Safe to Travel to Russia?

Sep 17th, 2004, 08:47 PM
  #1  
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Safe to Travel to Russia?

I just read in the New York Times that the NBA cancelled an exhibition game in Moscow due to unsafe conditions. In light of the recent tragedies in Russia...what are your opinions about how safe it is to travel to Russia?
Bill2222 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2004, 09:28 PM
  #2  
 
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Everyone has to make their own choices, but it often helps to think things through rationally.

We live in a world that has changed greatly in the last 36 months. I never thought I would see fighter planes circling Manhattan, ready to shoot down stray civilian aircraft; a year or two ago people were stooped behind their cars in the DC area for fear of being the victim of a sniper.

Being in the travel business (and specializing in Russian travel) I read every State and Commerce Department safety bulletin, Warden report, etc. concerning Russia (specific incidents and issues are not always listed on the general web sites; there are more detailed and frequent bulletins and security briefings available). In addition, I regularly converse with American and Russian diplomats, security experts, members of think tanks/NGOs, the press, investors, and other people who are very well informed. The consensus is that there is no absolutely safe place in the world, and that Russia faces some serious challenges, but as far as safety for a Westerner in Moscow/St Petersburg, there is no more risk there than other world cities. Western Europe--France, Britain, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain--had many terrorist incidents/assassinations in the 1970s and 1980s, but people still visited its major cities, mostly without incident. Even New York City in the 1970s-1980s was far more dangerous a place than the tourist areas of Moscow and St. Petersburg today.

According to US State Department figures there have been only a handful of fatalities of American citizens in Russia in the last two years (seven) and only one American was a victim of terrorism (during the Dubrovka siege two years ago).

Personally I have family there and family members, colleagues and friends traveling between Russia and America; thank God none have been personally affected by these incidents.
Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 03:57 AM
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My husband spent a week in Moscow on business 2 months ago. (I know things seem to have gotten a little scarier since then). Advice from his local business contacts was to take the same precautions one would take in any large city - plus - avoid flashing a lot of money, jewelery, etc. (that seems also a common sense precaution).

As with posts asking about safety of travel to any other part of the world (Egypt, Middle East, etc.) - statistical chances of being victim of crime or terrorism to any individual is very small. My opinion is that if you are so apprehensive, for whatever reason, about the trip that you could not have a good time - go someplace else.
gail is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 02:11 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Bill2222, I think that it's time that this paranoia end. We just returned from Moscow on Saturday night. I felt safer there than in most American cities. We were on a cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow, spending three days in Moscow. The only crime that we were aware of was pick-pocketing, primarily in the Metro. This can be avoided if you use commmon sense as to where you keep your valuables. There was fairly high secutity in some areas. The Moscow Circus had metal detectors, they checked your bags and randomly had a bomb sniffing dog check bags. The Bolshoi had concrete barriers, and to get into the airport, everyone, and every bag had to be scanned before entering the terminal and going through secondary security. Red Square had no obvious extra measures, and neither did the interior of the kremlin, unlike Washington, DC. As this was our first trip to Russia, we can't comment on whether there is elevated secutity from before the events of the past several months. We felt comfortable every place that we went in Russia. Yes, there is terrorism, but the most dangerous place to be in the last four years was sitting in your office in Manhatten. You can't give in to irrational fears, or the terrorists win. It would be a shame not to go to this beautiful country and cities because of these fears.
jackandann is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 05:23 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 135
Have not travled to Russia as much as some, but have traveled to Russia more than most.
Like traveling anywhere, a degree of caution and awarness is needed. However, that said, even with all of the recent goings on in Russia, I feel safe traveling to Russia, and do it without any concerns or hesitations.
I agree absolutely with Mr. Miller. There is no more risk in traveling to Russia than anyother places in the world.
Russia is a wonderful country to visit. The people are wonderful. And I for one, am always anxious to return. And return I will in a few weeks.
Firstmate is offline  
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