OK, to start from the beginning: Novosibirsk is located in Siberia, which is part of Russia, the largest country in the world. The Russian President is currently Vladimir Putin. The capital of Russia is Moscow.
Siberia is huge! It stretches from the Ural mountains on the west to the Pacific Ocean on the east. All of Europe could fit inside of Siberia several times over. Siberia is well known for its huge deposits of natural resources such as coal, gas, oil, fur, timber, etc. The largest cities in Siberia around Novosibirsk are Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, Novokuznetsk and Barnaul.
Novosibirsk Region is located in the southern part of western Siberia, about 3,200 km from Moscow (three and a half hours by air).
Novosibirsk Region is well-known for many different industries (heavy machines, textiles, chemicals and other) located here, with Novosibirsk being the largest Siberian transportation hub and the capital of Siberian Federal District. Also, the part of it called AkademGorodok is often called as Silicon Tayga, as it is the home to many research institutions and IT companies.
Novosibirsk city (founded in 1893 and called Novo-Nikolaevsk prior to October Revolution) is quite large, and it is difficult to draw a line what is territorially Novosibirsk and what isn’t among other closely located towns and dwellings. You will hear about Berdsk, Akademgorodok, Krasnoobsk (Vashnil) and probably other neighbouring villages. Akademgorodok is considered the part of Novosibirsk, while the other usually not, however, Berdsk and Krasnoobsk are not much farther and many of their citizens work in Novosibirsk offices and commute daily. About 1,5 million people live in Novosibirsk area.
The climate in Novosibirsk Region is extreme in many ways. Temperatures reach extremes of -45 C in winter and + 45 C in summer. Thanks God that those extremes only last for about a week each! In between those extreme weeks life here is OK: it is neither deadly cold in Winter, nor hellishly hot in Summer. Snow covers everything throughout Winter, so it is quite dirty when it all melts in the Spring. For more info on what to wear, please visit the Hints and Tips section.
What is life in Novosibirsk like?
People live mostly in block apartments. Private houses are rare, inhabited mostly by the very poor or the very rich. The poor continue to live in their old, run-down houses because they can’t afford repairs or to step up to an apartment. The rich buy very nice houses which are, for them, success symbols.
Block apartments utilise either gas or electricity for cooking. About half of all apartments have telephones. The majority of apartment buildings are five floors tall with relatively small flats. These flats are called Khrustchovka (singular) – after Khrustchov, one of our better-known General Secretaries back in Soviet times who built this type of structure as a quick and relatively inexpensive way to provide apartments on a large scale. These five-floor buildings don’t have elevators, though taller buildings usually do.
The average worker (for example, a clerk) earns about 400 dollars a month (4800 dollars a year). The average manager will get starting from 600 dollars a month, 7200 a year. Upper level managers and directors will make much more, Let’s say from 1000 dollars per month and on. You might be surprised by such low levels of income: don’t be! In Novosibirsk, this is quite enough to live on.
Why you might be interested in coming here
Scenario 1 – Business. As we said, the region is very developed in commercial sense, and it serves a gate to Siberian market, so if your company plans to enter this part of the world to do business, you’d better plan your trip to Novosibirsk (and bookmark this page for future reference).
Our region has some advantages to entice you: a cheap and well-educated workforce (you’ve already read about the salaries and nearly half of the working population has a graduate degree), strong market for goods and services.
Scenario 2 – Leisure/Adventure. You’ve been to Moscow: just another capital city. If you will decide to see the REAL Russia, to come to a place in the middle of Siberia that you could never imagine visiting even a decade ago, you might want to choose some Siberian city or Altai Region (great for tourism/recreation) and Novosibirsk is on your way to there. It’s an adventure!
One final point. Russian ladies surpass all competition in both beauty and intellect. This is not just our imagination! We have heard this report from about every single foreign visitor we have ever spoken to about it.
Things to have in mind when considering a visit to Novosibirsk
In most cases you will need a visa to enter Russia. Apply to your Russian embassy for further information.
Few people here speak English, and most of those that do are younger. So don’t expect that average manager or employee candidate will be able to speak to you without an interpreter unless you’re in the English-dominated industry like IT. Be sure to bring an interpreter with you, or hire some in Novosibirsk.
Novosibirsk is quite civilised. Words like ‘in the middle of Siberia’ might scare you but don’t be! It is really big city with everything the civilisation should provide. You can expect that phones are working here. For mobile phones, consult the company that supports the standard your phone uses. Information about this can be found in our Phones and Internet section. Internet and e-mail are also available, dial-up, leased lines, GPRS/3G/LTE. All the other attributes of modern civilisation are also present – TV (but not in English), FM radio (plays lots of English/American music), public transport of all kinds including underground (subway), police, banking, fast food, Dolby cinemas, night clubs, hospitals etc.
Our money is called Roubles (pronounced ‘rublz’). The average rate of exchange for one dollar is about 55 Roubles. Dollars are also widespread in Russia, although you can exchange them only through banks (officially). It is also unlikely that you will be able to pay in dollars for services, such as eating at a restaurant, or taking a taxi. Euros are also popular, but not to the extent of the dollar. ATMs for most systems such as Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, etc. are available and widespread, but not as widely as in the West. For more information on money issues, exchanges, rates, ATMs, etc. in Novosibirsk, please visit our Hints and Tips section.
People in Russia and in Novosibirsk are generally very friendly to foreigners, so in most cases you won’t have any problems. Instead, most people are usually glad to help you. We do recommend that you avoid arguments with drunk people on sensitive matters such as Chechnya, Serbia/Kosovo/Iraq/Syria, Yeltsin, Putin, Communism, etc!