Overall Crime and Safety Situation
U.S. Embassy Moscow does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED MOSCOW AS BEING A CRITICAL-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Please review OSAC’s Russia-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.
2016 concluded on an ambiguous note in Moscow. The Russian economy continued on the trends started in 2015, with the Ruble/USD averaging 61/1 in January 2017, having hit a low of 85/1 in January 2016. This is a significant decline from an average value of 32/1 in 2013. Low petroleum prices on the world market continue to cause distress in the Russian export economy, and U.S./EU sanctions continue to be a source of economic weight.
Russia continues to aggressively pursue their foreign policy interests in Syria and Crimea. There have been dramatic events targeting Russian overseas interests (the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey in December 2016).
There has not been a substantial shift in the crime rate in Moscow since the beginning of 2016.
Police in Moscow are extremely proactive about preparation and presence during major holidays and scheduled events, especially New Years Eve. The Metro system is also aggressively protected due to the essential nature mass-transit has on Moscow in both a practical and cultural sense.
Non-violent crime was statistically tracked as rising with a summarized 32% increase.
Street-level theft (pickpocketing, mugging, similar robbery) is a frequent event on the Metro and in large crowds. The most vulnerable areas for petty crime include underground walkways (perekhods) and the subway, overnight trains, train stations, airports, markets, tourist attractions, and restaurants. U.S. citizens may wish to provide a friend, family member, or coworker a copy of their itinerary. Smash-and-grab thefts from parked cars are common, where anything of value left in plain sight is taken but the car itself is not specifically targeted.
Foreigners who have been drinking alcohol are especially vulnerable to assault and robbery in/around nightclubs or bars or on their way home. Some travelers have been drugged at bars, while others have taken strangers back to their lodgings, where they were drugged, robbed, and/or assaulted.
In Moscow, violent crime is not uncommon. Over 2016, the rate of reported violent crimes declined with murder down by 6.9% and intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm down by 9%. Overall, the Ministry of the Interior summarized a decrease in violent crime by approximately 12.2% over the course of 2016. Violent crimes involving firearms are not uncommon. The majority of street-level violence involves bladed weapons, gang tactics, and targets people carrying conspicuously valuable property or large amounts of cash. Relevant examples of violent crime in 2016:
- In December, a Japanese national was beaten to death in southeast Moscow by three attackers. The attack involved a robbery of approximately 50,000 rubles.
- In December, a French national died after being drugged and robbed at gunpoint while utilizing an unlicensed (gypsy) cab in Moscow. The taxi pickup took place outside the Crazy Daisy nightclub, and the attackers left the French national on the side of the road near the outskirts of Moscow after taking his money, cell phone, and coat. The apparent cause of death was exposure.
- In September, an 18-year old Russian student was threatened with a hatchet and robbed of her belongings on Srednyaya Pereyaslavskaya Street in Moscow.
- In September, a pneumatic pistol was discharged in the open area of Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya line of the Moscow Metro, breaking two windows on a moving train.
- In September, a strong-arm robbery of a Russian citizen on Alyabyev Street in Moscow resulted in the loss of more than 900,000 rubles.
- In August, two criminals armed with guns and axes attacked a police post on Schelkovskoe highway near Moscow. Two police were injured, and both attackers were killed. The attackers were identified as being from the Achkhoi-Martan district of Chechnya.
- In April, an Azeri diplomat was injured while fighting with the driver of his taxi while pulled over on Konyushkovskaya Street. The diplomat received a concussion and other minor injuries that required medical attention.
A common street scam is the “turkey drop,” in which an individual “accidentally” drops money in front of an intended victim, while an accomplice either waits for the money to be picked up or picks up the money him/herself and offers to split it with the pedestrian. The individual who dropped the currency returns, aggressively accusing both of stealing the money. This confrontation generally results in the pedestrian’s money being stolen. Avoidance is the best defense. Do not pick up any money and quickly walk away from the scene. Foreigners are frequent targets of this scam, particularly in/around the major hotels and tourist areas.
Staged vehicle accidents also present a problem. Perpetrators will usually attempt to extort money through intimidation. There have been cases in which accomplices have arrived at the scene posing as officials.
