for any architecture student in Moscow. The building used to house the Synod Printing House, where the first book in Russia was printed; the Acts of the Apostles in 1564. Here also, in 1703, the first Russian newspaper, Vedomosti was printed. At number 17, the Pokrovsky Musical Theatre can be found, which currently boasts an impressive repertoire of operas, including one of Benjamin Britten’s works for families ‘Let’s Make an Opera’.

Further up the street towards Lyubyanskay Ploschad, The Nikolskaya Plaza fits in uncomfortably well with its ancient neighbours. Here you can find (on the left and side of the building) the re-branded Papa’s and of course the Tibet Indian restaurant where some of us meet on Tuesdays for a dose of curry. Almost opposite the Nikolskaya Plaza I found a genuine ‘hole in the wall,’ the Lapsha Panda café, the interior of which is a tiny concrete space carved out from under a stairwell, resembling a bomb shelter. Here you can buy real baodze, cooked whilst you watch, and Chinese soups for unheard of prices in today’s Moscow.

In tune with the Moscow Mayor’s drive to brighten up the city, most of the buildings on Nikolskaya Ulitsa and Bolshaya Dmitovskaya are now lit up at night, giving the architectural ensembles a surreal, almost Disney land effect. Now that the cars have been forced out of these and other central Moscow streets you can walk, eat, catch a show in parts of Moscow that we knew existed but never really got to know.