Mercer Human Resources Consulting included Almaty in top of 50 most expensive cities worldwide. Even if Almaty has jumped from 30th place in 2007 to 44th in 2008, it's still more expensive than Toronto, Los Angeles or Hamburg.
Stockholm as not far away and occupies 31st place in 2008 (23d in 2007).Moscow is still the most expensive city for expatriates; Asunción in Paraguay is the cheapest.
I wasn't surprised about Almaty. Some things are really costly here, especially when it comes to foreign and luxury products and services.
Here you can see an advertisement for such food items as yogurt, milk, cheese, juices, sausages made in EU. "The best from Europe"-- magic words! All things made in EU are per se better in post-soviet eyes. In addition to all preservatives with triple E-numbers, you pay three times more than for local, to me much tastier food.