How Safe Is Russia for Travel?

Russia
Safety Index:
34
TravelSafe Abroad

On Feb. 24, 2022, Russia invaded its neighbor country Ukraine, starting a war between these two countries.

This act of invasion caused many Ukrainians to flee their country and seek shelter in places like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, etc…

At this time, we recommend no travel to Russia or Ukraine, or any neighboring countries for your own safety.

Russia is the largest country in the world, spreading over more than one-eighth of the world’s inhabited land area, stretching over two continents – Eastern Europe and northern Asia.

Russia is an immensely large country, and it offers an extremely large amount of tourist attractions, though many of them can be found on the remote and hard-to-reach parts of the country.

However, the best-known ones are precisely in the urban parts and cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Talking about Russia’s landmarks and attractions itself would take a couple of hours.

Russia’s history attracts the most tourists, as they are fascinated by its surreal and sometimes brutal but nevertheless thrilling and jawdropping national story.

It is told in Russia’s numerous museums some of which are among the world’s greatest, for example, the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, which is truly known all around the world.

However, there’s plenty to see and do if you’re a nature lover too.

Though there are large spaces between them, Russia offers many natural wonders.

In this sense, Siberia is the first to be mentioned, with Lake Baikal like a perfect ornament, known as its “jewel”.

Warnings & Dangers in Russia

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Generally speaking, Russia today is safe as much as other countries in Europe, despite its problematic history with criminal activity in the 90s. However, if you’re planning on traveling to Russia, keep in mind that you should avoid regions close to the Ukraine border, this is not recommended, because of the high level of risk and unstable situation in the region of Donetsk, Lugansk, and Kharkiv.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Generally speaking, transportation in Russia is safe, but you should bear in mind that kidnappings have been known to happen, mostly in unlicensed taxis, so be careful when hailing one on the streets. Keep in mind that the most dangerous areas where small crime tends to occur are the underground walkways, called “perekhods”. Only use official services like Yandex Taxi, Uber or Gett taxi.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

Pickpocketing is very common in Russia, and surprisingly it is mostly performed by groups of children. Pay attention to your belongings, don’t leave them in plain sight and be especially careful in crowded places like stations or near tourist attractions.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW

Russia isn’t particularly susceptible to natural disasters. Some blizzards are possible during winter which can cause affect the traffic and delay your flights. Also, in areas near Mongolia and Kazakhstan, earthquakes can happen sporadically.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Kidnappings for political reasons have happened in the North Caucasus, and there have been reports of foreigners being attacked there. Generally, never accept free drinks or food when you’re in a club or a bar. Drink spiking and then attacking and robbing the victim have been reported on numerous occasions.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : HIGH

Recent military interventions in Syria have caused high terrorism activity in the areas of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, the south-east part of Stavropol bordering Chechnya, Gabardine-Balkaria (including the Mount Elbrus area), and Karachay-Cherkessia. Apart from that, terrorist attacks have recently taken place in St. Petersburg.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

There is a world-known scam typical for Russia: scamming people through dating websites. When the victim gets to know a person from Russia via a dating website, and the relationship develops, the victim is asked by his/her (usually men are the victims here) partner to transfer some money to the country where the future partner lives, to make her/his trip to the victim’s country possible. After the money is transferred, the relationship ends. As for scams on the streets, you should avoid playing street gambling games.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Women are generally safe in Russia, though you should avoid finding yourself alone in clubs or bars, and of course, apply all normal precaution measures like avoiding remote and poorly lit streets and areas.

So... How Safe Is Russia Really?

Russia experienced a rise when it came to crime rates during the 1990s.

Violent crime, as well as petty crime and scams,  have increased, but the biggest part of the violence was within the criminal groups themselves, and it didn’t affect foreigners that much.

However, it decreased since the 90s, so right now, for tourists, major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg aren’t more dangerous than any other European city, they’re even less so.

The crime rate in Moscow, for example, is fairly lower than one in New York, London or Paris, so you should feel safe here.

When it comes to the authority officials, you should keep in mind that they usually don’t speak English, so don’t expect any English by them outside of the major cities.

Speaking about the officials, don’t ever try to bribe them: you will be charged with bribery.

Bear in mind that if you are a member of LGBT community, there is no reason to avoid Russia altogether but you should refrain from any public displays of affection since, as of June 2013, “homosexual propaganda to minors” is prohibited, which basically means that any discussion of gay rights or homosexuality issues in the presence minors is punishable by law.

Tourists are also strongly advised against traveling to the North Caucasus, as that region is considered to be the most dangerous in the entire country.

The area has a bad reputation as there have been incidents of terrorist and criminal activities there as well as cases of both corruption and lawlessness.

How Does Russia Compare?

