Moscow Survival Skills I
Planning to visit Moscow, but don't know what to expect? I'll share with you some of the survival skills!
You probably think that Moscow is a dangerous place not fit for a Westerner. That's not quite true. Follow my advice, exercise reasonable precautions - and you'll be just as safe as anywhere else!
Before we start, I ask you to understand that nothing beats your judgement! No guide can possibly foresee all the situations you might get into. You are the one who decides, so always think.
Still, there are many typical situations we can prepare for. And we definitely will! (Don't get too tense though - Moscow is not THAT problematic. We are talking theory here! In fact, those survival skills will serve you anywhere, not just in Russia.)
She means business!
(by Boris SV)
These guys aren't very pleasant. You've probably heard they're extremely corrupt, and you're right.
The good news is they don't like dealing with the foreigners. Their "target audience" is people from the former USSR republics who often work in Moscow illegally.
It's quite easy to counter the cops. They can't do much if you have a "visa registration", so get it ASAP from your hotel/receiving party. Remember - you can stay in Moscow for 3 days without having to get registered.
To sum up, always have the following with you:
1) A passport with a visa (if you need a visa, of course.)
2) Visa registration (a piece of paper stating who you are and where you are staying.)
3) Plane tickets (in case you don't have a registration.)
If the police approaches - stay calm, show ID, speak loudly and act confident. Trust me, they'll leave.
Often referred to as "gopniki", they are the last people you want to meet. They are much easier to avoid than to fight, so learn those survival skills as well:
1) Stay out of the bad neighborhoods. Most of the hotels are situated in the city center, and that's where you should be as well. If someone invites you to the party held in the outskirts of Moscow, you should:
a) Think twice before you accept.
b) Have someone local go with you.
c) Come and leave as early as you can, preferably by car.
2) Don't stay in the public transport too late. Try not to use it after 10PM. That's especially true for metro. If you do need to go somewhere - take a car or move the meeting to the next day.
3) Don't show off. Try not to wear luxurious clothing that may attract envious looks. If you have expensive gadgetry - use it only when necessary, and keep it hidden for the rest of the time.
4) Have company. Walk around in a group. It's more fun and it's much more secure! You are much less likely to become a target when you're not alone.
Care to join, comrade?
Moscow is quite different from the rest of European capitals. Follow the simple rules below to avoid unpleasantness.
1) Always have a good map or GPS. Most of the people in Moscow speak very poor English. If you get lost - you're in trouble.
2) Try to blend in. Don't talk too loud, don't dress up to expensively. Try not to do anything that may irritate the locals. In short - try not to attract too much attention.
3) Have a local guide with you. If you can't have a guide - write down the phone number of your hotel's reception. Call them if things get complicated. That brings us to...
4) Don't leave the hotel without a cell phone. Speaks for itself.
- Yuri Luzhkov - The Mayor of Moscow!
- Moscow bombings.
- GIBDD - the Moscow Road Police Force
- Dealing with Moscow police part II
- Moscow survival skills page II
- Protecting yourself from Russian mobsters
- Getting Russian currency - tips and tricks.
- Moscow Russia facts page V
- Moscow Russia facts page IV
- Moscow Russia facts page III
- Moscow Russia facts page II
- Moscow, Russia facts part I
- Russian nazi skinheads - myths and facts
- Moscow travel tips - your one-stop Moscow travel FAQ!