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Moscow



What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

We live outside the city in a gated community beside the Anglo American school called Pokrovsky Hills. Great for families. They are very sizable duplexes with a common area and small playground. Transportation is offered by the management of community to the subway system. The subway is very safe and reliable. - Oct 31, 2017
I live in an apartment 1.5 miles to the embassy. - Sep 26, 2016
For embassy housing: on the compound, in a city apartment (singles and couples without children), two housing complexes outside of the city center - Pokrovsky Hills and Rosinka. Each has their pros and cons. Those with kids at the Anglo-American School of Moscow seem to enjoy living in Pokrovsky as it is next door to the school but the commute from there to the embassy is difficult. - May 17, 2016
Everything is available - this is Europe's largest metropolis. Most expats live in modern and renovated apartments in downtown, but I, as a grad student at the time, stayed in a student dorm (obschezhitie) in Yugozapadnie district, a calm if isolated area. - Sep 11, 2015
Throughout the city, housing on compound, outside of the city, closer to the school - Jun 30, 2015
There are four sort of housing areas: the Embassy compound, the City apartments, Pokrovsky Hills (next door to the Anglo-American School AAS) and Rosinka. We lived on the compound and while the convenience is definitely nice in the cold snowy weather, I would have preferred one of the city apartments. I used to joke that I felt we lived on an old MGM backstage lot because at times you would never see a soul outside even though all the housing units were occupied. The City apartments were all accessible by bus/metro same with Pokrovsky. Rosinka supposedly had gorgeous houses by a lake, but the commute was terrible sometimes up to 2+ hours in traffic. - Oct 14, 2014
Lots of options. Pokrovsky Hills is adjacent to the Anglo-American school and is a great place for families with school-aged kids. - Feb 17, 2014
There are 4 housing options: the NEC which is at the Embassy compound (families with children and heads of section are housed there); Pokrovsky which is where the Anglo-American school is located, about a 45-minute commute to the Embassy (families with school-aged children are generally housed there); Rosinka which is "mini-America" but so far away from the Embassy that seemingly only contractors are housed there; and city apartments that are spread throughout the city (for singles, couples, and families with kids who aren't yet school-aged). - Nov 13, 2013
On compound housing, city apartments (varies from 20 minute walk to 45 minute metro ride), and housing in the suburbs - Pokrovsky and Rosinka - the latter is a bit far from the center. - Jul 28, 2013
There are three types of housing: the US Embassy compound, city apartments, and suburban, gated commuwnity living. People with school-aged children live either on the embassy compound or in the 'burbs. The embassy compound makes for a five-minute commute, but it's a bit of a fishbowl. The two suburban communities are really quite far out. Pokrovsky Hills, one of the suburban compounds, is co-located with the Anglo-American School, relatively far from the city center. Rosinka, the other suburban community, is even farther out and as far as I know, not even near a Metro station. The city apartments are located in the center of Moscow, all within an easy commute via public transporation to the embassy. We are in a city apartment and are very happy with our location. Some city apartments are on the older side with funky layouts, but some apartments are new and very nice. Overall, however, wherever you are housed, your housing may be smaller than what you are used to at other posts. Be judicious in what you bring as storage is most likely to be very limited. - Jul 18, 2013
There are four types, the compound, Rosinka (furthest out), Pokrovsky(by AAS), and city apartments (15-60 min from the Embassy). Families of school aged children do not get placed in city apartments due to the school bus routes. - Jan 13, 2013
There are four housing types: NEC, Pokrovsky, Rosinka and city apartments. NEC: Apartments on the compound. Agency heads get townhouses, everyone else gets an apartment based on their family size. Not fancy, but you literally could do an entire tour here without leaving the compound. Not that I recommend that, but all the conveniences are here. Gym, commissary, the commute to work is no more than five minutes door-to-door. There's a bus that takes the kids to school with multiple return times to accommodate after-school activities. The NEC gets AFN and has internet wired to each apartment (bring your own router). NEC dwellers really don't need to bring a car unless you plan on a lot of day-trips, and with the construction, many personal vehicles will be parked in a garage about 3/4 of a mile away. What the apartments have in convenience, they give up in size, especially if you're of a higher rank. The washer/dryer will be either American sized or European, so if this is important to you, be sure to tell housing. Euro washers take twice as long. Construction is starting on the new annex and will last a few years so there will be some noise and dust during working hours and for part of the day on Saturday. OBO is making a strong effort to keep the community aware of the plans and have shown willingness to be flexible. There are two metro stations near-by and two trolley routes. There are a couple of grocery stores and pharmacies within walking distance.

