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In the next few weeks I’ll be traveling to Russia for about a week on business.

While there, I'd like to spend some time, although it won’t be much time, seeing as much of the city and culture as possible.

I’m finding that everyone I’ve told about my upcoming business trip (family, friends and to my surprise my Russian business counterparts) who seem to have more concern over my security than I do.

I’m extremely security conscious while traveling out of the country, but I’ve never been to Russia, so I’m hoping to gain some insight from other travelers who’ve been to Russia, in regard to traveling and “getting lost in the city while exploring” by myself.

My hosts had me push back my departure date one time already saying that they couldn’t make it on that date of my arrival to pick me up. To which I replied, “I’ll get a rental car, take a taxi or hop on a train if necessary.”

I was told, not advised, that my Russian hosts felt my life would be at risk in doing so and basically demanded I reschedule the flight; which I did as not to cause an issue with new business contacts before we’ve even meet in person.

Has the security level for Americans truly degraded to the point that I shouldn’t be taking in the beauty of Moscow on my own, as I try to do in every city I visit, whether traveling on vacation or on business?

I can understand there being an extra level of awareness required; but has it truly become so “dangerous” for American travelers that this is good advice I should be listening to, or has the media caused such a frenzy that’s it’s fueling fears causing this type of reaction?


UPDATE

based on all the comments and answers given; the 2 most common warnings, so to speak, to watch out for have been:

  1. Pickpocketing - Some good advice on making copies of my documents, bring a second form of ID in case the first if stolen, don’t “flash your cash” and always “watch my six” or rather always having a high level of situational awareness as to avoid having someone steal my things.

  2. The “tourist price” - When a local who’s offering a service or an item for sale, takes advantage of a tourist due to: a general lack of knowledge of what’s common practice or pricing for the region. Or sometimes the inability of a tourist to speak in the native tongue; this is leveraged against a tourist to markup the prices significantly; sometimes 10 times or 20 times above the actual non tourist price


UPDATE

  1. The Traffic - An additional trend among responses that has a majority of comments agreeing that this is indeed an area of concern for personal safety while traveling through Russia.

All 3 of these are fairly common items on the list of things to watch out for when traveling internationally. Again, this will not prevent me from enjoying a tour around the city, by myself, and getting to take in the town and the culture on my upcoming business trip to Russia.

Thus far, it does appear to be a situation where because of recent events and the “spin” or “over hype” of the national news; there are a lot of misinformation, and general lack of facts creating a negative, self perpetuating, image being created of a non existent threat or risk.

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    I would argue against getting a rental car. There's snow, the traffic and rules are confusing, and there's paid parking in the city that's not easy to figure out. Use ride-hailing apps or public transit. – alamar Feb 26 '18 at 11:26
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    Does your business send people to Russia frequently, or is this a rare thing? It's worth considering that your hosts will be 10x more on guard about anything happening to you when it's business, than if they were friends. If anything happened to you, even just being ripped off in a taxi, they may worry it would sour the relationship you have. – Bilkokuya Feb 26 '18 at 11:48
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    Just because the governments of the US and Russia oppose each other, doesn't necessarily mean the people hate each other. I don't think most level-headed people would hold a grudge against americans/russians for what the american/russian regimes have done. – Alexander Feb 26 '18 at 16:46
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – JonathanReez Mar 3 '18 at 3:51
  • One bit of advice from a pickpocketer on a show I watched - put your wallet in your (front) pocket sideways. It makes it more awkward for a pickpocketer to get his hands on it. – Wayne Werner Mar 4 '18 at 1:05

12 Answers 12

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I'm a Moscovite, so this answer is bound to be biased.

Safety is a very relative notion, I perceive Moscow safer than quite a few cities I've been to in Western Europe and the US (or at least some of their neighborhoods). Anecdotally, I've once been detained by the US police for several hours out of the blue, so... yes, unexpected things happen everywhere.

“I’ll get a rental car, take a taxi or hop on a train if necessary.”