Reports of fraud committed against U.S. citizens by Internet correspondents professing love and romantic interest are common. Typically, the correspondent asks the U.S. citizen to send money or credit card information for living expenses, travel expenses, or visa costs. The U.S. Embassy has received many reports of citizens losing thousands of dollars through such scams. Never send money to anyone you have not met in person.
The cybercrime threat in Russia is significant, pervasive, and rarely investigated or prosecuted by the local authorities. Cyber attacks utilizing the surreptitious introduction of malicious code, theft via malware, spam e-mail, sophisticated spear phishing, and social engineering attacks are common.
In the wake of the U.S. presidential election, cybersecurity has become a highly politicized issue in Russia. Russian media largely seeks to minimize the emphasis that the U.S. places on the current cyber environment.
Other Areas of Concern
The Department of State maintains an active Travel Warning for Ukraine alerting U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Russia-backed separatists continue to control areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where violent clashes have resulted in over 9,000 deaths. A ceasefire agreement established a de facto dividing line between Ukrainian government-controlled and separatist-held areas of Ukraine, with numerous checkpoints controlled by government and separatist forces. The Department of State warns all U.S. citizens to defer all travel to the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.There have been multiple casualties due to land mines in areas previously controlled by separatists, and separatist leaders have made statements indicating their desire to push the front line to the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Individuals, including U.S. citizens, have been threatened, detained, or kidnapped for hours or days after being stopped at separatist checkpoints. The government of Ukraine has stated that foreigners, including U.S. citizens, who enter Ukraine from Russia through separatist-controlled territory, will not be allowed through checkpoints into government-controlled territory. The current status of Crimea prevents official Americans from traveling to that area. As a result, the U.S. government’s ability to assist U.S. citizens who travel or reside in Crimea is extremely limited.
Due to continued civil/political unrest throughout much of the North Caucasus region, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all other areas of the North Caucasus, including North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. The U.S. government’s ability to assist U.S. citizens who travel to the North Caucasus region is extremely limited.
There are several closed cities and regions in Russia. If you attempt to enter these areas without prior authorization, you may be subject to arrest, fines, and/or deportation. You must list on the visa application all areas to be visited and subsequently register with authorities upon arrival at each destination. There is no centralized list or database of the restricted areas, so travelers should check with their sponsor, hotel, or the nearest office of the Russian Federal Migration Service before traveling to unfamiliar cities and towns.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Road conditions and driver safety norms differ significantly from those in the U.S., especially outside of major metropolitan areas. Even thoroughfares marked as major routes on maps can be two-lane roadways. Some routes have heavy truck and bus traffic, while others have poor or nonexistent shoulders; many are one-way or do not permit left turns. Asphalt quality varies widely, and roads outside of cities are often poorly illuminated. In some areas, roads are practically nonexistent. In rural areas, it is not uncommon to find livestock crossing roadways. Learn about your route from an auto club, guidebook, or government tourist office.
When driving, adhere to all local driving regulations. They are strictly enforced, and violators are subject to severe legal penalties, as well as to extortion by corrupt traffic police. Avoid excessive speed and, when possible, do not drive at night outside of major cities. Construction sites or stranded vehicles are often not marked. Sometimes cars have only one working headlight and many cars lack tail lights, while bicycles seldom have lights/reflectors. Be prepared for sudden stops. Exercise great care near traffic while walking, as vehicles frequently fail to yield to pedestrians. The Russian Federation has expanded the use of camera enforcement for traffic and parking violations.
Roadside checkpoints are commonplace and are ostensibly in place to detect drunken driving, narcotics, alien smuggling, and firearms violations. However, they are sometimes used by traffic police to extract cash bribes in the form of “fines.” A true State Inspection for Traffic Safety (GIBDD) inspector should have black uniforms (never camouflage) and silver-red badges. Traffic police assigned to foot duty on streets and roads carry a black and white baton. Legitimate police should always provide their name and rank. A real traffic inspector should never show up alone or without a police car.
Russia practices a zero-tolerance policy with regard to alcohol consumption prior to driving. The maximum punishment is a two-year suspension of a driver’s license. An intoxicated driver may also be detained until s/he is deemed to be sober.