Pokrovsky: Out next to the Anglo-American School. Housing is multi-story townhouses. A good option if you have kids. There's a shuttle that runs occasionally between the compound and the two closest metro stations. Those stations are walkable but not close and there is no shuttle to the embassy.

Rosinka: Way the heck out on the outskirts of town, the commute is the thing most people complain about and can take hours if traffic is bad. Sort of like living in West VA and commuting into DC. Very nice housing and area otherwise though. There's a shuttle that runs between the compound and the embassy and a bus that runs to the school and back.

City Apts: Apartments in the city will vary widely. Some are in newer buildings and are designed as a single unit with upgraded (for Russia) amenities and others are older and combine what used to be two apartments into one. Some will be quieter, others will be noisier. There is no transportation to the school. Local amenities will vary depending on where you are. You will have the hot water turned off for a couple of weeks during the summer for some sort of maintenance and GSO is typically very bad about keeping apartment dwellers aware of things like building access card changes and water outages. The commissary will deliver orders. - Mar 14, 2012
Embassy people live in one of four places -- the compound, one of two suburban enclaves, or the city apartments. Currently, the city apartments aren't allowed if you have school-age children. One of the enclaves has a shuttle to the Embassy, the other has a shuttle to the metro. We live in the one w/ the shuttle to the metro. You can also walk around a kilometer to the nearest metro. My commute, without a car, is about 50 min, with a combination of walking and metro. Driving is about 45 min, but I don't have a car, so it's usually walk/metro for me. The commute from the city apartments is around 20 min, I think. In the compound, it's nothing, of course. The compound is apartments, the two enclaves are town houses. Ours is three stories, three bedroom/three bath. We like it. - May 29, 2011
US diplomats live on several compounds, including near the embassy and near the school; others live far away in Rosinka, a 60-90 min 1-way commute. - Jan 1, 2011
The US Embassy has apartments within the compound. In addition, it rents apartments from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the city and rents townhouses at two distant compounds (Pokrovsky and Rosinka.) Having lived in a city apartment, I can say that it was the best option out of all three. It was close to two Metro stations and was within walking distance to grocery stores, restaurants, and the Kremlin. The apartment itself was brand new and spacious with a beautiful view of a wooded area just across the street. - Jul 31, 2010
On compound: city apartments, near the school, then Rosinka. Rosinka is a minimum of 1-hour commute time each way! - May 22, 2010
Plenty. There is embassy compound housing, which a lot of people love, but it's a fish bowl kind of living. Everyone who lives on compound sees and hears what you do or what you are up to. Many folks who reside on the embassy compound never leave the compound - which is a shame. There are several apartment buildings around the city, which vary from a 10-45 minute commute via the metro and walking. The embassy owns two building areas further out called Hines and Rosinka. Hines is modern apartment-style living, very nice. Rosinka is WAY further out, but it is built like American -style town homes with HUGE two-car garages. Because of the limited transportation to the embassy from Rosinka, it's not a favorable place to live, because you either have to drive to get to work, or rely on the embassy bus with limited service. - May 5, 2010
You can either live in an apartment in the center, or one of several developments and neighborhoods on the outskirts. Anything in the middle will cost far less, but be removed from the most interesting areas, and nicest housings. New construction exists on the outskirts, but in the center your best bet is to look for a "evroremont"-type place, i.e. European standard renovation. It won't be, not really, but it will be nice enough. You can also do what I did, which is buy a place and then rennovate it to exactly how I wanted, but that is unrealistic for most. - Feb 13, 2010
generous. There are many choices for Embassy staff: on-compound, city apartments or the distant gated communities of Rosinka and Pokrovsky Hills. Commute from the far communities can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hrs, depending on traffic (the Embassy runs free shuttle buses at peak hours)City apts have metro commutes of 20-40 mins. If you drive in the city, early morning is a quick commute, the evening is a nightmare; can take up to 2 hrs to cover 1 mile of distance. - Jan 23, 2010
