The usual things for a Russian and luxury for a resident of the West

12 things we are used to, that in many countries only rich people have

It is believed that in Western countries, life is more comfortable and more services are available. But, as it turns out, the things we are used to can cost much more there, or even be out of reach.

We at have found something that only the rich in Western countries can afford, while almost everyone in Russia can.

A cottage with a plot of land

For most Europeans, except those who live in Nordic countries, a garden plot is almost a luxury. The population density of our Western friends is high, the cost of land is expensive. We have 42% of city dwellers have a dacha plot. If the citizens of EU and Great Britain want to have a rest on their native spaces, they choose camping – there are more than 28 thousand of them, and the biggest number is in France, Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. The cost of a summer house in Central Europe is high, for example, a summer house in the south of France will cost more than ₽ 21 million.

Heating in winter

Not all homes in Italy and Spain have central heating. Most natural gas in Europe is converted to electricity, and heating costs are high. All private homes have a gas boiler and thermostat, which can regulate the temperature in the house on their own. However, according to Italian laws the temperature can be raised only up to 21 degrees, so many use additional heating systems such as fireplaces and small stoves (this is the most common), air conditioners, underfloor heating, solar panels. As a rule of thumb, many people keep their indoor temperatures at 19-21 degrees, and they just dress warmer.

House calls to the doctor

In Finland, it is not possible to call a doctor at home from the city clinic. An ambulance or a private doctor can come, which will cost about €100. The doctor’s profession is considered very prestigious, and his or her time is valuable. We are used to the fact that anyone can call the neighborhood doctor for free.

Special remedial kindergartens for children with visual impairment

Children with visual impairment in Europe usually receive preschool education in inclusive institutions, without the opportunity to receive special medical supervision, treatment and assistance in choosing glasses right in the kindergarten. In our country such kindergartens are free. In Ireland, the monthly daycare fee is about €800 per child.

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Pedigree dogs cost less here than, for example, in Canada. For example, a Yorkshire Terrier will cost about ₽ 23,000 here, while North Americans will cost ₽ 166,716,000. Many people in the West take a pet from a shelter, among other reasons. Monthly expenses for food and vet services are also much lower in our country. The average price for chipping a dog in Moscow is ₽ 1.1-1.5 thousand, and in Canada it is ₽ 3.5-4.6 thousand.

Ability to be on extended maternity leave

We have parental leave until the child reaches the age of 3 years. The mother receives an allowance, which is a maximum of 24,000 per month, for the first 1.5 years of the child’s life. In the Netherlands, mothers are entitled to a maternity leave of 4 weeks and 10 weeks of parental leave. If the child is born later than expected, the countdown starts after the actual birth, and so the total duration can exceed 16 weeks. When the baby is 3 months old, the mother usually goes to work part-time.

Free higher education opportunities

Admission to university on a state-funded department is free in our country, but costs a lot of money in England. About 576,400 Russian students are enrolled in state-funded departments. British undergraduate students can receive grants and scholarships, which can usually cover 15% of tuition fees.

Going to the Opera

In our country, visiting the opera and ballet is available to almost everyone. For example, tickets to the opera La Bohème at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg cost from ₽ 750 to 4,200, and at La Scala in Milan, from about ₽ 9,000 to 27,000.

Ability to hire a tutor

The cost of tutoring services in St. Petersburg is just over € 10 per hour, in Berlin – about € 20. Tutoring is popular here, and the market is estimated at ₽ 30 billion a year.

Children’s sports sections.

We are used to the fact that Olympic reserve schools are free for children and that only participation in away competitions is paid for. Sports sections also have the opportunity to train children without paying. In Canada the cost of figure skating classes can be as much as $10,000 per year.

Beauty salon services

In Russia, beauty salon services are much cheaper. For example, the cost of a manicure in Moscow will be ₽ 1.85 thousand, and for the same services in Helsinki, you will have to pay about ₽ 6 thousand. Haircut and coloring of long hair will cost more than ₽ 14 thousand in the northern neighbors, The service of daily makeup in Finland will cost more than ₽ 5 thousand, and in Moscow – ₽ 2 thousand. Eyelash extensions in Helsinki cost ₽ 9.7 thousand, and in Moscow ₽ 2.6 thousand.

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Dental services

Dental services are much cheaper here. In Sweden, you have to pay more than ₽14,22 thousand for a single tooth extraction, while in Moscow it is ₽4,56 thousand.

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What things are considered commonplace for Russian people, but almost unavailable to Americans

We constantly compare our everyday lives to American ones, often envying the boons of Westerners. About five years ago my aunt went to the States for permanent residence. I talk to her regularly by Skype, and she tells me a lot about her life across the ocean. From those conversations, I realized that Russians have access to a lot of mundane things that Americans can only dream of. I will tell you what things are considered commonplace for Russians, but almost inaccessible to Americans. There are a lot of them, so we really have a lot to be proud of.

24-hour stores

We have got used to go to the store as needed. When we have an urgent need for an ice cream at night, we run to the nearest 24/7 supermarket. In America, such outlets are the exception rather than the rule.

Moreover, on weekends, many stores have shorter hours. Some close at lunchtime. And our people like to take the whole family to the mall at the weekend to buy all their groceries for the week.

The washing machine at home

Most Russian housewives have a washing machine at home. And it is very convenient. We can throw dirty things into the washing machine at any time and wash them. Americans in most cases are deprived of this luxury. Yes, yes, it is expensive to have a washing machine at home for one simple reason – impressive electricity bills.

