November 19th, 2009 02:14 AM
I was there for 2 years. I learned a few things while I was at it. Number one is that they know you are american. I disagree with anyone who says dress or act like a local. They can see it from a mile away. If you are capable of holding a stone cold expressionless face while walking around a foreign country you have a chance. But that is just on the face.
Blades are common over there. I was in moscow and the surrounding area, including belarus. They have legit stores where you can purchase knives of whatever sort you wish. Boker has a strong presence and you can find many a types of automatics. Keep them deep in your pocket, and you should be fine. If the police want to "find" you with something illegal, you haven't a chance anyways.
Assume every policeman is corrupt. It just saves time. I was deported out of belarus, and every ounce of "evidence" and reason they had to deport me was bogus.
Most people who you will have problems with are drunks, military people, and gypsies. The drunks are easy enough, they are usually plastered. Military is a different story. If they want a fight, they will have a fight. Be prepared to defend yourself and family if needed. Gypsies are nasty, steer clear. Don't bring anything of value in sight and keep track of those things you hold dear, including children, wallets, and wives. :)
Subways are nasty places for pick pockets. you'll be sardined into a car, so be ready to protect that which needs protecting.
I was jumped several times, held at gun point only a few times. The jumps were amateurs, easily dealt with. The gun points were either police or their cohorts, who were not in the position to shoot dead an american citizen, yet had to make their presence known.
I'm trying to think of the things that will help. If you known the language, make it known. A person who is harassing who he thinks is a clueless american will be in a different position when that clueless american happens to know a few tricks.
Passports are gold. We were told in '05 that the russian blackmarket price for an american passport at the time was in excess of 60,000 american dollars. I don't know where that number is from, but based on the people who tried to get to our passports, they have worth. Keep them on your person at all times. Make sure your "registration" aka your whereabouts is current. The major hotels take care of this in some form for you. Show the printout from the hotel to a police officer and he hasn't a thing on you. Overnight train tickets also count as registration, albeit you gotta be careful when they properly work. If there is anything they can snag you on the most it's their stupid registration. Just make sure your guide that you spoke of keeps you well current, and in the loop. If you are going without a proper form of registration for a period of time, make dang sure that you avoid all forms of government officials and policemen, as one look at a passport that doesn't have registration in it is enough for them to toss you in jail.
Russians are stone cold heartless. That is until you get to know them. I was there serving on behalf of my church. I can't put it better than it was the best and worst 2 years of my life. They truly are the hardest people in the world to understand. They see right through anything fake you may exude. Just be yourself. Smile. Let them know you are there and mean them no harm. They most likely will still hate you for various reasons ranging from being american and wealthy, to the fact that we are in iraq.(they seem to hate that fact) Once the ice is broken, they are the nicest warmest people that I've ever met. Don't betray any trust they give you, because you will not be able to win it back.
Anywho, that's pretty much my novel. Feel free to PM me and ask me whatever questions you may have. I'm no expert, but I did live there and was apart of that lifestyle for a while. Still am for that matter.
November 19th, 2009 02:43 AM
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .
November 19th, 2009 03:26 AM
I wouldn't carry in a strange place that was known to have corrupt law enforcement and officials. Or one which you're not an expert in the law and the legal process. But being that that legal system is overseen by unreliable people looking for bribes etc., I really wouldn't attempt it. Too dicey for me. Too easy to get ripped off or set up.
November 19th, 2009 05:08 AM
Range time + ammo: $50
Quality mother/daughter time: PRICELESS
December 2nd, 2009 03:48 PM
As long as you are coming back with a Russian bride they should treat you quite nicely!
December 2nd, 2009 04:17 PM
Just be polite. Treat the natives with courtesy, and show them how nice Americans can be. I'm sure it will be reciprocated. Have fun!
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
-- Benjamin Franklin
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