That concern was somewhat reasonable, as you could come across a dishonest taxi driver who would want to exploit you asking for a much greater fare than necessary. I knew a person from the US who paid almost $100 (20 times more than the norm!) for a trip from the airport. [note: As pointed out in the comments, The fair rate for getting to and from the airport as of 2018 should be approximately $10-20 depending on the airport and the taxi company]

Generally, "vanilla" taxis are quite a mess unless you know a reliable company, so you'll be much better off using Uber or Yandex Taxi.

The aeroexpress trains are a great option if you don't have a car, they're extremely safe, reliable and quick.

The cheapest way to get to the city would be buses and regular suburban trains (look up the directions on the airport's website). In all my life I've never had issues with either of those, but they may be slow (depending on the traffic conditions) and not as comfy.

All in all, all of the public transport (metro, buses, trolleybuses, streetcars and suburban trains) in Moscow is very safe and cheap, though not always as fast and convenient as one could wish for, and may get very jam-packed during rush hours. (Most of its shortcomings may be mitigated by using Google Maps or Yandex Maps for finding an optimal route, in conjunction with Yandex Transport which lets you see all public transport vehicles directly on the map in real time.)

Finally, avoid relying on jitney(marshrutki) minibuses ran by small local companies, because the level of their service varies wildly, similarly to taxi cabs. Cases when the driver flat out refuses to get you to your destination because the cab is not "full enough" have not been unheard of. (Anecdotally, I've had exactly that happen on my road to the airport with a route 948 minibus. Nearly missed a flight... not fun.)

Has the security level for Americans truly degraded to the point that I shouldn’t be taking in the beauty of Moscow on my own, as I try to do in every city I visit, whether traveling on vacation or on business?

I consider it mostly nonsense. That said, you should adhere to the basic tourist wisdom, which is not to let others see you as a confused and helpless foreigner who could easily be taken advantage of. If you're Caucasian and don't wear a striped red, white and blue baseball cap with some stars in the middle, or a t-shirt with the Liberty statue imprinted on it, few people would suspect you to be a tourist from the US.

In conclusion, my advice to anyone visiting Moscow is simple: do not be afraid and visit whatever place you wanted to visit, as long as it's not a military base or something. If you fear the wolves, you'll never get to see the forest, as the old saying goes.

Use the public transport to get to places (and watch some ordinary people in their daily commute!), visit the museums and theatres, try some of the local food, go for a stroll in one of the nearest forests and parks, or leave the hustle and bustle of the city and explore the suburbs and nearby cities.

Just:

  • Be aware of your surroundings as always.
  • Don't stand out in a crowd too much.
  • Don't flaunt expensive electronics or fashion accessories in public.
  • Learn the Cyrillic alphabet because not all signs are translated.
  • Don't expect most people (even the police) to speak English or be willing to go the distance to help strangers who don't "even" speak their language.
  • Avoiding participating in mass protests. While commendable, you may end up in much more trouble than a Russian citizen would if you end up detained by the police.
  • Keep the phone numbers of the embassy and your hosts at hand for the unlikely cases of emergency.

Update: After reading all other comments and answers, I feel a disclaimer is in order.

My answer applies if you are an "ordinary" person (e.g. a student, a retail worker, a researcher, an engineer, an artist, a small business owner) visiting Moscow for "ordinary" affairs which are of no concern to the corrupt officials or the mafia. Examples of such "sensitive" circumstances may include, but are not limited to, things like investigating corruption or money laundering, inquiries into the foreign policies and the military affairs of the country, defense of political prisoners and convicts, meeting with the leaders of the political opposition, LGBT rights activism, or you being a well-known multimillionaire. If you think there is at least one powerful and dishonest person in Russia who would benefit from having you(personally) suffer any harm, please exert caution and follow the safety guidelines given by your hosts.