To help avoid highway crime, try not to drive at night, especially when alone, and do not sleep in your vehicle on the side of the road. Do not pick up hitchhikers, as they pose a threat to your physical safety and put you in danger of being arrested for unwittingly transporting narcotics.
In the Far East, most vehicles are right-hand drive, even though they are driven on the right side of the road. This affords drivers limited visibility on two-lane roads.
Russian law requires that vehicles involved in an accident not be moved until police arrive. If a driver moves his vehicle, he can be found at fault for the collision, regardless of any contributing factors. In the event of an accident, to avoid further potential liability, vehicles should not be moved from the scene.
Winter weather, which tends to last for six months or longer every year, can escalate rapidly and cause extremely dangerous travel conditions. Proper vehicle maintenance and winter driving skills are essential. Have your vehicle serviced and in optimum condition before you travel. It is wise to bring an extra fan belt, fuses, and other spare parts.
Public Transportation Conditions
Most major cities have an established public transportation system that may consist of subway (Metro), bus, trolley, and/or streetcar lines.
Larger cities have established commercial taxi services and app-based services (Uber, Yandex).
The U.S. Embassy discourages the use of unmarked, unregulated taxis (sometimes called gypsy cabs), as passengers have been victims of robbery, kidnapping, extortion, and theft. Criminals using these taxis to rob passengers often wait outside bars or restaurants to find passengers who have been drinking and are, therefore, more susceptible to robbery. Robberies may also occur in taxis shared with strangers. You should always use authorized services when arriving at a major airport.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Russia’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Russia’s air carrier operations. Several Russian carriers have participated in the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) program, an industry-sponsored safety audit program. According to Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC or МАK), which investigates air accidents in Russia and the other Commonwealth of Independent States, the aviation accident rate in 2016 remained nearly the same as in 2015. One fatal accident (FlyDubai FZ981) was recorded with heavy (over 10 tons flight weight) transport aircraft during commercial passenger operations.
There were no major issues with Russia’s airport safety. Rigorous searches of baggage and strict enforcement of customs regulations against the exportation of items of “cultural value” can occur. U.S. citizens have been arrested for attempting to leave the country with antique items they believed were legally purchased from licensed vendors. Travelers should obtain receipts for all high-value items (including caviar). Any article that could appear old or as having cultural value to the Customs Service (artwork, icons, samovars, rugs, military medals, antiques) must have a certificate indicating that it has no historical/cultural value. Certificates may be obtained from the Ministry of Culture.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED MOSCOW AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITY DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns
The Russian Federation continued to prioritize counterterrorism efforts in 2016. While it suffered no high-profile terrorist attacks, Russia remained a target of international groups, particularly ISIS. The majority of “antiterrorist” activities in 2016 targeted armed groups in the North Caucasus, but Russian officials noted an increasing nexus to ISIS in their law enforcement activities following ISIS’s August call to jihad within Russia.
Several notable small-scale incidents occurred in 2016, none of which displayed a high degree of planning or sophistication. These included:
- In October 23, Russian authorities in Nizhny Novgorod killed two suspected terrorists who resisted inspection of their vehicle, which was possibly carrying explosives; a third suspect was reportedly arrested. ISIS claimed responsibility for the would-be attackers and claimed the two men were “soldiers of the Islamic State.”
- In an August 17 attack later claimed by ISIS, two men attacked policemen with guns and axes at a traffic checkpoint in a Moscow suburb. Both of the attackers were killed by police, and one policeman was seriously injured.
According to the General Prosecutor’s statistics portal, registered crimes of “terrorist character” (defines as crimes against public security, including acts of terrorism, planning a terrorist attack, making a public call for a terrorist act, taking hostages, and organizing or participating in an illegal armed formation) increased over 2015 from 1,531 to 1,633 incidents as of August 2016. The majority of these incidents took place in the North Caucasus region. The government does not maintain an open, detailed, and centralized depository of crimes, nor do its agencies share a single legal definition of what constitutes terrorism or a terrorist-related act.
