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Thread: Moscow Housing

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    Moscow Housing

    I have just watched a really interesting TV program about 'super houses' in Moscow that described the expensive apartments being built and the extravagant dachas arising in the woods around Moscow. However, it made me wonder how much space the average Moscow family now has. The program was talking about one room apartments but is this actually one room plus bedrooms or just one room to live, eat and sleep? Can anyone suggest what sort of living space the following imaginary (not necessarily average) family would have - father (quite senior in bank), mother ( lecturer at Moscow State) daughter (student at Moscow State) plus one set of grandparents. Is it likely that grandparents would live in same apartment?

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    Re: Moscow Housing

    Quote Originally Posted by BJ
    I The program was talking about one room apartments but is this actually one room plus bedrooms or just one room to live, eat and sleep?
    In Russia, "one-room apartment" typically means one general-purpose room, a bathroom and toilet (sometimes separate, sometimes in the same space), a hall and a kitchen. People usually eat in the kitchen, except on special occasions, so the room is used to live and to sleep in.

    Quote Originally Posted by BJ
    Can anyone suggest what sort of living space the following imaginary (not necessarily average) family would have - father (quite senior in bank), mother ( lecturer at Moscow State) daughter (student at Moscow State) plus one set of grandparents. Is it likely that grandparents would live in same apartment?
    Well, there are banks and banks, and there are bankers and bankers, you know, but a typical high-ranking executive in a bank would have a nice income and be able to afford a good apartment. If the grandparents actually live with them (which is not too likely, but not impossible either) I'd say such a family would have an apartment of at least 6 or 7 rooms (including bedrooms). Actually, I have seen a smaller family occupying a larger apartment, but that particular family wasn't really typical.

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    Thank you!

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    The apts and dachas you saw on TV are probably not typical of the average income Russian family. I checked into new apt buildings at the end of various metro lines (maybe a 10-20 min marshutka ride to the station) and they are starting at $50000 for a one room flat (1 small living/sleeping room, 1 toilet, 1 bath, kitchen and entry hall). The apts in the city center are renting for $750-$4000 a month depending on age, remont and facilities (parking, security etc are expensive). You can rent apts for much more than $4000 if you want a building with a health spa or other luxury services.
    As for dachas, anything that looks like a big house in America is for the rich. Currently they pay little or no taxes on these but the government is talking about starting to tax them which will be very expensive. Also there has been a story on the Moscow news about the rich building dachas in ecologically sensitve or protected areas. It seems all they had to do was give government agencies and inspectors a few "gifts" and their private communities on the lake shore were OK'd.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    As for dachas, anything that looks like a big house in America is for the rich.
    No Russian house will look like "a big house in America". They may look like big houses for the American rich, though. If a house, in Russia, looks like an American house, it is not a house but a summer cabin.

    The reason is simple: an average "big house in America" is made of something hardly distinguishable from paper affixed to a fragile framework. Houses are not built like that in Russia or anywhere in Europe.
    Jonesboro, Arkansas. Mean, stupid, violent fat people, no jobs, nothing to do, hotter than a dog with 2 d--cks.

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    BJ
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    The most revolting house on 'Super Homes' - the program I watched, was a place that rivalled Versailles on the inside but on the outside was incredibly ugly. The guy who'd built it was so paranoid about security that he'd made it look like a laboratory on the outside and had put it in the heart of his factory. On the inside - there was a tennis court, 3 swimming pools and enough gold leaf to sink a battleship. Interestingly there were his and hers bedrooms. Don't the rich sleep together? The beds were so ornate they looked like they belonged in a museum. It was the most revoltingly decorated place I've ever seen. New Russian - it was called. It was as it the more you spent, the more it was desirable. Someone should teach this guy the expression - less is more. Still, he seemed quite personable!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BJ
    Interestingly there were his and hers bedrooms. Don't the rich sleep together? The beds were so ornate they looked like they belonged in a museum. It was the most revoltingly decorated place I've ever seen. New Russian - it was called. It was as it the more you spent, the more it was desirable. Someone should teach this guy the expression - less is more. Still, he seemed quite personable!
    Nouveau riches always imitate the nobility . Having separate bedrooms was quite common in many noble families in Russia, which borrowed this custom from France, I believe.

