back in piter

I’m back in Piter for the year-end-vacation after a break of a year and a half and places, as always, change. Some changes are induced by collective destruction – the lack of snow in St. Petersburg now is probably to some extent due to global warming. However, other changes have direct causes. What really knocked me off my feet right after we landed was that it is now mandatory to wear a seat belt in a car – something almost unthinkable when I was living here two years ago. Really unthinkable! Good that the law was changed – but I do have to ask myself if the deeper motivation is the demographic crisis Russia is facing – the law could be an attempt to raise the average life expectancy ;-)).

Another interesting change – at least for visiting foreigners – is that the registration procedure for private invitations has changed. The registration no longer has to be done at the OVIR, your invitees can simply go to the next post office. The process still entails filling out a lot of paper work (and you end up with more paper in your passport), but beats the lines and soft briberies (e.g. box of chocolates) at OVIR. However, visitors apparently also have to carry a copy of their return ticket with them now…

Inflation has always been present in Russia (the current government’s goal is to keep it under 10% p.a. but I don’t think they were very successful during the last year) – and this was something both my partner and I remarked separately. Everything has gotten noticeably more expensive. While the metro still is relatively cheep (14 rubles for a token) a half liter of Nevskoe at Orlandina now costs 70 rubles. And concert tickets have risen. Local bands normally cost no more than 200 rubles while I was living here (2004-2006), however now 300 rubles and more are frequently taken for known locals bands.

While Russia is not known for being baby friendly (baby carriage in the metro anyone?), we actually managed to go shopping with a baby carriage. And the new trams here even have a special door for baby carriages without stairs to climb. So slowly but surely…

Somethings also don’t change – smoking still remains the norm in clubs as well as drinking beer (and those horrible alco-energy drinks) on the street while it is freezing cold outside… Something I do miss in Copenhagen! 😉

2 Comments

  1. sergiomazzanti

    Thanx for the interesting account. I miss Russia! And for me it’s 2 years and half since I was there…
    The last time I was in Moscow they were beginning to forbid drinking on the street, but I don’t know if it’s now effective.

  2. dew

    thanx for the comment 🙂 actually, i didn’t pay too much attention to drinking on the street, but it seemed like less people were drinking on the street (but it could have been because of winter…)

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