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    Uber is very convenient in Moscow. 20 min ride costs like a bus ticket in EU. You don't have to say a single word and it is 100% safe. And there are hundreds of Uber drivers there. – Raz Feb 26 '18 at 8:29
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    @AndrewSavinykh most of foreign tourists in Russia are from EU so that's what will get assumed. – alamar Feb 26 '18 at 11:27
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    Agreed. For context, Russophobia in the US has reached absurd levels in a very short space of time, mostly without any basis in fact. That's where this question is coming from. OP will be pleasantly surprised to discover that the "bogeyman" is in reality no such thing. – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 26 '18 at 11:42
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    @AndrewSavinykh Agreed, to a degree. I'm not sure how many people would assume your nationality from the fact you speak English, but it will certainly yell: "HI I'M A FOREIGNER, I'M DIFFERENT, PLEASE GAWK AT ME". So it may be wise to not speak to people at all if they don't appear trustworthy (which is kind of common sense anyway). It is also worth mentioning that paradoxically enough, Moscow is one of the most open-minded and ethnically diverse places in Russia (granted, not without its unfortunate share of xenophobia and racial hate crimes, but again, that is true to most large cities). – undercat Feb 26 '18 at 11:49
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    Whatever you do, travel by underground. You don't want to miss out on encrypted.google.com/search?q=moscow+underground – Mawg Feb 27 '18 at 12:19
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I'am a Russian and I currently live in Italy.
I should denote that Moscow is a safer city than Rome so you can immagine the level of safety (and St.Petersburg is even safer that Moscow).
Said that here is some advice:

  • Learn how the Cyrillic letters are spelled so you can decrypt street names.
  • Memorize some simple sentences like yes/no/please/how much/etc
  • Watch out for pickpocketers (they are present but not so much as you fear, still less than in Rome)
  • Carry your passport - it's normal for police to ask it suddenly, it's just a routine check.
  • In Moscow there are districts known as "sleep districts" like "Butovo" which contains almost only houses ("sleep district" because is used just to sleep while work and entertainment are in other city areas). Try to avoid them as there is nothing to see and a passerby may become a source of entertainment for some local bored hooligans.
  • Get a local SIM, "Tele2" is cheaper but have less coverage, "Megafon" is generally a bit expensive, so I suggest you to choose from "MTS" and "Beeline". If you plan to travel outside the Moscow region you should pick a tariff with flat roaming price inside Russia (the government is abolishing the national mobile roaming but it's still in process).
  • Download the Yandex.Taxi app to avoid taxi scam. Uber Russia is now being merged to Yandex.Taxi as Yandex and Uber decided to merge last year
  • Also, the Yandex.Metro is and excellent subway map application with built-in navigator, a must have app for anyone but a local. (swtch map language to English in settings)
  • As denoted by @DP_ if you rent a car you should pay a lot of attention on what other people on the road are doing, from crazy minibuses drivers to reckless pedestrians, and if you go as a pedestrian you should pay more attention to cars.
  • Much appreciated; downloading the Yandex app now, and i wish I had read your comments on the SIM before buying the one I just wasted money on (none of the ones you mentioned!). – user74177 Mar 2 '18 at 6:48
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I grew up in Austria and have spent the last six years in Moscow.

There is a big difference between real and perceived security. Many Russians perceive Moscow as not secure and will ask you to confirm via SMS that you have arrived safely in your flat. Also, there are always rumors that someone has been mugged nearby. I heard one such rumor from a policeman. All of this makes people feel unsafe. This is the perception side.

The reality is different: In those six years I have been to various places in Moscow, often at night. There wasn't a single attempt to mug or otherwise harm me. This applies to both "nice" (city center) and "bad" places (outskirts of Moscow).

I knew two Americans who visited Russia (one for a week, another for more than a year). None of them had any problems with security.

If you are African, people may look at you. However, it's not because they don't like you, but because there are few Africans in Moscow. Asians and people from Caucasus also look different, but there are many of them, therefore they don't stand out (hence people don't look at them).

What you should worry about are

  • traffic and
  • weather.

Traffic

Muscovite drivers are awful (compared to German and Austrian ones). They drive too fast, don't let the pedestrians pass and believe to be more important than the pedestrians. This applies to most of them, irrespective of gender, race, age etc. You have to look where you go.

In my opinion this (being run over by a car) is the single most important security risk in Moscow.

Weather

Depending on your location, weather may be a problem as well. In winter, some places are not cleaned from ice and snow properly (e. g. small side streets). If you don't watch, it is very easy to trip and fall.

