Despite the mafia-laden stereotype Russia enjoyed since the 1990s, it is generally safe for travel although not completely hassle-free. If you stick to urban populated areas frequented by tourists, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, you should have no problems. However, some parts of the country are off-limits. It is best to avoid all travel to the restive Caucasus region as there is a continuous low-level Islamic insurgency that sees near-daily violence, killings and explosions. Last year, Dagestan, a beautiful region of jagged mountains and green valleys, was ranked as the most dangerous place in Europe. Terrorist attacks have happened in Moscow as recently as 2011, when a bomb exploded at the Domodedovo airport, killing 35 people.

Avoid drinking alcohol with strangers, especially on trains or in taxis. Foreigners have occasionally been drugged and robbed. Use only official taxis from recommended companies. Pickpockets and other petty crime is not a big problem anymore; however it does happen from time to time, especially in the crowded metro system. Watch all you stuff and keep your money in either an inside pocket or a money pouch. Be wary when using credit cards as the data can be skimmed easily. It's safe to use cards in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but may not be a good idea to use them in small shops outside of the big cities.

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