Russia is not more dangerous than any other developed country. Nevertheless, don’t forget about basic safety even in the quietest of places.
Public Places and Transport
Most visits to Russia are trouble-free, but petty crime does happen in any big city. Be alert to the possibility of mugging, pickpocketing and theft. Pickpockets are most likely to be active in public transport during rush hour and in crowded places. Simply follow these few simple tips and the chances of getting robbed will be next to none:
- Stay alert while in public transport or in the crowd, do not get too absorbed in your gadgets.
- Do not leave your personal items unattended
- Do not go around the city with your bag or backpack wide open. When in a public place, hold your bag in front of you.
- Do not display valuable items, such as – smartphones, tablets, expensive watches or jewellery in public.
- Try not to have large sums in cash on you.
- Do not keep your bank card PINs in one place.
Cyber and Online Security
Take the same safety measures you would when shopping or communicating online as you do at home. Do not tell anybody your bank card PIN or any other confidential info.
Fraudsters and Scammers
No one is immune to fraud or scam. Hence:
- Do not ask people you do not know to look after your belongings and do not agree to dubious offers or services.
- Do not hang around with suspicious-looking individuals or people you do not know.
- Stick to official and reliable banks or companies when dealing with bank or phone cards as well as exchanging currency or making money transfers.
- Do not purchase SIM cards from stalls in the street: the potential scam risk is too high. It is better to go to the nearest phone shop or general store.
- If you need to withdraw cash, particularly a large sum, it is better to do it in a bank outlet or at an ATM, located in a secure, dedicated place. Do not change money with people in the street; the risk of getting phoney money is quite high.
Clubs and parties are fantastic, but do not forget about basic safety.
- If you are going to a concert it is better to bring some friends along.
- At an entertainment venue, try to stick together and keep an eye on each other’s belongings. When the party is in full swing it is quite easy to be left without your bag, money or documents.
- It is safer to get home by public transport or by taxi. If you decide to walk, stick to well-lit streets.
- Try not to draw unwanted attention to yourself. If you spot some rowdy people up ahead, cross the street and proceed on the opposite side. Do not pay attention to their calls.
It is not a good idea to flag down a taxi, as: there is a good chance of getting a taxi driver who does not have a licence. Such people may include actual criminals – you risk not just losing your money, but also not getting where you wanted to get. Hire a taxi from an established company. It is safe and the fare is fixed. In a big city you can quickly find a taxi using a mobile app, such as Uber or GetTaxi.
Cross the road only at designated pedestrian crossings. Prior to crossing the road first look left then right and then, if there are no cars approaching, cross the road.
When off university campus, it is recommended to carry your passport, student ID and migration card with you. Do not be surprised if a police officer asks to see your ID. It is one of many counter-terrorism security measures taken not against you, but for your own safety. The threat of terrorism, one of the most serious global concerns, is taken very seriously in Russia. Russia is quite successful in counter-terrorism and takes special care about the security of Russian citizens and foreign nationals. Do not panic during security and ID checks. It is a standard crime prevention practice.
Emergency numbers (free)
Keep the emergency call numbers at hand and call even in the slightest danger.
General Rescue Service 112 (landline and mobile phone).
Fire-Fighting Service 01 (landline), 010 (mobile).
Police 02 (landline), 020 (mobile)
Ambulance 03 (landline), 030 (mobile).
Gas Service 04 (landline), 040 (mobile).