People Are Leaving St. Petersburg as Quickly as Possible; Here’s Where They Plan to Move


St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city and a cultural and historical powerhouse, is losing population as more citizens depart for a variety of reasons. Official figures show that the city lost around 100,000 residents between 2021 and 2023, a 2.5% reduction. Key causes leading to the departure from St. Petersburg are:

High Cost of Living

St. Petersburg is one of the most expensive cities in Russia, with high expenditures for housing, utilities, transportation, and food. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around 40,000 rubles ($540), which exceeds the average monthly earnings of 37,000 rubles ($500). Many people struggle to afford essentials, forcing them to cut back on their expenditures or seek extra jobs.

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Poor Quality of Life

The city is known for its extreme weather, pollution, and traffic congestion. The climate is characterized by long winters with temperatures as low as -10°C (14°F) and constant snow cover. Smog, dust, and pollutants from companies and cars all contribute to poor air quality. St. Petersburg’s roadways are often crowded, resulting in traffic congestion and accidents. The public transportation system is poor, with outdated and unreliable buses, trams, and metro trains.

Political and Social Unrest

St. Petersburg has become a hotbed of political and social protests in recent years, as unhappiness with government policies and actions has grown. The city has seen several protests and demonstrations against corruption, election fraud, human rights violations, and the invasion of Crimea. Some of these protests turned violent, resulting in fights between protestors and police, as well as arrests, injuries, and deaths. Many inhabitants feel afraid, oppressed, or alienated, and want to flee the chaos.

Where are St. Petersburg residents moving?

According to Google search statistics, the most sought-after places for St. Petersburg citizens looking to relocate are:

Moscow, Russia’s capital and largest city, gives more chances for jobs, education, and leisure than St. Petersburg does. It has a contemporary and cosmopolitan vibe, with a diversified culture, architecture, and nightlife. Moscow is the most popular destination for internal migration in Russia, attracting around 200,000 individuals from other areas by 2023.

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Helsinki: As Finland’s capital and largest city, Helsinki is a handy and easy choice for St. Petersburg residents looking to relocate overseas. A direct train connection connects the two cities, which are only approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles) apart. Helsinki is known for its safety, cleanliness, excellent level of living, robust social assistance system, and welcoming, accepting environment. It ranks ninth on the 2023 Global Liveability Index as one of the world’s most livable cities.

Berlin: Berlin, Germany’s capital and largest city, is a popular visit for St. Petersburg residents seeking a more progressive and creative atmosphere. Berlin is known for its dynamic and varied environment, as well as its rich history, culture, and art scene. It also acts as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, with a strong startup environment and welcoming community. Berlin comes fourth in the 2023 Expat City Ranking as one of the most appealing locations for expats.

St. Petersburg is losing popularity among citizens seeking a better life abroad. The city has issues such as excessive expenses, bad quality of life, and social turmoil, driving residents to seek alternatives. Nonetheless, the city has advantages, such as its beauty, antiquity, and charm, which may attract new inhabitants and visitors. The city’s future is dependent on its ability to handle these issues and realize its promise.


St. Petersburg, Russia’s cultural pearl, is losing its population owing to high living costs, low quality of life, and political upheaval. Residents want improved prospects in places like Moscow, Helsinki, and Berlin. Despite its issues, St. Petersburg’s unique history and attractiveness may continue to draw new citizens. The city’s future is dependent on addressing these difficulties, highlighting the importance of socioeconomic stability in maintaining and recruiting residents.


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