Survey uncovers misconceptions about Moscow among Indian outbound travellers

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The most common myths among Indian tourists about the Russian capital, Moscow were revealed in a recent survey. Intourist, a company with 95 years of background in the inbound tourism market in Russia, conducted a survey among tourists from India who visited Moscow, asking them about their primary expectations for Moscow and the difference from their actual experience. The poll results were used to form a list of popular myths about Moscow, most of which were successfully debunked in the process.

“When a tourist arrives in Moscow, the first thing that comes to a foreigner’s mind is probably the Red Square, all covered in snow (and maybe a layer of red caviar on a giant piece of bread, thanks to the latest Slavic girl trend). Although it is a pretty memorable image, there’s so much more that the Russian capital can give to its visitors”, commented Aleksandr Musikhin, the General Director of Intourist and inbound tourism committee head of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR).

Myth #1: Moscow is cold

Reality: There are four seasons, and the summer is very warm

There are four distinct seasons to fit any taste beginning April. Moscow spring is probably the loveliest of them all with its fresh air, blossoming trees and cafeteria terraces opening all over the city. Summer in the city is usually hot, with a great choice of refreshing activities: you can visit an open pool like Chaika or Luzhniki, explore any of the renovated parks with a glass of lemonade, or even spend a day at the beach of Serebryany Bor. Sure, winters in Moscow are cold, but thanks to well-adjusted heating systems both in the buildings and public transport, freezing isn’t really an option.

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Myth #2: Moscow is too Soviet

Reality: Moscow’s architecture is a beautiful eclectic mixture of nearly a thousand years of history

If you take some time to look around the city, a couple of beautiful landmarks from different times will appear just around the corner. Besides Soviet architecture, there are buildings dated with XII-XIX centuries along the ‘bas-reliefs’ from the art nouveau period and shining skyscrapers of the Moscow-City cluster — all for your aesthetic pleasure.

Myth #3: Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Reality: There are options for a trip with any budget

According to the EIU rating of 2021, Moscow didn’t even make the top 100 of the annual rich cities list. There are lots of accommodation options, eateries and shopping establishments to fit your desires and financial possibilities: from Stoleshnikov Lane with its boutiques to vast malls such as Europolis or Atrium, where the clothing stores are open side by side with fast-food restaurants, beauty salons, cinemas, playgrounds etc.

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Myth #4: There is no decent food in Moscow, except for borscht and pelmeni.

Reality: Moscow is full of the high-quality restaurants with Russian and world cuisines

Setting aside the fact that there’s more to the traditional Russian cuisine than you would first expect, Moscow can offer a hungry tourist a wide range of food options: there are halal and kosher, vegetarian and vegan, European and Asian restaurants all over the city. A homesick Indian tourist can also easily find an authentic eating place serving a ‘Thali’ or a ‘Dosa’ or other Indian vegetarian options.

Myth #5: People in Moscow are mean and unfriendly.

Reality: Moscovites a warm-hearted and helpful

There is a strong stereotype that pictures Russians as people who never smile. Thankfully, any public place in Moscow will prove it wrong in mere seconds. Big city people may not be keen on showing emotions to strangers, yet it usually takes a short dialogue for a change of heart, and most of the people passing by will gladly show you the directions or give a helpful tip if asked.

Myth #6: Moscow is unsafe.

Reality: Crime rate in Moscow is lower than in many European tourist cities.

Moscow is an extremely hi-tech city. Last year, Moscow became the leader among BRICS cities in terms of technological and spatial development. Moscow’s high technological progress also means a high level of development of security systems. Moscow has a “smart city” system – outdoor CCTV cameras and a face recognition system on the streets and in the subway. According to some estimates, the crime rate in Moscow is lower than in many European tourist cities. Being in Moscow you don’t have to worry about your safety.

Myth #7: Nobody speaks English in Moscow.

Reality: Young generation of Moscovites speaks English fluently

Travelling nowadays is a popular hobby among millennials and Gen Z, so the majority of young Moscow residents speak fluent English. Foreign languages are taught in schools and universities, with the addition of online courses and countless apps for personal studies that help to maintain speaking skills — so be sure that you will find help when needed. And if you are not much of a people person, all navigation in Moscow public transport is dubbed in English, so you won’t even have to ask for help since the tourist infrastructure is well-developed.

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