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is it safe to go to Russia?
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kimeos



Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:59 pm    Post subject: is it safe to go to Russia? Reply with quote

Hello

Very recently turned down a good (apart from the money) job offer in Moscow because of all the recent violence
Still, I wonder if I did the right thing. Any thoughts?

Confused
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Veritas_Aequitas



Joined: 15 Jul 2004
Posts: 88
Location: Jalisco, Mexico

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did you get the job offer, if you don't mind me asking?

Just so you know, any big city's reputation of danger is usually undeserved, just adhere to common sense rules, and you should be fine.
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kimeos



Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found the job on tefl.com

its not the 'dangerous big city' reputation of Moscow that put me off, but the repeated terror attacks there which also reminded me of the attacks last year (theatre, metro, etc) Whats more, I am not impressed by Putin's 'international terrorism' rant Question
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bobs12



Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 310
Location: Saint Petersburg

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd tell anyone to avoid Moscow at the moment. Russia on the whole is no less safe than usual, but Moscow ain't so good. A friend of mine was in Moscow at the time of the last metro bombing- he went through that station just a couple of hours before the explosion. It's all a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The violence is not going to end in a hurry. A student on the same course that brought me here was in the Nord-Ost theatre in Moscow. His father was the first guy to be let out as he had heart troubles. No-one will ever get any more information about what happened out of him.

Funny story- I was also in Moscow, watching the news, amazed but not overly disturbed. Our student rep called from Saint Petersburg in a total flap (the guy was a total woose, I think he still has the job which is hilarious. Couldn't put out a fire in a bathtub) hysterically telling me about the student in the theatre nd telling me not to set foot on the street and giving me more God Blesses than I'd had in my entire life.

Later that evening it struck me that the event would be on international news, and that my family, not knowing anything other than that I was in Moscow, would be worried sick, especially if they knew there was a UK student trapped inside. Shocked I called and spoke to my mum, who calmly enquired as to whether I'd been following events on the news. Perplexed, I asked, "Weren't you worried about me?"

"Of course not, we knew you were safe," came the reply, "when were you last in a theatre?" Rolling Eyes



Seriously, come to Saint Petersburg. It's a nicer place on all counts and a much easier start to a spell in Russia. Moscow is really the deep end. I will soon have a pretty useful resource for jobseeking here. Stay tuned.
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kimeos



Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

many thanks for your info and advice, I had actually planned to go to St Petersburg but the job offer I got was for Moscow. I will stay tuned for job opportunities in St Petersburg, apparently its more "European" in outlook and more beautiful Wink
apparently, judging from your mums comments, you wouldnt know much about the theatrical events there, but I have the impression that its got quite a vibrant scene
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bobs12



Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 310
Location: Saint Petersburg

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my friends is an actor, very well-known locally. Girls give him flowers in the street. Not kidding, seen it happen. I've seen quite a few of his performances, I have other friends in the academy where he studies, and I can tell you that they are top-notch. Cabaret is a real treat, as is drinking on the roof of the theatre Smile

Saint Petersburg is a lot nicer than Moscow. It's not just nicer, it's a different world. You just have to come and see for yourself.
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Castro



Joined: 14 May 2003
Posts: 57
Location: still Russia

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it safe to go to Russia?

No, of course it isn't. And it isn't safe to go to London either. Or any capital city in Europe. Or Latin America. Or Asia. Or Africa. Or just about anywhere in the USA. In fact it's not really safe to go anywhere vaguely interesting.

Maybe that sounds glib or facetious, or maybe it depends on your definition of safe.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't really understand why people would be interested in travelling beyond the corner shop in the first place if they were not willing to relinquish at least in some measure the comforts and security of Western life. As I said, though, the reputation of Western countries (especially English-speaking ones) as 'safe' is looking increasingly flimsy in the post-September 11th world.

Now it's not that I can't understand the concern. Obviously nobody wants to get blown up. Statistics may be able to show anything, but a small dose now and again does the sense of proportion no harm at all. Look at the figures regarding victims of terrorist attacks and you'll find that you have more chance of being struck by lightning. And winning the lottery. In the same week. Twice. Then look at the figures for road accidents (or cancer if you're a smoker). Draw your conclusions.

I was in London during the IRA campaign in the 1990's. I was at Canary Wharf when the bomb went off. I also missed the first Soho nail bomb by 5 minutes at most.

Moscow has been better from that point of view. My journey to work didn't take me past the National Hotel until at least 45 minutes after the suicide bombing there, and I was a whole metro stop and a half (along the same line) away from the last metro bomb when that went off.