    "New Russians" are notorious for their lack of taste, which has become a subject of hundreds of jokes.

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    The apts in the city center are renting for $750-$4000 a month depending on age, remont and facilities (parking, security etc are expensive). You can rent apts for much more than $4000 if you want a building with a health spa or other luxury services.
    Bollocks. You can rent an apartment starting from $150 a month - you have to speak fluent Russian though (or at least show the landlord you're really trying to).

    As for dachas, anything that looks like a big house in America is for the rich.
    For the rich is what looks like a sodding Castle Anthrax, what looks like a "big house in America" is for Uncle Vanya and his horti-f..ing-cultural pervertions.

    Currently they pay little or no taxes on these but the government is talking about starting to tax them which will be very expensive.
    Oh yeah? Little or no taxes? What the hell do you know? Stick to inventing and dishing out trivia about your own country. Your clumsy attempts at spinning yarns about Russia are exactly what they are - clumsy attempts. I'm not a billionaire but I own an apartment in St Pete and pay a lot of tax.

    Also there has been a story on the Moscow news about the rich building dachas in ecologically sensitve or protected areas. It seems all they had to do was give government agencies and inspectors a few "gifts" and their private communities on the lake shore were OK'd.
    Seems. Seems to you or the muckrakers at that despicable rag? Look, how about we give some "government agencies" a "gift" or two to help you overcome your compulsion to shamelessly lie about my country?
    Show yourself - destroy our fears - release your mask

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    Quote Originally Posted by bad manners
    The reason is simple: an average "big house in America" is made of something hardly distinguishable from paper affixed to a fragile framework. Houses are not built like that in Russia or anywhere in Europe.
    As an engineer working on construction projects in Russia, I would object to the standard of building in Russia being compared to that of the rest of Europe. The quality of construction works in Russia is frankly shameful, and I'm talking about new buildings as well as old.

    At first this comes as a surprise given the number of 'GOSTs' and 'SNiPs' and other statutory codes which need to be followed during the engineering. However the emphasis is all about having the right paperwork in place rather than designing decent buildings and employing competent contractors with the necessary equipment and skills for the physical execution of the works.

    You would not believe the number of public bodies which are needed to certify a building design. Elsewhere in Europe, if you have planning permission to build something, then although you must follow the local rules the actual risk of the building standing-up or falling-down remains with you as the designer throughout its life. Here in Russia, the attempt is still being made to shift this responsibility onto the state, so everything must be reviewed and signed and countersigned and counter-counter signed, and this process is incredibly long-winded simply because there also appears to be a culture in Russia where no-one wants to accept this responsibility.

    As an example, I saw a simple report dated Mar 2003 which had nine countersignatures, and the last was dated October 2003. So this process took seven months just to get through a few basic formalities - in the rest of Europe, this could have been done in a few days if someone had walked the document around (and it would only have needed two or three signatures !)

    There's also no driving force to get works completed. I've been in St P on and off for around 10 months, and the central section of Sredny Prospect on Vasilyevsky Island has been closed all that time, and for some time beforehand, for a simple reconstruction of a few hundred metres of roads and tramways, work that would have taken no more than a month or so anywhere else. And looking at the lack of progress, I can see it's still at least one year away from completion. I'm assured this is not due to budget constraints, and that the city of St P actually returned a budget surplus last year. A budget surplus (!!!) - in a city with an infrastructure in such a poor condition as this simply beggars belief.

    The temptation is to think that all of this bureaucracy, and taking one's time with dozens of reviews at every stage etc, would actually result in better control and safer, higher-quality construction. However, in reality the exact opposite is true. Buildings are poorly designed, extremely poorly built and finished, and there's also a high human cost. There is no safety culture here at all, avoidable accidents and injuries are commonplace and human life appears to be very cheap on construction sites.

