Thursday, April 06, 2006

Travel to Russia!

The U.S. State Department has advised Americans to take precautions when traveling in Russia, saying a heightened risk of terrorist attack in the country remains, the Associated Press reported.

Originally posted: http://mosnews.com/news/2006/04/05/travelprecautions.shtml

I think, south of Russia, such as Chechnya or Ingushetia, can't be recommended for tourists. All other parts of Russia, hadn't any terrorist attacks in last time, and wait for visitors.

6 comments:

W. Shedd said...

US government advised the same sort of thing around June 2003 for Kyrgyzstan - about 6 weeks after I was there. I remember thinking - WTF, the only thing I worried about there was some police officer trying to shake me down for a little cash.

I don't think they are particularly good judges of this sort of thing and I'm never quite sure what drives their recommendations.

twicker said...

Note that the public announcement (not an alert) is a general one (kinda like you'd expect for, say, travel in the US) and doesn't rise to the level of a Travel Warning (the biggies -- you can find them here: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html). The warnings are reserved for Pakistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, etc.

Also, the only places where it advises you not travel are in the North Caucasus -- places like, oh, Chechnya and Ingushetia. Same ones you mentioned.

Methinks MosNews is making this a much bigger deal than it actually is -- especially with a headline that screams, "Americans Better Not Travel to Russia — State Department." Not even close to what the State Dept. said. However, a headline like, "US Warns that Americans May Face The Same Threat In Russia as in the US" or "US Says Russia Not Perfect, But Not That Bad" -- nope, I don't see that getting attention.

The actual public announcement:
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_1162.html

The actual (not nearly so hyperventilating) text:
This public announcement updates security information and reminds American citizens traveling or living in Russia that there remains a heightened potential for terrorist actions, including attacks against civilians. This situation is likely to continue for some time. This supersedes the public announcement of October 3, 2005 and expires on September 30, 2006.

Acts of terrorism including bombings and hostage taking have occurred in Russia over the last several years. ... (remainder snipped) ...

The public announcement then advises people to be aware of their surroundings -- say, like you should do in New York. It's *so important,* that, unlike a Travel Warning (which is the main travel page), you have to (a) navigate away from the Warnings to the Consular Information Sheets, (b) find Russia, and then, finally, (c) select the Public Announcement (note it still doesn't say "Warning" or "Alert").

This ain't bad, folks. It's MosNews bloviating. Shock! Awe! They bloviate!? Kto znala? Next, you'll tell me something really unbelievable, like that George Bush is a failure. Oh, wait ...

-- Thomas Wicker

(p.s.: my "blog" exists for no particularly good reason, possibly akin to myself)

twicker said...

fyi, there's a "tml" after the h in both of those. Sorry.

twicker said...

oh -- and, lastly, I am coming to Russia, thanks much. :^) Krasnodar (or "K-dar," as my friend and I have taken to calling her hometown) and Moscow.

-- twicker

twicker said...

a bit more comparative information for you:

From the State Department page on the United Kingdom:
The United Kingdom is politically stable, with a modern infrastructure, but shares with the rest of the world an increased threat of terrorist incidents of international origin, as well as the potential for occasional and isolated violence related to the political situation in Northern Ireland (a part of the United Kingdom). On July 7, 2005, a major terrorist attack occurred in London, as Islamic extremists detonated explosives on three Underground trains and a bus in Central London, resulting in over 50 deaths and hundreds of injuries. Following the attacks, the public transportation system was temporarily disrupted, but quickly returned to normal. A similar, but unsuccessful attack against London’s public transport system took place on July 21, 2005. UK authorities have identified and arrested people involved in these attacks.

The British Home Secretary has urged UK citizens to be alert and vigilant by, for example, keeping an eye out for suspect packages or people acting suspiciously at subway and train stations and airports and reporting anything suspicious to the appropriate authorities. Americans are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution. For more information about UK public safety initiatives, consult the UK Civil Contingencies Secretariat website at http://www.ukresilience.gov.uk.

About France (this one is a Public Announcement):
This Public Announcement is issued to alert Americans to ongoing security concerns in France. Demonstrations, sometimes involving violence, have occurred and continue to occur in Paris and other large cities in France in opposition to a new law concerning employment contracts for young workers. This Public Announcement will expire on April 30, 2006.

Recent demonstrations have occurred at times in areas frequented by tourists. Some of the demonstrations may be announced, while others may be spontaneous. Police have responded by using tear gas. U.S. Embassy personnel have been advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings.

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens traveling or residing in France to avoid areas where crowds are expected to gather, to exercise caution, particularly during evening and nighttime hours, and to closely follow media reports.

Oh -- and, lest we forget: here's what the US says about the US:
Threat Advisory: Elevated -- Significant Risk of Terrorist Attack
All Americans, including those traveling in the transportation systems, should continue to be vigilant, take notice of their surroundings, and report suspicions items or activities to local authorities immediately.

OMG! The US considers Russia to be equal to the US! Or France! Or Great Britain! Those awful Americans ...

Remind me what the fuss is about again?

SeBe said...

W. Shedd and twicker, thanks a lot for commenting.

twicker's, info was very useful for me, and I am has written one more post about this announcement.