Is Traveling To Russia Less Safe Today Than It Was A Month Ago?

There were some news flashes today that traveling to Russia is dangerous and the authorities don't recommend it.

More precisely - "Football fans should “think twice” about travelling to the World Cup in Russia this summer as consular services are threatened by the diplomatic crisis between Vladimir Putin and the west, a senior White House official has warned." - source. Then the unnamed Trump official went on to suggest that they might even have difficulties dealing with the regular consular affairs due to the  lack of consular support (Russia expelled a bunch of Western diplomats recently in the retaliation for the Western countries' expulsion of Russian diplomats). That was today's big news.

I was born during the Cold War, I don't like the current state of West-Russia international relations in the slightest, but let's examine this news update and see if anything in fact changed in the past few weeks since the current international row over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England has started in early March of 2018 - and how it affects travelers for the World Cup 2018 in Russia.

 

World Cup Central US Travel advisory Russia
The U.S.

U.S. State Department advisory hasn't changed since January.

World Cup Central Australia Travel Advice
Australia

Official advice:
High degree of caution.

World Cup Central Ireland Travel Advice Russia
Ireland

Security status:

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution.

World Cup Central UK Travel Advice Russia
The UK

"remain vigilant, avoid any protests or demonstrations and avoid commenting publicly on political developments"

U.S. State Department advisory hasn't changed since January

As of today the State Department hasn't changed its advisory, it stays at Level 3 - "Reconsider Travel" - due to terrorism and harassment. 

Is it serious? Yes it is. Are the risks legitimate? Yes they are. Are they new? No they are not.

Is the State Department worried that it won't be able to assist to Americans visiting Russia after the Russians expelled 60 US diplomats? If yes - not enough to change their Advisory after that.

Some other countries with Level 3 "Reconsider Travel" Advisory:
British Virgin Islands, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Turkey. Full list here.

 

Australian government official advice - High Degree Of Caution

That is - not even "Reconsider". Their Latest Advice is of March 31st 2018. see here

 

Government of Ireland

Official advice - "High Degree Of Caution". Last change March 23rd, current as of April 9th.

 

The United Kingdom

Official advice for the most of the Russian territory (except areas depicted in red and orange color on the map) - "to remain vigilant, avoid any protests or demonstrations and avoid commenting publicly on political developments." Updated March 27th 2018, still current at April 10th.

 

The summary: nothing has fundamentally changed today nor in the last few days. In fact - none of those 4 governments seems to increase their warning level due to expulsion of their diplomats from Russia.

Is the political crisis a bad thing? Yes it is. Does the international travel require a high degree of caution and vigilance? Yes it does. Do you have to be prepared for the travels? Yes! Do your research, check official sources, get travel insurance. Always double-check what you hear on the news (that's my rule, anyway).

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