    So, I'm not an American, but give me a US building from '....paper affixed to a fragile framework.....' anytime. Chances are it will have been properly designed, built to a high standard and that no-one was killed during its construction.
    иногда, не надо слов

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    Quote Originally Posted by solaris
    As an engineer working on construction projects in Russia, I would object to the standard of building in Russia being compared to that of the rest of Europe. The quality of construction works in Russia is frankly shameful, and I'm talking about new buildings as well as old.
    I don't know much about new style construction, but the old building (especially brick ones) are GOOD. Even the 5-floor building (brick, not panel ones) build in 1950-60's are still in good condition, do not need reconstruction, and probably will stay for another 50 years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by solaris
    Quote Originally Posted by bad manners
    The reason is simple: an average "big house in America" is made of something hardly distinguishable from paper affixed to a fragile framework. Houses are not built like that in Russia or anywhere in Europe.
    As an engineer working on construction projects in Russia, I would object to the standard of building in Russia being compared to that of the rest of Europe.
    I was not talking about Russian vs European. I was not talking about quality, either. I was talking about paper walls, which do not exist anywhere in the world -- except in America, and, traditionally, in Japan. And in some third world countries, perhaps.

    So, I'm not an American, but give me a US building from '....paper affixed to a fragile framework.....' anytime. Chances are it will have been properly designed, built to a high standard and that no-one was killed during its construction.
    ... somebody will be killed when it is 40 below zero with a few tons of snow and ice on the roof. With the water supply and sewerage frozen out weeks before that, which implies frozen crap all over that properly designed house. High standard, indeed.
    Jonesboro, Arkansas. Mean, stupid, violent fat people, no jobs, nothing to do, hotter than a dog with 2 d--cks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by solaris
    As an example, I saw a simple report dated Mar 2003 which had nine countersignatures, and the last was dated October 2003. So this process took seven months just to get through a few basic formalities - in the rest of Europe, this could have been done in a few days if someone had walked the document around (and it would only have needed two or three signatures !)
    The second statement is a lie. In most countries in Europe, that would take a few months, too. In most countries, you need an approval by the local authorities, and that implies getting that through the city hall, which in turn must have a quorum that will vote favourably. And they will not assemble and vote just like that.

    There's also no driving force to get works completed. I've been in St P on and off for around 10 months, and the central section of Sredny Prospect on Vasilyevsky Island has been closed all that time, and for some time beforehand, for a simple reconstruction of a few hundred metres of roads and tramways, work that would have taken no more than a month or so anywhere else.
    In how many countries have you seen a complete revamp of a few hundred metres of a major thoroughfare with tram lines (sic!) that is exposed to extreme climatic conditions done in one month or so?
    Jonesboro, Arkansas. Mean, stupid, violent fat people, no jobs, nothing to do, hotter than a dog with 2 d--cks.