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    Appreciate your thoughts on my question. Someone made a comment about the traffic previously, and I foolishly made a joke about the traffic in NY and LA bring worse, but after a short discussion I did some research on the traffic in Russia. It definitely made me feel like the cocky, egocentric American after seeing Russian traffic on YouTube. I feel like I’ve been dealing with traffic that pales in comparison after some research, and agree that being injured or killed in traffic is a real danger. – user74177 Mar 3 '18 at 3:45
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Your hosts could be worried about your personal security due to the nature of your business in Russia.

Example many people recently have been kidnapped/ attacked in Russia and Ukraine who are there related to crypto currency business.

Maybe your business activities in Moscow expose you to a higher level of risk you do not experience in other countries or if your nature of visiting was different.

  • Good point. Thankfully the nature of my business and the activities related to the business while I’m there are limited, narrow in scope and it is not related to industries that are normally associated with the type of business to which you refer. Great advice for those who may be heading to Russia for any type of business, such as crypto currency, that you mention. +1 – user74177 Mar 1 '18 at 22:47
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I would like to add my two cents worth to the already existing answers. I am a German who is studying in Russia at the moment and who has traveled to most large cities in Western Russia, including Moscow.

My impression is that Russia is generally a safe country for people who look Western/Eastern European.

Authorities

As already mentioned, there is a lot of police presence, especially around main sights in larger cities and public transport. Police seem to mostly care about foreigners from Central Asia, which means that they often stop people with a darker skin color and check documents (passport, migration card and registration; all three are essential, don't lose them!). Since I don't look much different from an ethnic Russian, I have so far never been stopped and can every day walk right past the police in front of the metro station.

Regarding the interaction with authorities, it can happen that they ask for a bribe. In such situations it is mostly best to say you don't understand anything and would like a translator from the embassy. If you waste their time, they are likely to just drop it and move on (provided you actually did nothing wrong). However, the general corruption situation has improved drastically in the past ~5 years, so old stereotypes are often not applicable anymore. Police officers, government officials and clerks rarely speak English.

Anti-Americanism

While there is certainly anti-American rhetoric in the media, my impression is that most Russians are able to make a clear distinction between politics and people, i.e. you should have no negative reaction if someone finds out you are American. Quite the contrary; most people are very curious and interested about foreign tourists, like to start conversations and invite you etc. Especially young people find American culture cool and many dream of traveling to the US.

Language barrier

What is a much larger problem than safety is the lack of foreign-language skills. So far only some young people know English to a certain degree, while almost all people over 30 absolutely don't know a single word. That means that it is quite important to remember a few key phrases (Good day, please, thank you, ...) and learn to read the cyrillic alphabet. Many words, especially in written language, sound similar to English/Latin words and can therefore be deduced, if you can read the alphabet.

Taxis and rental cars

Renting a car is probably not a good idea, since the traffic in Moscow takes some getting used to and the process of renting again involves a lot of Russian. Taking a taxi is easier (especially with Yandex.Taxi, since it shows the price of the ride beforehand and allows you to pay by card before), but still mostly not necessary.

Public transport

Moscow especially has an excellent public transport system, you can use the subway to quickly get to most important places. The metro stations are transcribed and spoken in English, but I think the ticket machines are only in Russian again.

Where you can't get to by metro, minbuses ("marshrutka") drive nearly everywhere for a fixed price. You find a suitable route (Yandex.Maps or Google Maps to some extent), enter the bus and pay the driver that amount. In some cities you get a small paper ticket back, in some cities (Saint Petersburg for example) you don't. Those marshrutki follow a specific route and you shout "astanavítye, pazhálusta" (Stop, please) when you want to get out. In Saint Petersburg the price for these is 40 ruble, in Moscow probably a bit more. Also in such buses and in the subway I haven't experienced any intimidating situations. Pickpocketing is probably prominent, but I have also in this respect been lucky so far.

Depending on at which airport you arrive, it is more or less difficult to get to the city on your own. Vnukovo and Sheremetovo have regular bus lines to a metro station, while Domodedovo has the above-mentioned marshrutki. As LLlAMnYP has correctly pointed out, the AeroExpress train connects the city center to all airports and is advised, since it is more comfortable and much easier than to find the correct minibus.

