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I'm an American, and I'm considering going to Moscow in a month.

Would it likely be unsafe for me to do so, considering the current situation with Ukraine?

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Welcome to Travel.SE. Why would it be unsafe for Americans to go to Moscow? There are no news reports of threats made against tourists, the US State Department has issued no travel advisories, and there is no history of violence against Americans in Moscow. That is more than you can say about a lot of countries. It is probably no more dangerous than for a Russian visiting Dallas. –  choster May 9 at 23:45
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@choster we had a very similar reverse question which went down ok. He may be worried not about violence against Americans, but about some (perhaps wild) reports about possible war erupting between Ukraine and Russia, and whoever else decides to join / gets dragged into it. –  Mark Mayo May 9 at 23:56
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I am asking in general, in case there is any reason at all that I should not go. –  Chad Johnson May 10 at 2:22
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Why would it be unsafe for people to go to cities in countries on the verge of war with neighbouring countries? There are currently no news reports of threats made against tourists that I've noticed, the US State Department has not yet issued any travel advisories, and though there is a history of violence in the city it's not specifically against former Cold War enemies that may be seen as trying to expand NATO too far. That is more than you can say about a lot of countries and less than you can say about a lot of other countries. –  hippietrail May 10 at 4:05
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Even during the height of the Cold War one could visit the USSR without problems (as long as they gave you a visa). Russians aren't exactly known for their violence towards tourists. –  JonathanReez May 13 at 12:57

4 Answers 4

Like with many other countries, you can look to your State Department for travel advice for you and your fellow citizens.

In the case of Russia, the US has indeed issued a Travel Alert. It's wise to remember, however, that they tend to be overcautious - if something - anything were to go wrong, and they hadn't alerted the people, there'd be outcry. So even if the chance of problems is tiny, they'll likely issue something.

In this case, some of the key points:

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens in Russia to the ongoing tensions in Ukraine and the potential for increased public demonstrations and anti-American actions in Russia in connection with Russian actions in the Crimea.

their advice to US citizens:

U.S. citizens considering travel to Russia should evaluate their personal security situation in light of current political tensions and the possibility of violence or anti-U.S. actions directed against U.S. citizens or U.S. interests.

Steps to safeguard one's travel:

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Russia enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment allows you to receive the Department’s safety and security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Ongoing monitoring:

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution, and read the Country Specific Information for the Russian Federation.

But I recommend you read the whole page and based on that, make an informed decision. If it were me, I'd likely still go, but everyone is different in their risk-taking levels.

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Regarding interactions with Russian citizens, I would not expect significant increase in hostility. Most people believe that US meddles in Russian and/or Ukrainian affairs more than it should, but this sentiment is generally directed at government, not at common Americans. Should you somehow be dragged into discussion of current events, your optimal position would be "none of my business, information in our media is scarce, i'd rather listen to you guys". Oh, and you were definitely against wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bombings of Serbia, but nobody in White House listened to you :)

There are talks of possible sanctions in both directions. To you as a traveler I see the greatest threat in problems with credit card systems: there are talks of Visa and/or Mastercard shutting down operations in Russia. Hopefully, this will not happen, but I'd have an emergency reserve of cash just in case.

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@hippietrail: regarding your edit, are you sure that you've parsed my sentence correctly? "an" applied to "reserve", not "cash". Alternatively, I could have written "some emergency cash reserve_D_" or "some cash reserved in case of emergency", but "some cash reserve" sounds weird to me. However, English is not my native language, so my gut feeling may be misleading. Sorry for being offtopic. –  IMil May 21 at 21:12
    
Well not 100% certain of course. "An" can't apply to "reserve" or "cash". "Some emergency cash reserves" sounds right though. I was tired at the time so let me check again ... –  hippietrail May 21 at 23:54
    
Would strongly disagree with "this sentiment is generally directed at government, not at common Americans". Maybe in Moscow, yes. Not in regions, where the concentration of ignorance is significantly higher. With this: "Should you somehow be dragged into discussion of current events, your optimal position would be none "of my business"" I do agree entirely. –  sashkello Jun 11 at 7:22

I suppose it will be absolutely safe, if you follow the Russian laws and respect the native people. E.g. avoid public criticism of our government (it's our internal business), don't show in public your sexual orientation, if you're homosexual and so on.

Most people are usually polite and kind to travelers. Welcome :)

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It depends on what and where you are going to do.

  • If you are making a tour, it will be fine, there are no mobs on the streets hunting for Americans. If you are going solo and visiting Moscow / St Petersburg, mainly tourist attractions, you should be fine, as long as you don't go off your planned route.

  • If you are planning to explore the lesser known towns and have urban walks, I wouldn't say it is entirely safe, which is probably no different from what it was before Ukrainian events. In such case:

    • Don't take walks after dark, it is not safe for any person who looks like he or she has some money to take from. And for many ignorant people American is by default rich. Robberies are quite common, even on the central streets of Moscow.
    • Don't go into suburban streets. Locals do know where convicts on the run and criminals are gathering, you don't, so, don't test your luck. There are districts where I wouldn't show up at all (i.e., Izmailovsky Park in Moscow) if you can avoid it.
    • Don't engage into conversations with drunk people; don't accept invitations to have a drink together. It so often ends with fights, again, not particularly because you are American, although that adds yet another reason to have a fight with you.
    • In general, avoid criticizing Russian ways or talk politics. Yes, this kind of became more intense recently - people are starting to lose friends and have arguments out of nothing because of the disagreements about recent events... Don't engage and you'll be fine.

PS If this is a real photo of you on your avatar, then just smile less and you'll pass for local ;) There are issues with racist attitudes in Russia, but then you won't notice.

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Very good information -- thank you. I have no problem with smiling less :) This is off-topic, but do you know if the Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve would be safe during the day time? –  Chad Johnson Jun 11 at 15:37
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@ChadJohnson Oh, a wonderful place! Should be totally fine during daytime and early evening - lots of moms with kids, etc, very nice place to visit indeed. Be sure to plan the route as public transport is a bit chaotic in Moscow. –  sashkello Jun 11 at 23:38
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Tsaritsyno is within walking distance from the underground station, so there should be no problems with transport. My only suggestion is to avoid rush hours. BTW I'd recommend to visit the nearby Kolomenskoe park as well. –  IMil Jun 17 at 13:28

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