It could be that I'm either charmed or jinxed, but I have worked here for a year now (this time round, which is not my first) and can honestly say that I feel safer travelling to work and walking the streets here than I would feel leaving a London pub at closing time almost anywhere south of the river.

As far as work is concerned, not a single lesson at any of our schools was cancelled, not a single teacher missed a day. Life goes on, as it does everywhere.
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kimeos



Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fair point about statistics Castro, especially the comparison with South London or even Soho, where my sister had been working at 'The Coach and Horses" at the time.
I wouldnt have left Moscow if I'd been there and had any sort of life there, but would one [i]choose[/i] to go there, not knowing the place or having a friend to guide him on what the reality is. I mean, I know someone who visits Tel Aviv often, but he never ever never takes the bus, he is driven around by his business partner
also, I could say that the 'life goes on' motto sounds to me a bit worrying in itself, given that over the last 2-3 years unbelievably ferocious and vicious repeated attacks have taken place, mostly claiming the lives of the poor, and Putin is still able to wage on his Chechnya war virtually unchallenged from within, so that the oligarchic likes of Abramovich can splurge their oil money on Hernan Crespo- at least thats how I see it
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angstrom



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I have to agree with you, Kimeos. I've been here for 10 months now, and although I love Moscow with all my heart, I am in a way relieved that my contract is ending and I'll be off to greener pastures next week. The thing about living in Moscow is that even though nobody talks about it or shows any kind of fear, it's still lurking out there, the thought that you might never make it out of the metro, and that's additional stress that you don't need. So I think you did the right thing. If you're gonna go to a a new country, the last thing you want is stressful situations.
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Trojan Horse



Joined: 30 Dec 2003
Posts: 61
Location: Europe

PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Angstrom,

Sorry to hear you're leaving. I'll miss reading your website. Where are you off to next?
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zaneth



Joined: 31 Mar 2004
Posts: 545
Location: Between Russia and Germany

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the stress is always there. I can't help myself thinking about it every time I'm on the metro. That's why they call it terrorism. That's the whole point. Not necessarily the killing people directly, but causing the great masses of people to feel fear on a regular basis. Kill a small number of people, cause far larger numbers of people to experience an additional nagging stress.

And it works.

Now if I could just stay in the village all the time I'd feel pretty safe. But the metro (and airplanes) will probably be a continuing part of my life in Russia. It's been pretty tough for me seeing the news from Russia while I've been on vacation in the States.
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bobs12



Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 310
Location: Saint Petersburg

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely right. That's the whole point of terrorism and a big 'advantage' of guerrila warfare. It's not to do with numbers or killing, but disruption and destrying morale. The more random the violence, the more effective. I once met some ETA supporters back home, they took great pride in their work, claiming that their aim was not to cause death, but rather destruction and panic. Judge that for yourselves though.

I bet everyone has a small dark corner in their mind where they'd like to be in a village right now, which is what the terrorists want. I hope to take my girlfriend for a trip home soon, there is no way we're flying out of Moscow.
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Castro



Joined: 14 May 2003
Posts: 57
Location: still Russia

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you are right about panic.
it's their aim which they actually reached.
but for couple days. no longer.
first days all people in metro looked suspicious.
scared and scary at once.

now I do not see it anymore. Surprised
yeasterday I saw left bag in metro ( Question ).
looked like it was left intentionally.
but did anybody care?
NO. NO one. Surprised
I even asked people around aren't you scared? Question
they were like Shocked ups
they didn't even notice Exclamation
and then: No, it's ok. I'm sure it's empty. Very Happy

i'm not mental about it anymore.
if someone is he/she notice "the bag".
but you are right it's not a village where life is still .. like on a picture. Smile
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zaneth



Joined: 31 Mar 2004
Posts: 545
Location: Between Russia and Germany

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che Guevarra wrote an interesting book called "On Guerilla Warfare" which describes quite clearly the strengths, weaknesses, and aims of this type of fighting. Not very long and quite readable, it's a sort of 'Guerilla Warfare in a nutshell' from the guerilla's point of view.

From Che's point of view, the support and goodwill of the local populace was absolutely essential. The guerillas were operating on home territory, more or less.

The hit and run tactics were directed at the (better equiped) government army, with the aim of terrorizing them, picking off soldiers, stealing supplies, and causing the army to waste energy and resources shifting things around and guarding a great many places. And to avoid giving them a target for their superior firepower.

It seems to me that terrorism is directed specifically at a civilian population, generally that of the enemy.
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jpvanderwerf2001



Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Posts: 1077
Location: New York

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Might I suggest Ukraine?
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