Pickpocketing

Of course a normal amount of attention is required, just like in any touristic city. Pickpockets, street scams and theft exist and unsuspecting tourists are an easy target. Keeping an eye on valuables and avoiding suspicious people is not a bad advice.

Finally I would like to say that I have brought my family to Russia for a week last year and showed them Saint Petersburg. They speak no Russian at all and were quite skeptical about the idea of traveling to Russia as foreigners, but very much liked their stay. They were surprised by the level of security, cleanliness and hospitality, but also the poverty and confusion that is experienced without Russian knowledge.

Moscow certainly has a huge amount of sights to offer and you should definitely explore the city. Have fun!

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    Very good answer from the perspective of a foreigner; I as a Russian, wouldn't have been able to realize what might be important here. +1. FYI, Aeroexpress is available for all three major airports around Moscow and definitely beats the bus connections (the buses are slow and take you only to the outskirts of Moscow). I'd recommend Yandex.Taxi (which you mentioned) over Uber (which others have) since it's considerably cheaper. – LLlAMnYP Feb 28 '18 at 16:09
  • @LLlAMnYP Thanks for the info! I didn't know Aeroexpress also goes to the other airports, I have so far only used bus and marshrutka to get there. The price for Aeroexpress is higher (about 500 ruble I think as compared to 120 ruble from Domodedovo by minibus), but still comparatively cheap. Regular buses from Vnukovo etc should cost only around 55 ruble, so less than a USD. – ahemmetter Feb 28 '18 at 17:54
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    Very insightful points! Sadly, I can confirm that the racial profiling amongst the police can be a thing. One minor point I would like to mention about the marshrutkis(jitneys) is that some of them actually craft their route based on the passengers' destination, so you may be expected to state where you're going lest the driver take a huge shortcut skipping your stop. Also, when you're on board and some other passenger gives you money, just pass it over to the driver, it's their fare. So while convenient, some minor social interaction may sometimes be required to ride them. – undercat Feb 28 '18 at 21:19
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    As years pass, "all people over 30 absolutely" should probably turn into "all people over 40" and beyond. Ilya, 33. – alamar Mar 5 '18 at 9:49
  • Domodedovo has the above-mentioned marshrutki Isn't there a (fast) train which goes to Domodedovo? I am almost sure I took one 12 or 15 years ago to get there, the service was perfect and I made it for my flight even though it would have been difficult by road. (EDIT isn't that this one? aeroexpress.ru/en/aero/route/domodedovo.html) – WoJ Aug 5 at 15:01
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"Keep the phone numbers of the embassy and your hosts at hand for the unlikely cases of emergency."

Yes definitely do this on paper and in your phone. I have been to Russia 7 times over the last decade, and the only things I have noticed is that there are pick pockets on the metro and once had an official asking for a bribe, if this happens threaten to call your embassy or your hosts or simply say you don't understand. It worked on the rare occasion I needed to and I didn't pay any bribes.

Despite what's portrayed in the media and in the movies, people are the same everywhere you get all types but 99% do the right thing.

Do make sure you keep your passport on you at all times, police are allowed to ask for it, if they have a reason of course.

If can learn these phrases Sorry, Excuse me, I don't understand. The alphabet is very useful if you want to explore it takes about a week.

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    Keep a photocopy of the passport with you maybe, rather than the passport itself? Seems risky to walk around with a passport on you in a foreign country. – Mehrdad Feb 28 '18 at 8:09
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    It was a legal requirement, a copy does not count. Last travelled 2 years ago – Nathan Mar 1 '18 at 12:36
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    I mean "counting" is one thing, the other thing is what the repercussions of each one are. If you lose your passport or have it stolen then now you have to deal with getting another passport and not having one to show police. – Mehrdad Mar 1 '18 at 19:30
  • @Mehrdad I know which one counts most for me, and will let others decide for themselves. Great points! – user74177 Mar 1 '18 at 23:03
  • You should keep a copy of your passport and your visa with you, along with your passport. Don't keep them in the same pocket. – Corvus B Mar 2 '18 at 15:31
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Curious: Are you of African decent or lineage?

