I am an individual of Indian (person from India) descent. I have been asked by my company to travel to Russia later this year to carry out a market survey related to consumer durables. I will have to spend around 3 months in Russia, especially in Moscow, Volgograd,Vladivostok & Saint Petersburg.

However, based on information provided by various Western media groups related to safety in Russia, it seems any individual who is not White can be targeted in Russia by Neo-Nazis, Neo-Fascist and skinhead groups. Moreover it seems law enforcing authorities in Russia also harass dark skinned people.



The US state department in its travel advisory pertaining to Russia states:

Incidents of unprovoked, violent harassment against racial and ethnic minorities regularly occur throughout the Russian Federation. Travelers should exercise caution wherever large crowds have gathered. U.S. citizens most at risk are those of African, South Asian, or East Asian descent, or those who, because of their complexion, are perceived to be from the Caucasus region or the Middle East. These U.S. citizens are also at risk for harassment by police authorities.

Similarly the Canadian Government in its travel advisory regarding Russia states:

Crime against foreigners is a serious problem. Harassment and attacks are prevalent, especially for foreigners of Asian and African descent. Some victims have died.

I also came across a RT video that spoke about how an Indian student was stabbed to death in Moscow by skinheads.

So, I have two questions in this regard:

(1) What are the chances of physical violence against people, who are not of European descent?

(2) Is it difficult to find accommodation in cities like Moscow if you are not European?

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    related: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/60866/… May 19, 2016 at 19:45
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    @HeidelBerGensis I'm going to vote to close as a duplicate on the assumption that most Russian racists (indeed, perhaps any racists other than Arab and Indian racists) will not be able or willing to differentiate between Arabs and Indians, or will not care about the difference. If your experience implies otherwise, please advise and I will consider retracting my vote.
    – phoog
    May 19, 2016 at 20:11
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    @phoog if that's true, that should be the answer to the question: "Russian racists treat Indians like they treat Arabs, [explain how you know], here's how they treat Arabs: [short summary/quote] [link]". If you don't know and are just guessing, please leave the question for someone who does. I suspect it's not entirely true, personally - Arabs look much more like turkic former Soviet Central Asians than Indians do - but I don't know either. May 19, 2016 at 20:46
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    @user568458 fair point, vote retracted. (OMG! My assumption was largely based on experiences with racism against south and west Asians in the US. Was it racist of me to make assumptions about some racists based on stereotypes of other racists?)
    – phoog
    May 20, 2016 at 1:14
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    Hi!. I see dozens of foreign students from Africa, India, China in our provincial region (city called Kirov). And I never heard about any criminal incidents with them for last years. Most of Russians are not racists, like people in other civilized countries. Also, as you can know, Soviet people (ancestors of Russians) defeated real nazis 70yrs ago.
    – Sash0k
    May 26, 2016 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


Each time I see such questions, I feel very frustrated. I'm from Russia, and I can't do anything to remove such articles, but I try to do my best to explain that people here, in Russia, aren't as xenophobic and dangerous as you can read in press.

Did you hear about the story regarding the afroamerican been shot by police in USA some time ago? Does it mean that every cop in USA is dangerous for you if your skin isn't white? No, it doesn't.

Similar, not all the police here in Russia is corrupt and will trying to harrass you. Not all the bald guys will try to kill you. Not all the soldiers will beat you, and so on. Most people here are completely indifferent to your skin. Moreover, they'll try to help you even if they do not understand you.

The only thing you should think about is to be careful. Dark streets are dangerous in all the countries. Night clubs with alcohol can get you into trouble in all the countries. You can met a thief in airport or railway station in all the countries. I suggest you to travel across the Russia with native speaker so you can understand what's going on every moment.

As the cities you've mentioned, Moscow and St. Petersburg are not dangerous in tourist areas. Yes, there are some districts with criminal dangers, but I'm sure that you'll never arrive into such place. Vladivostok is something different, as there is some negative from citizens to chinese people (there are a lot of illegal ones), but still a good city. Never been in Volgograd, and can't say something regarding that.

I hope everything will be ok, and you'll love my country.

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    Nice answer. I was going to say the same, but I have never actually been to Russia so I couldn't speak from personal experience. I have had similar experiences in the past explaining to people from the Midwestern and southeastern US that, having been raised in New York City, I am not deserving of pity, nor my parents of scorn for having raised me there.
    – phoog
    May 20, 2016 at 1:18
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    @VMAtm: Thank You.Actually I checked several Russian sources before posting the question. Here is one such link from a Moscow based organization that tracks incidences of racism sova-center.ru/en/xenophobia/reports-analyses/2016/04/d34247 . Moreover, I read about students from South & South Asian countries who went to a football stadium in Moscow to watch a match & were beaten up by Neo Nazis. That's why I thought I will ask for clarification. I have no intention to single out Russia. I live in Europe & realize fully well that Neo Nazis,skinhead groups exist in several countries.
    – CSinha
    May 20, 2016 at 13:54
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    Yep, football can be dangerous, unfortunately. In the article you've linked I can see that there is a comparison with 2014, and some numbers are decreased. Yes, they are still persists, but I hope you'll be fine.
    – VMAtm
    May 20, 2016 at 14:03
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    Whoa, seriously? Rose-colored glasses? Did I said that there are no problems here? No. I've only said that Russia isn't as dangerous and xenophobic as one can think after reading the articles. And, as I said, you still have to be cautious for avoiding the problems
    – VMAtm
    May 21, 2016 at 17:33
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    @Federi, the fact is that I am Russian.
    – ach
    Mar 7, 2018 at 15:51

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