Terrorism-related law enforcement activities continued apace in 2016. The majority of operations occurred in Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Chechnya, but several high profile cases took place in major Russian cities. Significant events include:
- In December 3, the FSB killed Rustam Aselderov (aka Abu Muhamad al-Kadari) in an operation in Makhachkala. Aselderov was the leader of ISIS’s Caucasus branch and had been linked to several terrorist attacks in Russia over the past several years.
- On November 12, the FSB—working in collaboration with Tajik and Kyrgyz authorities—arrested 10 Central Asian migrants for plotting terrorist attacks in Moscow and St. Petersburg. All suspects reportedly confessed to having contact with ISIS.
- On October 7, the FSB killed six militants in an operation in the Nazran district of Ingushetia. Authorities said they had been tipped off that the militants were plotting to stage terrorist attacks and announced that Zabairi Sautiyev, an ISIS emissary who arrived from Syria “to resume terrorist activity in the republic,” was among those killed.
- On February 7, the FSB arrested seven alleged ISIS members in Yekaterinburg. Officials commented the suspects were both Russian and Central Asian and were arrested before they could carry out planned attacks in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the Sverdlovsk region.
The level of anti-American and anti-Western sentiment continues to be high throughout Russia, especially in media outlets. Demonstrations of varying size take place that specifically focus on U.S. foreign policy and perceived interference in Russian affairs. Despite this, and associated diplomatic tensions, there have been no incidents of wide-scale violence specifically targeting American citizens. However, the U.S. Embassy received multiple reports of American citizens being verbally harassed and physically assaulted during 2016. Notable incidents include:
- An American citizen was assaulted on the Kievskaya Metro platform. The assault was apparently prompted by the American speaking English in a public place. The American requested assistance from a uniformed police officer on the platform who did not intervene.
- An American contractor was assaulted outside the Radisson Hotel in Moscow. The inciting element appears to be speaking English in a public place. The assailant made comments (in English) during the incident to the effect of “you are in Russia, speak Russian.”
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED MOSCOW AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Many street demonstrations over social matters occurred in 2016. Large groups gathered over issues and socio-economic concerns (public transportation and parking issues, wage arrears, newly imposed taxes and fines). Protests and rallies commemorating the death of prominent political and social figures also took place. Some of these gatherings caused street closures, disruptions to public transportation, and there were reports of arrests at some demonstrations.
- Following the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey on December 19, the Russian government significantly reinforced the protection provided to the Turkish Mission to Russia.
Most rallies are sanctioned by the Russian government and are monitored by local law enforcement. Nevertheless, U.S. citizens should avoid public demonstrations and avoid any large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. Occasional peaceful demonstrations near the U.S. Embassy do not generally interfere with public services, but U.S. citizens should also avoid them.
Bomb threats are common, but explosions are rare. The threats typically are used to draw attention to an issue or group. Police are proactive about clearing buildings under threat, but specific details about results of what was found during a search are rarely forthcoming.
The U.S. Embassy receives recurring reports of ultra-nationalists targeting minorities, especially Central Asian and ethnic Caucasian migrant workers. There have been reports of unprovoked attacks against other foreigners/non-Russians, with many of these incidents captured by video surveillance cameras showing groups of young Russian males brutally assaulting unsuspecting passersby.
Forest and peat fires in central and eastern Russia affected a reported 669,000 hectares, according to official reports. This figure was challenged by NGOs, which assert the true number is in excess of 3 million and that the associated smoke and particulate pollution is equally widespread. Russia still suffers from the legacy of pollution of the land and groundwater from the Soviet era when lax environmental protections were in place. A recent study indicated that air quality in Moscow was similar to that of any large, industrial city; however, there have been episodes of a spike in foul-smelling emissions, particularly hydrogen sulfide, likely the result of refurbishing work at Moscow-area refineries. There have been no reports of long-term injuries from these releases. Some information from Russian authorities about air quality is available in English on the websites of various Russian government entities, such as the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Some websites operated by independent organizations also publish information in English about global air quality, including in Russia (For example: www.aqicn.org).
Russia continues to experience industrial accidents resulting from inadequate enforcement of safety and health standards in the workplace. Aging infrastructure and endemic corruption in regulatory bodies have contributed to several well-publicized disasters. Fines and facility closures are normally enforced only after an accident has occurred.