Having experienced Moscow as a black male, I received stares and generally uncomfortable attention while I was there. Arrived in the city at 4 am, the strangest thing was there were packs of stray dogs roaming the streets. Later that night at Red Square, some teens and passersby wanted to give me special unwanted attention which led me to not going out at night again.

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    I’m not of African lineage. Im curious though, did you receive the same stares and general uncomfortable attention during the day while traveling in the city as you had that night you arrived? – user74177 Feb 26 '18 at 22:22
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    It was the same day, I arrived in the city via the Trans-Siberian rail in the morning, took a nap at the hostel then went out again in the late afternoon-evening. Walking fast, avoiding eye contact (to avoid police attention) kept us generally unmolested during the rest of our stay (5 days). My traveling buddy did not get the same attention I did, he could pass for a local. The people of Siberia were very friendly in comparison. – FullMetalFist Feb 27 '18 at 14:58
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    @FullMetalFist as a russian I'm sorry that you feel uncomfortable but I should say that the attention black people are getting in Russia is fueled by curiosity rather than racism, just because there are so few African decent people that 99% of Russians won't meet one in the entire life. – Zhigalin Mar 2 '18 at 19:14
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    @Zhigalin I agree in Russia there is lots of curiosity of African people, however in Moscow I felt there was a great deal more hostility (gorilla motions, someone shouted at me during the day at the Arbat) and in general while there I felt unsafe. – FullMetalFist Mar 3 '18 at 13:34
  • I'm curious, when did you have this trip? I mean year. – Vadim Kotov May 19 '18 at 20:14
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Since you asked for fellow travelers' opinions, I thought I'd give my experiences. I travelled solo to Moscow at 18 as part of a gap year trip and spent several days wandering around on my own just exploring. I must say I didn't experience any problems during my time in Moscow, but some other travellers I met while on the trip had some negative experiences. One group of British travellers told me that they had their bags stolen and were laughed at when they attempted to report it to the police and a Dutch individual told me how he got kicked out of a nightclub for being a foreigner.

Bear in mind these are all nothing more than anecdotal experiences, but that is what you asked for. Honestly I did not feel like Moscow was particularly more dangerous than any other major city; simply keep your wits about you, keep an eye on your possessions and you should be fine.

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    I guess the main concert the OP's hosts had was him being one of those anecdotal experiences. – kiradotee Feb 28 '18 at 15:51
  • @kiradotee anecdotal experiences are anecdotal experiences so: 1: they are extremely rare, 2: they happen in every country, 3: you can't do barely anything to avoid them – Zhigalin Sep 5 '18 at 7:04
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All your friend make it seems way worse than it really is.

I went to Moscow as an European foreigner for 10 days and did not have any safety issue. Moscow is safe, police is everywhere and i don't understand how you could have any problems just by walking in the street.

Be careful thought, most of the people in Russia don't speak english, even in the airport/coffee/restaurant. I think the main concern your friends should have advise you is the language barrier you will face.

Concerning the taxis i was also told that they like to scam foreigners, taxi are very cheap in Russia but they will try to rip you off by making you pay 10 times the price. If you don't feel like arguing do not take the taxi.

Otherwise Moscow is not more unsafe than any other big cities

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In my opinion, Moscow is one of the safest cities in Russia. I'm German and only know a few words of Russian. I've been there 3 times now, first with Russian friends and later by myself. I usually took Yandex taxi whenever possible (there's an App for that), because the rate is fixed before you even enter the car. Alternatively you can settle a price for the ride beforehand, but first, you should look it up and compare. I usually mentioned that I "only have XY Rubels, is it okay?" so the Taxi driver can't charge you more than that. I still felt safer over there than wandering around in some areas in German cities. Like other answers mentioned, don't wave around expensive stuff, be friendly and open-hearted.