In town either in apartments in the city or on the Embassy compound, in Pokrovsky Hills, or in Rosinka. I have not been to Rosinka. They say the housing there is nice, but it's in Siberia and people say the commute is horrific. I would not recommend it. We are in Pokrovsky. I would prefer to be in the city and have all of that great Moscow life at my doorstep, but I prefer to be at the school where I work, where my two kids spend most of their lives, and where they have friends who are easy to get to and from all different nationalisties. I've only seen a few Embassy Compound apartments, and they really are kind of tacky. Remind me of Oakwood, though bigger of course. Kind of dingy, dull layouts, dark in those rooms. And the kids can only play with other Americans when they play on the compound, so their experience is very non-foreign. But, if you have no kids, if you work like a dog till all hours and want to make your life about your work, then that's exactly where you want to be! The convenience is unrivaled. - Nov 6, 2009
Houses outside of town with garages and fireplaces. Houses in a gated community next to the American School with a half-hour to 45-minute (?) commute, or the New Embassy Compound (NEC). I can only express an opinion about the NEC housing. Standard 1980's not very creatively done (why not orient the housing to the south so the places could have some light?) but livable. Like living in the 1950's with kids, they can live in the middle of the huge city, but be outside running around, riding bikes, skateboards, playing in the embassy gym, buying candy at the commissary. It's idyllic in that respect. Five minute walk to two metro stops, fruit and vegetable kiosks, and a 10 minute walk to a grocery store and many other conveniences. - Oct 24, 2009
Rosinka provides nice townhouses way outside the city (long commute). Pokrovsky Hills is by the school, so most families are there (moderate commute). There are also city apartments in the center, as well as the NEC (compound). - Aug 29, 2009
The embassy has four different types of housing.1. NEC - on compound housing for singles, couples and families of varying sizes. Pros:no commute, located in the city center and a great starting point to explore the city. Cons: some people talked about the embassy fishbowl (some don't agree).The housing is drab, industrial and can be depressing, though some people did a good job of making it homey. Some people complained of never being able to truly get away from work since work is always right there. 2. City apartments for singles and couples with no children. I really never heard too many cons about these apartments. Some are fixed up better than others, but overall I didn't hear too many complaints.3. Pokrovskiy Hills - townhomes for families. It is located near the school. Pros: great for families that have school-aged children. A good expat community, with a mini market (though it's expensive). Cons:about a 40 minute commute to work, and some people don't feel part of the embassy community when they're out there.4. Rosinka - townhomes for singles, couples and families located in the outskirts of Moscow. Pros:Probably the best housing and neighborhood with a good gym, restaurant and mini market. You get fireplaces and garages which are very helpful in the winter. Air quality is much better. Cons:The biggest and ONLY con is the commute which can be anywhere from 1hr and 10 minutes to 3 hours on a bad day. One night the traffic was so bad that people got home at 10 pm, though that is not the norm, just more of a horror story. The commute is enough to make people not want to live out there anymore and it really wears on you after a few months. If we were to get posted in Moscow again we would not choose to live in Rosinka. Having a two hour commute both ways affects your quality of life in Moscow. - Aug 22, 2009
City apartments: 20-minute commute; Pokrovsky Hills: 1 hour door-to-door; Rosinka: an extremely painful commute. - Jul 12, 2009
Most students live in dormitories, the disadvantage of which is that the majority of them are located far from the city center. - Sep 12, 2008
Government employees live at the Embassy, in city apartments, at Pokrovsky Hills or at Rosinka. The embassy and most apartments are located near the city center, Pokrovsky is only about 12 miles North but it can take over an hour to get there with traffic and Rosinka is even further out. The expat community is spread across the city from Rosinka to apartments in the center. - Aug 25, 2008