American businesses are susceptible to economic and industrial espionage. Information theft, especially from insufficiently protected computer networks, is common. It is recommended that businesses employ counter-surveillance techniques (video monitoring devices, alarm systems, computer network protection programs).
Certain activities that would be considered normal business practices in the U.S. and other countries either violate the Russian legal code or are considered suspect by Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). Before engaging in any business protection activities, it is advisable to be certain that the activity is not prohibited by Russian law. There are particular risks involved in any commercial activity with the Russian military-industrial complex, including research institutes, design bureaus, production facilities, or other high technology, government-related institutions. Any misunderstanding or dispute in such transactions can attract the involvement of the security services and lead to investigation or prosecution for espionage. Rules governing the treatment of information remain poorly defined.
OSAC constituents have no expectation of privacy in Russia. Telephone and electronic communications are subject to surveillance, which can compromise sensitive information. The Russian System for Operational-Investigative Activities (SORM) legally permits authorities to monitor and record all data that traverses Russia’s networks. A SORM Factsheet is available. Travelers should assume all communications are monitored.
Most people rely on their cell phones, laptops, and other electronics to stay in touch with friends and family. All travelers are encouraged to weigh their desire to stay connected with the risks.
When utilizing local services for banking, security, and medical treatment, U.S. citizens should ensure that the providers are reputable organizations. Be cautious in the amount of information that you make available to these institutions. It is not uncommon for employees of these organizations to pass sensitive personal medical, financial, and banking information to criminal elements.
American companies are encouraged to thoroughly vet all local hires. For additional advice, please contact the Regional Security Office.
Personal Identity Concerns
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is widespread; harassment, threats, and acts of violence targeting the LGBT community are also prevalent. Small demonstrations in support of LGBT rights often are dispersed, sometimes violently, by nationalists claiming to be defending traditional Russian values.
Drug-related crimes continue to increase in Russia. Russia is both a transit and consumer country for Afghan opiates (heroin, opium), typically transported from Afghanistan through Central Asia to Russia. Although heroin importation remains a priority for law enforcement, recent intelligence indicates heroin use is on the decline in many areas of Russia. Synthetic opioids (fentanyl, methadone) are increasingly popular heroin substitutes.
Russia has also experienced an increase in the amount of cocaine being imported and seized in recent years. Cocaine shipments are brought into Russia from South America and the Caribbean, including via seaports, mail, air transportation, and body carriers.
Additionally, abuse of various types of smoking blends (synthetic cannabinoids, cathinones such as “spice” and “bath salts”) is on the rise.
Russian investigators have reported that some of the drug trafficking groups operating are using the proceeds from drug transactions to finance terrorism. Financial transactions for the worldwide sale of these illegal substances has been identified and linked via cyberspace to criminal organizations based in Russia.
Kidnappings occur infrequently. The motives for the kidnappings range from monetary to political. There is no information to suggest U.S. citizens are being targeted as kidnap victims.
How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
In 2016, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates continued to receive reports of U.S. citizens being detained by the Federal Migration Service for entering the Russian Federation on the wrong type of visa or failing to register properly. People who were detained faced legal repercussions based on liberal interpretations of immigration laws. In some instances, it is not clear which type of visa is appropriate for certain activities.
It is not uncommon for foreigners to become victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion by law enforcement and other officials. Police do not need to show probable cause in order to stop, question, or detain individuals. Random document checks and other official actions provide opportunity for “on-the-spot” fines. If stopped, obtain the officer’s name, badge number, and patrol car number, and note where the stop happened; this information assists local officials in identifying the perpetrators. Authorities are concerned about these incidents and have cooperated in investigating such cases. The U.S. Embassy recommends against the payment of bribes.
If detained by the police, contact American Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. U.S. citizens with an emergency during regular office hours can call (7) (495) 728-5577. U.S. citizens with an after-hours emergency can call (7) (495) 728-5000.