So Americans set aside time each week for a big load of laundry by going to the Landromat. This is a self-service laundromat. Almost every apartment building has such facilities. You need to bring your own laundry detergent and change for 25 cents. As a result, in a couple or three hours you can wash all your laundry.

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Affordable Internet connectivity

In our country, high-speed home Internet is available to almost everyone. Even in remote villages people fully enjoy the world wide web. And it costs wired Internet is not so expensive. Every family can watch a movie in the evening or surf social networks. Americans mostly use modems, which is quite expensive. If you compare with our prices, the Americans pay 5-7 times more for such Internet access.

The situation is similar with 4G-5G mobile Internet. In our country, you can easily see how a mother, in order to distract her child in line at the doctor, lets him watch a cartoon on her smartphone. Americans do not allow themselves such a thing because of huge cell phone bills.

Home Doctor

When someone is sick, we don’t hesitate to call a doctor or ambulance at home. In America, this service is not free and costs a lot of money. That’s why Americans get to the clinic on their own – by cab, private car, or on foot, and in any condition.

What’s more, even with a fracture you have to wait in line, fill out the necessary paperwork, and only then get to the doctor. In Russia things are much better with medical care.

The MHI system deserves special attention. In Russia, a baby, before he is born, already has a medical policy and the right to free medical care. This is not the case in America. Citizens have to pay an exorbitant annual insurance premium. If they don’t have it, they can’t get medical care either.

The usual goodies.

It is clear that the country is different, and therefore the cuisine is different. But Americans are deprived of many simple foods:

  1. Delicious bread and pastries. Most stores have only sandwich buns with unlimited expiration dates and plastic flavoring on the shelves.
  2. Sweet buns. Desserts are hard to come by in America. While in Russia you can buy fresh baked goods in almost every stall, here it is impossible to find delicious pastries. Yes, they are available in expensive establishments, but they are inaccessible to the average American because of their high price.
  3. Tiny, bubbly cucumbers. Cucumbers on American counters look more like zucchini-they are large, smooth, and have thick skin. Small, bubbly cucumbers are rare in stores.
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Americans also have a problem with fermented dairy products. No, there is kefir, but it looks more like drinkable yogurt, stuffed with different flavorings, so it doesn’t look natural at all. There is a similar situation with cottage cheese. And all American dairy products are nonfat.

Convenient working hours of banking institutions

Russian banks generally work until 20:00. Moreover, many branches work on weekends. American banking organizations usually accept clients only until 4:00 p.m., and they are usually closed on weekends.

If an American needs to solve some problems at the bank, he will have to ask for leave from work or take a day off, of course, at his own expense. Russians, on the other hand, are free to go to the desired bank after work and solve the issues that have arisen.


When your house is connected to central heating – it is a fairy tale. Because Americans who have this luxury have to pay huge bills. Most residents in the States use underfloor heating or space heaters, but that’s also pretty expensive.

Household plot

For Russians, the dacha is a second home. It is a place for summer vacations and the opportunity to grow their own crops. And it is not too expensive to buy a plot of land outside the city. Foreigners such a luxury is not available.

No, they can certainly buy a country house, but it is very expensive. Moreover, in some states it is not allowed to have electricity on the piece of land, live permanently or barbecue. And the Danes have to wait about 10-15 years to buy a garden.

A separate topic is your own seedbeds. Americans are forbidden by law to grow their own crops. This is entrepreneurship, for which you have to pay tax. In our country any citizen can grow any vegetable or fruit crop for his family in his garden.

Maternity leave

This privilege is not available to American women. If there is no insurance, it will cost $30,000 to give birth in America. It will only be possible to take a maternity leave for 12 weeks, and no one will pay for this period.

Americans also do not have leave before the birth of the child. That is why American women are forced to go to work until she gives birth. Some very respectable companies give women workers 20 weeks of maternity leave, but they are very few.

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Free time out of town.

Any family, having loaded a car with tents, sleeping bags and boilers can freely go to the countryside on the river to relax on the weekend. Or go for a walk in the woods for mushrooms or berries. And that’s fine. In the states, almost all of the land is in private hands, so it is illegal to walk there freely. Moreover, even state forests are fenced off, prohibiting visits, so that people don’t harm nature or animals.

Many holidays, working conditions

There are a lot of holidays in Russia. May Day, New Year’s Day, March 8, and February 23. There is no such thing in the States. What’s more, average Americans envy Russians. Americans have to work very hard because of the high demands and competition. It is almost impossible to take a vacation at a desirable time in America. Our labor laws are strict on this issue, protecting the interests of working citizens.

Do-it-yourself repairs

Almost every Russian man has a set of necessary tools at home. The owner can fix a socket, hang a shelf, replace a switch and so on independently. For an American, self-repair can lead to a hefty fine. A particularly nosy neighbor might notice that you are changing a socket and report it to the municipality. A fine will be issued for work in the absence of an appropriate license. And no one will care that you have been doing repairs in your own home.


It turns out that living in Russia is not as bad as it may seem:

  1. We have access to delicious and natural products, we can grow our own crops in our own beds, and freely vacation in the countryside “savages.”
  2. We have warm homes with central heating, a washing machine and high-speed Internet at an affordable price.
  3. If necessary, we can call an ambulance and get medical help for free at any time, having only an MHI policy.
  4. Our women can go on maternity leave long before they give birth and take paid leave to care for a child up to one and a half years.

These common things for Russians are a luxury for most Americans. So we should not envy them, but rather be happy and appreciate what we have.

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