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    JB
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    VM, don't you live in St. Petersburg? How do you know so much about Moscow housing? As for apts for $150/month, there are lots of advertisements for these but they are just a scam. You call the agent's number (usually a cell phone) and you are told you must pay the rent first and then you will be given the address. Or you must pay a fee for a list of available apts (which of course don't exist). And since my Russian husband speaks fluent accent free Russian, he does all the talking when checking out our housing options.
    And the stories about taxes and bribing building inspectors by wealthy dacha owners are from Moscow newspapers and TV news programs. These stories have been on the Moscow news all summer so you had better call them up and tell them you want them to stop "shamelessly lying".
    Do many of the new dachas look like American houses? Well I guess that is a matter of personal opinion. My opinion is yes, they look like a typical large house in a wealthy American neighborhood.
    Bad manners,maybe you can tell us how you know so much about American building standards? And since housing construction styles, rules, and laws differ in every state please specify which state has homes built of "paper affixed to a fragile framework". And roofs collapsing and sewers bursting at 40 below? Many places in America have winters just as cold as Russia (with just as much snow) and the houses have been standing for hundreds of years.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    VM, don't you live in St. Petersburg? How do you know so much about Moscow housing? As for apts for $150/month, there are lots of advertisements for these but they are just a scam. You call the agent's number (usually a cell phone) and you are told you must pay the rent first and then you will be given the address. Or you must pay a fee for a list of available apts (which of course don't exist). And since my Russian husband speaks fluent accent free Russian, he does all the talking when checking out our housing options.
    And the stories about taxes and bribing building inspectors by wealthy dacha owners are from Moscow newspapers and TV news programs. These stories have been on the Moscow news all summer so you had better call them up and tell them you want them to stop "shamelessly lying".
    Do many of the new dachas look like American houses? Well I guess that is a matter of personal opinion. My opinion is yes, they look like a typical large house in a wealthy American neighborhood.
    Bad manners,maybe you can tell us how you know so much about American building standards? And since housing construction styles, rules, and laws differ in every state please specify which state has homes built of "paper affixed to a fragile framework". And roofs collapsing and sewers bursting at 40 below? Many places in America have winters just as cold as Russia (with just as much snow) and the houses have been standing for hundreds of years.
    Big mistake, big mistake. Now you have not only woken the beast, you did that with your first post, but now you
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    which state has homes built of "paper affixed to a fragile framework".
    Look around where you are now.

    Many places in America have winters just as cold as Russia (with just as much snow)
    Such as?

    and the houses have been standing for hundreds of years.
    ... and look exactly like those paper things, right?
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    The second statement is a lie. In most countries in Europe, that would take a few months, too. In most countries, you need an approval by the local authorities, and that implies getting that through the city hall, which in turn must have a quorum that will vote favourably. And they will not assemble and vote just like that.
    .

    If you'd read what I'd written then you had have seen that I mentioned that planning permission was initally necessary, via 'City Hall' as you call it. What I'm talking about is during the engineering of the building, long after the planning permission has been granted.

    In how many countries have you seen a complete revamp of a few hundred metres of a major thoroughfare with tram lines (sic!) that is exposed to extreme climatic conditions done in one month or so?
    It's called Project Planning - an alien concept here, unfortunately - by the way, the local guys in the office here tell me this road has actually been closed for years for these works !! And since when has St Petersburg had 'extreme climatic conditions', by any standard ? It's not in Siberia.

    Don't understand the (sic) here - what do you call them in Russia or wherever if not tram lines ???

    And I need someone from the States to comment on this, but wasn't several miles of the Santa Monica freeway totally rebuilt in only a few months after an earthquake around 10 years or so ago ? Now that's what I'd call a 'major thoroughfare'.
    иногда, не надо слов

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    VM, don't you live in St. Petersburg? How do you know so much about Moscow housing? As for apts for $150/month, there are lots of advertisements for these but they are just a scam. You call the agent's number (usually a cell phone) and you are told you must pay the rent first and then you will be given the address. Or you must pay a fee for a list of available apts (which of course don't exist). And since my Russian husband speaks fluent accent free Russian, he does all the talking when checking out our housing options.
    And why read an advertisements (in boulevard papers, I guess) instead of going to ANY decent realty agency?
    Кр. -- сестр. тал.

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    Quote Originally Posted by solaris
    The second statement is a lie. In most countries in Europe, that would take a few months, too. In most countries, you need an approval by the local authorities, and that implies getting that through the city hall, which in turn must have a quorum that will vote favourably. And they will not assemble and vote just like that.
    .

    If you'd read what I'd written then you had have seen that I mentioned that planning permission was initally necessary, via 'City Hall' as you call it. What I'm talking about is during the engineering of the building, long after the planning permission has been granted.
    Oh, now you're not saying that it takes "2-3 days" to get the initial paperwork done in Europe. All that you need to do now is compare the total time it takes to get all paperwork done in Europe and Russia. In my experience, it can easily take a year to go through all the gyrations in Europe. Which may include such things as "Hello, has Mr Farber signed my papers?" -- "Oh, sorry, no, and he just left for a two-month vacation" -- "Then could someone else sign those papers, say his deputy Mr Grosser?" -- "In theory, he could, but Mr Farber dislikes when this kind of papers gets signed by someone else, so Mr Grosser will not do it" -- "Does that mean the papers will not be signed until Mr Farber is back?" -- "Unfortunately, yes, sir." Of course, when you know Mr Farber or Mr Grosser personally, and better yet happen to be a good friend of them, then you might do it faster, sometimes a lot faster.