CountrySafety Index
Russia34
Morocco54
Australia86
Slovakia80
Greece73
Norway85
Mauritius80

Useful Information

  • Visas - Most countries do need a visa in order to enter Russia, and if you’re a U.S. citizen you must possess both a valid U.S. passport and a bona fide visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate. None of the nationals that do need a visa can acquire one upon arrival, so make sure you apply for your visa in advance. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - The Russian ruble is the official currency in Russia. ATMs are widespread throughout the country and credit cards are accepted everywhere.
  • Weather - Russia has highly continental influenced climate characterized by warm to hot and dry summers and extremely cold, freezing winters with temperatures as low as -30°C – sometimes even lower, with heavy snowfall.
  • Airports - Sheremetyevo International Airport is Russian busiest international airport. It is located in Molzhaninovsky District, Northern Administrative Okrug, in Russia’s capital, Moscow, about 29 km northwest of central Moscow.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we advise getting travel insurance when traveling to Russia, because it would cover not only medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Russia Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -8° C
Feb -7° C
Mar -2° C
Apr 7° C
May 14° C
Jun 17° C
Jul 19° C
Aug 17° C
Sep 12° C
Oct 5° C
Nov -1° C
Dec -6° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
-5-4211192224221681-3
Low
°C
-10-10-52812141272-3-8
High
°F
232536526672757261463427
Low
°F
141423364654575445362718

Where to Next?

21 Reviews on Russia

  1. A
    Anonymous says:

    Take out the warnings for North Caucasus area and Russia is about as safe as anywhere. Sure, pickpocketers can be a problem, but common sense will thwart them. I have been in Russia every year since 1991.

    1. Risk of detention

      Unless the govt decides to randomly single you out for incarceration. Not everyone detained has clear cut crimes. Plus, lets not add any cash to their economy just yet.

  2. I visited Moscow twice and St Petersburg once. Both are must visit cities. Can be tough for English speakers as most signs are in cyrillic, and i found that not many Russians speak English. The vibe in Moscow is a bit colder with people, but nevertheless still friendly. I did find the atmosphere and people in St Petersburg to be much more open and friendlier.
    Be aware of pickpockets as I’ve unfortunately experienced it. While it happened, i have no ills against it.
    Highly recommend it. I’ll be visiting again!

  3. J
    Joesph Stalin says:

    seems a complicated country, size can play a part in crime. Although “Gopniks” all over is not a result of mass pickpocketting. It originating in the late Soviet Period as Many high rise buildings were built in cities to accomdate the people migrating there from the country.
    This meant that the price was cheap attracting “Gopniks and Gopnistas ( Female gopniks- For more information see Life of Boris “What is a Gopnik.” video)
    It is what is called slavic ‘culture’ with slav squatting and addidas tracksuits. But for more accurate watch that video

  4. A
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn says:

    Not safe for gays

    If I were gay, I absolutely wouldn’t visit there, it’s on par with places like Somalia and Saudi Arabia for violence against LGBT people.

    1. Wrong. Only appears in Muslim areas like North Caucuses. Do you honestly think someone will assault, kill or rape you because of your hair color or LGBT badge on your shirt in Moscow, St.Petersburg, or Kazan like they do in the countries you mentioned? If you think so, then either you are homophobic yourself or just a not-in-line with the rest of society.

  5. Update once again.

    Russia is really in fact, safe, it’s crime rate isn’t that bad, compared to countries like Honduras or El Salvador. Of course, there is a widespread alcohol problem, but just try to avoid going to bars. The terror problem isn’t that bad, you won’t hear about a terrorist attack in a Russian city so often, however, there is a terror threat on the border of Ukraine and the Caucasus Region.

    1. You sir, are a donut

      Are you absolutely brain dead? You cannot compare a country such as Honduras to Russia. Obviously, Russia is safer. That’s why Russia is in yellow, not red. Come on man use your brain a bit. This review is 1000% accurate. You basically summarized everything that was said. But seriously, stop comparing two IMMENSELY different countries when it comes to crime. Compare Russia to the United States next time.

  6. Pretty safe

    Completely weird a pretty safe country like Russia shows a safety index of 34. Its safety was even repeated countinously in the description, so it should be definitely changed to at least the 70’s (on par to Chile, which is a much more dangerous country). Bad standards!

  7. Only safe for caucasians

    Non caucasians, stay in your hotel rooms.

    1. Can’t agree. Half of the country are Turkic or Asian. 200+ nationalities living there permanently, also lots of foreign students.
      Maybe kids in smaller towns or villages will be surprised if you’re Black. So it’s best to avoid visiting kindergartens.

  8. Overall Russia is a very safe place for tourists.

    I don’t understand the score of 34. It’s too low for Russia.

    1. N
      New Russian says:

      Colder than vertical says!!!

      And I promise, the temperatures the article offers are a bit warm. Moscow may be in the teens Fahrenheit, but outside that city, we see zero, 4-5 below anytime in December!! Sometimes the entire month!!

  9. N
    New Russian says:

    Life in Russia has been fine for me. Since 1991, the “mafia” ended about when President Putin came to power. Since then, in our faraway city of 110,000 people, I have witnessed so much Hope and Change, I thought President Obama was in power. Churches, schools, hospitals, etc. and typical transportation infrastructure (sidewalks to airports) have been improved thru rebuilding and new construction. Walking nights never seemed unwise. From Moscow to Barnaul and many cities and villages in between, and likewise- places from St Petersburg to Vologda to Ulyanovsk; all safe and walked late at night. (no guns)
    Sure, keep your senses, don’t try to keep up with a Russian drinking… you won’t. You shouldn’t, as that can be a ruse for taking advantage of you.

