Support The Moscow Times!

U.S. Warns Its Citizens of Kidnapping Risks in Russia

Sergei Vedyashkin / Moskva News Agency

Americans traveling to some parts of Russia are at risk of being kidnapped, the U.S. State Department said in an updated travel advisory on Tuesday.

Russia was listed alongside Sudan and Niger as one of the most dangerous countries for U.S. travelers in the State Department’s new risk-based system in January 2018. Moscow dismissed the system — which upgraded Russia alongside Italy, Spain and France in December 2018 — as a scare tactic at the time.

“Do not travel to: The North Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, due to terrorism, kidnapping and risk of civil unrest,” the latest advisory reads.

The State Department notes that U.S. citizens “may become victims of harassment, mistreatment and extortion” at the hands of Russian officials, citing past cases of arbitrary interrogations or detentions.

“Russian authorities arbitrarily enforce the law against U.S. citizen religious workers and open questionable criminal investigations against U.S. citizens engaged in religious activity,” the diplomatic office says.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.