Blog image

Tried, True and Intellectual in Russia

December 2012

By Maria Petrova, Moscow

Wealth was not the primary measurement for success in Russia a few decades ago. Lectures were one of the few ways to spend an evening out, and people shopped for food at the local markets, as no supermarkets existed. Socialism had valued achievement separately from financial reward, but that changed in the 90s-- straight through the financial crash of 2008-- when making money became a top Russian priority.  During the last three years, the old trends have returned to Moscow, giving rise to new products.

Downshifting, combined with a desire for self-expression, has created a relatively new, noticeable and significant class in Russian society. Freelancers, start-up founders and many others now work for themselves.

As a result, cooperative workspaces have been popping up across Moscow. One is CoworkStation (Rabochee Mesto), where two hundred so-called “free professionals” can work for 24 hours at low prices. The space is inspiring, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto the gardens of Gorky Park. Hipsters, students, entrepreneurs and designers all work under one roof, as the company aims to develop a community of free people that share the value of creative professionalism. There is also a coop office for professionals looking for more glamorous surroundings, like the club-office Cabinet Lounge, located in Moscow city center.

Places, such as Cabinet Lounge and venues within Gorky Park, also serve as meeting places for lectures and discussions. Knowledge has once again become cool. The web service, Theory&Practice, boasts the clever slogan “Knowledge is sexy, lets practice,” and provides the most complete guide to lectures, discussions, courses and grants in Moscow. Bookshops are also becoming more similar to American chains. Having evolved into places to spend good time, many stay open all night, such as Respublica Bookshop.

Recently, it became fashionable to shop for food at farmers markets and order locally grown produce from online shops--  Lavkalavka being one of the most famous. Ginza Project opened the first modern market in Moscow for farm products, and there is a farmer’s market in the new shopping center, Tsvetnoy. As clean and as well-organized as a supermarket, the markets are not only a way to lead a healthy lifestyle, but are also a great way to spend a day in Moscow.


Retail & Dining
Food & Drink

Subscribe Form