    [quote:lrw5x9kn]
    In how many countries have you seen a complete revamp of a few hundred metres of a major thoroughfare with tram lines (sic!) that is exposed to extreme climatic conditions done in one month or so?
    It's called Project Planning - an alien concept here, unfortunately - by the way, the local guys in the office here tell me this road has actually been closed for years for these works !! And since when has St Petersburg had 'extreme climatic conditions', by any standard ? It's not in Siberia.[/quote:lrw5x9kn]
    Indeed. The climatic conditions in St. Petersburg, Russia are just as pleasant and nice as in Santa Monica, California.

    Don't understand the (sic) here - what do you call them in Russia or wherever if not tram lines ???
    The (sic!) was to emphasise the presence of the tram lines, something that you missed completely. They make road construction orders of magnitude more difficult.

    And I need someone from the States to comment on this, but wasn't several miles of the Santa Monica freeway totally rebuilt in only a few months after an earthquake around 10 years or so ago ? Now that's what I'd call a 'major thoroughfare'.
    Tram lines, routine 30 degrees below zero in winter, freezes and thaws, salt on the road? Having reading comprehension problems, solaris?
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    bad manners, in answer to your questions;
    places in USA with a "chilly" winter are Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, etc,etc
    "paper houses" may be found somewhere in the US (perhaps as part of an artistic expo) but each state has laws that dictate safety standards and requirements specific to their climate and natural hazards
    In California we have laws that allow buildings of any kind that are reinforced to withstand EARTHQUAKES. Most houses are a combo of wood and plaster construction because not only are they still standing after a big quake but they are cool, easy to maintain, and best suited to our climate (dry and warm)
    There are brick and stone block buildings but the steel reinforcement required for these is expensive. We have many older buildings from 100-300 years ago that are brick or adobe that are still in use but if a big quake hits them they will be a pile of ash. So the law requires that these be reinforced with steel if it is a public building. We also have a few buildings that the Russians built in Northern California that are wood and still standing (and still being used).
    And yes the Santa Monica Freeway was rebuilt quickly (and to higher, safer standards) after an earthquake. But we do have an advantage of a warm dry climate so You will have to compare Russian building practices with a state that has a similar climate (Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, etc)
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    "paper houses" may be found somewhere in the US (perhaps as part of an artistic expo) but each state has laws that dictate safety standards and requirements specific to their climate and natural hazards
    In California we have laws that allow buildings of any kind that are reinforced to withstand EARTHQUAKES. Most houses are a combo of wood and plaster construction because not only are they still standing after a big quake but they are cool, easy to maintain, and best suited to our climate (dry and warm)
    I call them "paper houses" because, like I said, the material is hardly distinguishable from paper. I mentioned a fragile framework, too. And you do not see houses like that except in America and Asia. So what is wrong with my statement?

    There are brick and stone block buildings but the steel reinforcement required for these is expensive.
    Just like houses that must sustain 40 below zero.

    And yes the Santa Monica Freeway was rebuilt quickly (and to higher, safer standards) after an earthquake.
    You might want to have a look at the numerous ad hoc decrees issued by the governor to facilitate that process. As far as I know, that has never been duplicated anywhere in the US.

    You will have to compare Russian building practices with a state that has a similar climate (Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, etc)
    I actually asked you to compare a typical house you can find in those states with a typical house in California. You ignored that.
    Jonesboro, Arkansas. Mean, stupid, violent fat people, no jobs, nothing to do, hotter than a dog with 2 d--cks.

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