Muscovites believe that Russia ends up in Moscow suburbs, meanwhile provincials believe that all Muscovites are arrogant riches.
Institute of Complex Social Research of Russian Academy of Science conducted research to make sure if these stereotypes correspond with real life.
Myth 1: Capital, but not for Russia.
The “front line” between Moscow and Russian regions was created in Soviet times. The province had deficit of foodstuffs, meanwhile Muscovites had everything and enjoyed themselves with best candies and sausages. People from the neighboring regions came to Moscow to buy food. “Why are you coming to our city in large numbers?”, asked Muscovites. “You gluttons have everything”, provincials replied in irritation.
When the country turned to market economy, this contradiction reached the new level. Muscovites enjoyed restaurants and boutiques, while provincials could not receive their salaries for months and survived on vegetables from their kitchen gardens. At this time sarcastic saying started circulating: Moscow is the capital, but not for Russia. Salaries in Moscow are as huge as the appetites of Muscovites. However, 10 years of reforms in Russia have changed the situation.
”The confrontation has drastically reduced in the last years”, says director of Institute of complex Social Research Mikhail Gorshkov. “Economic and social situation in many regions is catching up with Moscow. However, 16 percent of Russian population lives below the poverty line, and therefore it will take time to get rid of envy and hostility in our society. The negative feelings previously applied to Muscovites are currently being transferred to the residents of other Russian big and developed cities.
Myth 2: City of Money-Bags.
57.7 percent of residents of Russian province believe that the capital is getting rich at the expense of the rest of the country. But only 20 percent of provincials believe that all Moscow residents are “money-bags”, and half of provincials think that social inequality in Moscow is even bigger than in the rest of Russia.
Young people have the most “advanced” beliefs. Moscow for them is a tough and cruel city where one can have prestigious education and successful career. Your success depends only on you. Contrary to provincials, young people from Moscow are more earthly in the beliefs about careers, they think that one has to have right connections to succeed.
Myth 3: Muscovites are careerists, provincials are drunkards.
Provincials see the average Muscovite as a well-educated careerist. He/she is well off and hard-working. The main drawbacks of this person are egotism and arrogance.
Residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg see some attractive features in their provincial “opponents” as well: they are intelligent and compassionate. Their problem is inclination to drinking alcohol caused by laziness and boredom. The biggest problem for Russian provincial cities is despotism of local bureaucrats.
Muscovites are familiar with provincial way of life: more than half of the survey participants either go to province on business trips or communicate with their friends and relatives in Russian regions. Only 18 percent of provincials have lived in big cities, the rest of them get their impressions about Moscow mostly from TV programs.
Myth 4: Life is better in Moscow.
This is the most popular myth. However, according to sociologists, there is no radical difference between living standards in big cities and in the province.
Families of Muscovites said in the survey that they have 6,000 roubles ($ 200) per person a month. Provincials have 3,150 roubles per person, but life in the province is much cheaper. A Muscovite spends 700-800 roubles a month only to get to work.
Both in Moscow and in the province a person has 16-18 square meters of living space. However, 14 percent of provincials have no bathroom and toilet in their homes. Province has become familiar with night clubs – the attribute of life in the capital. The province overtook Moscow in terms of safety: the smaller town is, the less crime it has.
Myth 5: Provincials are coming.
The research revealed that only half of Moscow residents were born and grew up there. The parents of half of Muscovites are from the province. 10 percent of residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg moved in these cities when they were children. 30 percent of people in Moscow and St. Petersburg came here from Russian regions. People are heading for Moscow to make money, as they went to the North of Russia before. However, high cost of life in the capital diminishes financial gains. The chances to succeed in Moscow and in the province are almost equal. Probably, for this reason only 12 percent of provincials would like to move in Moscow.