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“Go to Minsk if you feel like working on foreign projects”

This is my third year in Minsk. My first trip here in 2016 was to visit colleagues from my previous job. I’d been coming here regularly for 18 months and started considering the relocation to Belarus. It all happened very quickly: I posted my resume on Friday—to take it down next Monday, had so many responses. Doing all the interviews took me a couple of weeks. I didn’t have to search for accommodation: a girl I knew was moving to another apartment, and I took her old place.

“Paperwork? It couldn’t have been easier”

Registration, certificate from the employer—and that’s it. I only waited in line once. And still it was because I’d come to the wrong door.

There were no fears. At the time of moving, I already had an idea of Minsk as not too big (compared to St. Petersburg), green and comfortable city. St. Petersburg is great for tourists, but there’s no time for cultural life if you actually live there.

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I started traveling more after my relocation. I fly both from Vilnius and Minsk with Belavia, and I travel to Russia by train. I’ve toured Belarus during my first year and a half here: Brest, Grodno, Mogilev, Bobruisk, Nesvizh, Mir. Now, unfortunately, I can’t find the time; but, all in all, it’s very convenient: you can catch an evening train and be anywhere in the country by morning. Real estate is cheaper here.

“Renting an apartment in downtown Minsk costs the same as one on the outskirts of St. Petersburg”

High-quality foodstuffs. As it turned out, I’d buy the same Belarusian dairy products back in St. Petersburg because it was the best. Public transportation is excellent, I don’t drive and see no need to. Places with no subway or irregular bus service are reachable by taxi, it’s inexpensive. The weather in Minsk is more pleasant, especially in summer. As for wintertime—depends on the perspective. I used to do mountain skiing, but Belarus isn’t particularly suitable for this. Of course, there’s Silichi, where snow guns get you snow even with the outside temperature above 0°C, but skiing is better on dry snow. On the other hand, snow-free streets are much cleaner.

You should go to Minsk if you feel like working on foreign projects. The main customers here are based in the USA and Europe—unlike in Russia where many companies service the domestic market. Another distinction: communication with customers is direct. The salary here can be higher, and the living costs are lower. A simple example, 65 kopecks fare (~­¢30) is very cheap. Those who need to communicate in Russian will find it easy to adapt in Belarus. I decided to prepare a bit before the move: read Mova nanova, a book by Gleb Lobodenko in Belarusian. As it turned out, this language not spoken here often, but some signs, news items, and texts are in it. I advise my colleagues to consider Belarus as a country to relocate to. There’s been enough of everything for me here so far—and then we’ll see.

Upsides
Good transportation links.
Higher salaries and lower cost of living.

Downsides
The weather is bad for skiing.