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    Very observant, thanks for the question. I stayed at a friend's place for about a week and we walked around quite much (Russians tend to be very "economical"), in small towns (Nikolayevka) to small cities (Saransk). When you walk around in Russian suburbs, you'll realize how poor some Russians really are. In the end, I felt unsafe in areas where buildings are crumbling and people hang around in public areas for no reason but to drink. This may sound biased, but it's just what I experienced. To conclude: Moscow is an expensive, huge, beautiful city where tourists are much more common. – Mario Maus Feb 26 '18 at 13:06
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    Just to add: The dangers in Moscow are the same for any metropole in any country. Scams, pickpockets, unfriendly people. – Mario Maus Feb 26 '18 at 13:25
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    'Feeling' unsafe isn't the same as being unsafe. Sometimes the nicest looking places are the places you're most likely to get scammed or assaulted, and sometimes you're safe walking down a dark, dirty alley. I think what @DavidRicherby was implying was that your answer could do with some statistics to back up your claims. – Pharap Feb 28 '18 at 4:52
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    @Pharap I agree. My answer was particulary about how I felt and what I experienced there. For instance, when I visited a barber's shop and I realized they don't accept my mastercard after I got my cut, they just told me (very friendly) to get some cash from a nearby bank. I tried not to get into any trouble, kept an eye on my valuables. If you compare, for instance, Moscow to New York, it's pretty much the same (except for corruption) as described in link – Mario Maus Mar 1 '18 at 12:09
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Russia is perfectly safe for tourists. I've travelled across the country over several years and never had a problem.

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    Thanks for your input on the topic..may I ask when the last time you traveled in Russian was? And do you feel the current events could be causing a different environment for American tourists, in terms of safety, then say 3 years ago? – user74177 Feb 26 '18 at 4:13
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    I've travelled regularly since 1996, though not in the last couple of years. I'm aware of the political differences between Russia and the US, but I don't see it impacting personal safety, or your routine interaction with the locals. – Deans Feb 26 '18 at 11:15
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    This seems too vague to be of any use. How does travelling across Russia over a long period of time (which allowed you to acclimate to societal norms and get a better feeling for what situations are routine and what might be dangerous) relate to a week-long trip to Moscow? – David Richerby Feb 26 '18 at 12:49
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    @M.Dm. I'm not sure how anecdotes of a specific incident really help give an overall picture of tourist safety. My friends were visiting me in London a few months ago, and an hour after they left the Natural History museum, 11 people were hit outside by a car-attack. Despite that, it wouldn't change my recommendation about how safe the city is to anybody. Isolated incidents are not the same danger as general problems like "there are gangs that will kidnap you for being a foreigner" that do exist in some countries. – Bilkokuya Feb 27 '18 at 10:37
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    @M.Dm. How many crimes did that gang commit over that many years? How many people live in Moscow and Moscow Area and were not affected? Yes, you hear about criminals doing very bad things and it makes you very uncomfortable but which is more likely - face those criminals or get into a traffic accident? – sharptooth Feb 28 '18 at 11:20
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I think the fear is still greater than the reality.

I have spent a few days in a cell (wrongfully detained) in Russia, but I'd still not be concerned about safety. Admittedly I'm not American, but just having the basics of being slightly street-smart, you'd be fine.

Mostly though, if you're wandering around the sights of Moscow, you'll have a ball. Do it and don't regret not getting out and seeing what it has got to offer.

  • Thanks for your answer; I’ll feel better about ignoring the advice of my Russian hosts when leaving to get lost in a new city, by myself – user74177 Feb 26 '18 at 4:10
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    @TonySnow If you have RF employees at your job, you may find it easy to find one who will show you around. Also, a lot of firms hiring expats provide transportation and interpreters. Take advantage of them if you can. You can also hire your own, frequently cheaply if you play your cards right. You may well find a 2-tier price structure - one price for expats, another price for Russians. An interpreter can help get around that. – Corvus B Feb 28 '18 at 21:43
  • @CorvusB great advice; any suggestion on linking up with or setting up something ahead of time with an expat/tour guide/transport companies or agencies?? – user74177 Mar 1 '18 at 0:57
  • I used this service: russiangirlfriday.com, and found them reliable and trustworthy. You can also post this question in expat forums, where you should be able to get plenty of good references. When I was in Russia, I used a few different websites to find housing - I typically rented an apartment for the day or three I'd be in a location. This is a typical deal over there, and you can find super deals. But Olesya at RussianGirlFriday could help with all that. – Corvus B Mar 2 '18 at 15:30

protected by JonathanReez Mar 3 '18 at 3:51

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