The Russian Federation’s exciting assortment of terrorist groups and high crime rate (including homicides, assault and other violent crime) landed the Federation on the Dishonorable Mentions category for the 2016 List of Worst Countries for Women Travelers. This is the first year the Federation has made the list and although it is duly noted that it is an enormous place which allows a tourist to explore everything from Red Square to ancient fortresses in Dagestan, it is unfortunately dangerous in too many of those historic places.
Russia has beautiful, historic cities with splendid architecture, art, and music; but it has absolutely dominated Eastern Europe for homicides since 2013. OSAC‘s most recent statistics indicate that Russia ranks 10th for homicides globally and that violent crime is on the increase. The most recent statistics collected indicate a rise in violent crime in places like St. Petersburg of 20.2 percent. Tourists need to be on their guard against muggings, pickpockets, assault and other crime in popular tourist areas such as around Red Square, Ismailovsky Tourist Market, and Moscow or St. Petersburg metros.
Terrorism is also a serious issue due to terrorist attacks like the most recent attack on tourists in Dagestan on December 30, 2015 resulting in the death of one tourist and wounding of ten others. The UK warns to exercise a high degree of caution in most of Russia due to terrorism, primarily from Islamist terrorist groups in the Northern Caucasus Region. They note several incidents of terrorism recently, including a February 8, 2016 roundup of seven men, allegedly linked to ISIS in Ekaterinburg in connection with alleged plans to carry out terrorist attacks in a number of cities across Russia. They also mention the bombing of a October 13, 2015, a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg which crashed in North Sinai. Additionally, on October 11, 2015 the Russian authorities arrested 10 people in Moscow in connection with an alleged terrorist plot.
The UK advisory also notes issues with crime targeting tourists, including bogus police officers who steal from tourists and a problems in St. Petersburg where gangs have targeted tourists for robbery.
If you are Asian or of Afro-Carribean ancestry, there have been racially motivated attacks.
The most dangerous areas to avoid include the Northern Caucasus Region and Stavropol krai, Dagestan and districts of Rostov Oblast that border Ukraine. Canada concurs with that advice and in fact, suggests that if any of its citizens are in the republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan; republics of Karachai-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Mount Elbrus region) and North Ossetia, Budyonnosky, Levokumsky, Neftekumsky, Stepnovsky and Kurski districts, in the region of Stavropol Krai or districts of the Rostov Oblast that border Ukraine should leave. New Zealand advises its citizens that it is extremely risky for the regions noted above, while somewhat risky for the rest of Russia because of terrorism; including popular destinations like Moscow which have experienced terrorism incidents. There is a particular concern about attacks on transportation infrastructure like airports, planes, trains, the metro and buses. Speaking of taxis, look for the official taxi sign since that’s another great way to be robbed or otherwise ripped off by someone posing as a taxi driver.
If you want to go to Russia or must go: The ancient town of Novgorod has excellent architecture and is said to be as Russia was a hundred years ago. It is also a smaller town and has not suffered the same crime and terrorism problems as Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Conclusion: Perhaps you are thinking it would be better to go where a woman can travel freely and safely, if so, please refer to our 10 safest countries for women tourists.
Cover photo: RT News
Description: Naryn-Kala fortress in Derbent where militants attacked tourists