Crime Victim Assistance
The emergency line is 112. Although the emergency call system (especially outside of large cities) may not have English language capabilities, the Russian unified emergency call system is expanding the use of the European standard and eventually will have greater foreign language capacity. As of the end of 2015, 112 had not been activated in all regions of Russia, but the police (102) and medical services (103) can also be called directly.
American citizens should report all crimes immediately to the police and to the American Citizen Services section of the Embassy or Consulate.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) is the central law enforcement body. State Inspection for Traffic Security (GIBDD) is the MVD entity responsible for the regulation of traffic and investigating traffic accidents. The uniforms are black with red trim.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) is Russia’s main domestic security agency. The FSB combines functions and powers similar to those exercised by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Russian President Putin announced on April 5 that command of all Ministry of Internal Affairs Internal Troops, Riot Police, and SWAT teams would be transferred to a new Federal National Guard Service commanded by Viktor Zolotov, the former head of his personal bodyguard force. The National Guard – with a force of as many as 400,000 – will be directly subordinate to Russia’s Commander in Chief (President Putin) once implementing legislation is passed. While the new troops are officially charged with combating terrorism, extremism, organized crime, and protecting the Russian border in coordination with the Federal Security Service, some political commentators speculate the force is intended to protect against massive unrest. Putin announced on the same day the transfer of the Federal Drug Control Service and the Federal Migration Service functions to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Legislation implementing the changes was signed into law in July 2016.
To summon an ambulance (Skoraya Pomosh), American citizens should dial 103.
Medical care in most localities is below Western standards due to shortages of medical supplies, differing practice standards, and the lack of comprehensive primary care. Facilities in Moscow and St. Petersburg with higher standards do not necessarily accept all cases. Access to these facilities usually requires cash or credit card payment at Western rates at the time of service. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at particular risk.
Elective surgeries requiring blood transfusions and non-essential blood transfusions are not recommended, due to uncertainties surrounding the local blood supply. Most hospitals and clinics in major urban areas have adopted the use of disposable IV supplies, syringes, and needles as standard practice; however, travelers to remote areas might consider bringing a supply of sterile, disposable syringes and corresponding IV supplies.
Contact Information for Available Medical Services
For routine medical care, we have compiled a list of medical service providers, which is available online.
Available Air Ambulance Services
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of medevac services in Russia. In the event of an emergency, they will work with nearby providers to facilitate a medical evacuation.
Travelers should purchase medical insurance that covers medical evacuation via air ambulance and that will reimburse for medical treatment provided in Russia. The U.S. Social Security Medicare Program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs in Russia.
Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance
Travelers should consult EPA and CDC guidance for information on coping with air pollution. The CDC recommends all travelers have current routine vaccinations as well as hepatitis A, and some travelers should be inoculated against hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, and/or rabies.
The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Russia.
OSAC Country Council Information
The Moscow Country Council currently meets several times a year and has approximately 25 members. Please contact OSAC’s Europe team with any questions or to join.
U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information
Embassy Address and Hours of Operation
Bolshoy Deviatinskiy Pereulok No. 8
Consular Section Address
Novinskiy Bulvar, No. 21
Hours of Operation: The Embassy is open Mon-Fri from 0900-1800., except on American and Russian holidays.
Embassy Contact Numbers
Embassy Switchboard – +7-495-728-5000
Regional Security Office – x6040
Marine Security Guard – x6666
American Citizen Services – x5577
Economic Section – x5179
Political Section – x5030
U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg: http://stpetersburg.usconsulate.gov/
U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok: http://vladivostok.usconsulate.gov/
U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg: http://yekaterinburg.usconsulate.gov/
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a secure online travel registration that allows U.S. citizens to record foreign trip and residence information that the Department of State can use to communicate and assist enrollees in case of an emergency. STEP allows U.S. citizens to register and update their contact information on the Internet at any time, making it easier to keep contact information current. The site also provides up-to-date travel information customized to the enrollee’s unique travel agenda and itinerary. The data that is entered is secured behind Department of State firewalls, accessed only by cleared personnel in Embassies, Consulates, and the Department of State, and releasable only under the provisions of the Privacy Act. If you encounter any difficulties or have any questions about the STEP travel registration website, please send an email to CAIbrs@state.gov.
Russia Country Information Sheet