  10. N
    New Russian says:

    Russia is great

    I must say that from Moscow, east to Barnaul, and from Vologda to south of Moscow, Ulyavovsk and around that entire area (Kirov, Izhevsk, Kazan, etc) life is simple and easy, just don’t be “American”. Be reserved, polite, low key, quiet, and as invisible as possible and you won’t have any problems. I am an American, I have traveled this area, scouted food and drink late nights, and never have been bothered. If you wish to visit Russia, by all means, do so. Expect differences and accept those differences as life. Russia is calm, safe and a nice, peaceful place to live.

    1. A
      A tourist says:

      Amazing place to visit.

      I have been there 4 times and love the Moscow area and surrounding towns, always felt very safe and only ran into one drunk who didn’t like me because I was obviously English speaking. But like you said, just be low key and move on. I will gladly go again when this current BS lockdown is over.

  11. G
    Green Guy says:

    Great Country to visit

    I’m a Brit who has lived in Russia for many years. Good review. The Caucuses are in fact the most interesting place to visit and very safe so long as you respect the local (mostly Islamic) religion. Walking around at night (although I wouldn’t recommend anywhere in the world) is much safer in Russia than most other countries. Highly recommend visiting. Visa is the bigest barrier – but some good news – Some places you don’t need a visa – like if you arrive by cruise ships to St Pete and Sochi (check out the rules). Russia is trying to introduce really easy e-visas (apply online and show print-out), which “after COVID” should make life easy for citizens of EU and many other countries (Not UK & USA though, due to reciprocal “unfriendly” visa regimes with absurd rules for Russians)

  12. i love Russia, i love to visit, beautiful people and kind faces! one of the biggest country in the world for a reason.

  13. Don't visit it at this time (wait for better days)

    Right now this is a 1 star and very unsafe. It usually is a 3 star location. Russia has some beautiful cities and landmarks that should be visited but right now, I wouldn’t recommend going there. Ever since they started the attack on Ukraine neither Ukraine nor Russia is safe. This crazy war that has started will soon lead to all sorts of problems in Russia so keep your distance for the time being. Once this is over, hopefully soon, you can give it a try.

    And yes, there is a certain terrorism risk in Russia at any given time, especially now. I know of someone that has been mugged in Sankt Petersburg. It was night but he wasn’t on an unlit alley or something. I was also surprised to see how many pickpockets there are in the major cities. I wasn’t expecting to see so many. And yes, I can confirm that in some cases, children are the ones that will try to steal from you. It sounds insane but it’s the truth.

    I will outline a few interesting places that can be visited. For example, Lake Baikal. This lake holds around 20% of the world’s fresh water!!! Just imagine how big it is?! When it’s not frozen, you can do some kayaking or go on boat cruises.

    St. Petersburg should also be on your list – this city is a mix of history and art and beautiful design. Visit the St. Isaac’s Cathedral or the Hermitage Museum is the 2nd biggest culture museum on the globe. And they’re both worth a visit. There’s also Peterhof Palace which is close to St. Petersburg. This place looks like the Palace of Versailles from France.

    Another interesting place is Vladivostok which has the longest cable-stayed bridge on earth with a length of 1885 meters. The city is worth exploring, having a beautiful military museum and there’s also a fortress that’s now became a museum as well.

    Again, there’s a lot to see but don’t go now. Wait until things settle down.

  14. M
    Mikayla says:

    3 years living in provincial areas and Moscow

    34…? This is grossly inaccurate. Morocco is 54 and Russia a 34? I have experience in both countries and attest you are misled. Sounds like you wrote this based on the 90s. Even now in the middle of the war, despite frequent travel, Moscow poses minimal risks. pickpocketers, terrorist acts, or scams are a genuine rarity. Racist violence I have not yet been exposed to. Police and legal system serviceable.

  15. W
    World TravelA says:

    Who rated Russia that low?

    I’m not sure why rating is lower than some African countries, but I can assure you 34 is way too low. Russia is a police country and the law enforcement system is actually working comparing some countries we have traveled to and by some reason rated on this site higher. It might be politics involved or some people personal experience not sure, but we never had a single issue in Russia. Petty crime is common unfortunately, just put your grey shirt with spotty armpits along with beat up keds and blend in or not lol, Russians tend to dress nicely, mostly. We learned Russian and Cyrillic alphabet so it might helped a bit, but nowadays a lot of Russians speak English fluently and we had no issue communicating. Of course you have to be vigilant like anywhere even crime infested Brighton and Hove eg and people around you are not your friends, but overall very positive experience. Don’t bring forbidden substances and don’t express your political point of view and enjoy your trip.
    Cities v. Moscow, Barnaul, St. Pitersburg, Voronezh, Kazan.

Rated 4.05 / 5 based on 21 user reviews.

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