Contents of the article
The recent announcement that the FIFA World Cup of 2018 will be hosted by Russia was met with many negative reactions from most people.
Let’s be honest, most of you are probably not very happy about it either. It is not hard to imagine why because Russia has been politically controversial over the past few years. Blame the Russians for everything, right?!
If you are a football fan yourself and have been worried about traveling to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, then we are here to alleviate some of those fears. I’ll give you a few tips on how to stay safe during the World Cup, things you should be aware of and if you should be afraid of the Russian hooligans.
Let me tell you the truth.
Living in Western countries people sometimes get a distorted view of the world because they only see it through the eyes of the media. That is why many Americans feel like Russia is not the safest place to travel and the country is full of violence and crime (it is untrue as Americans are welcome in Russia).
Believe me, you’ll probably feel safer in Russia than in your home country! Especially with everything that is happening in the world these days – Russia is actually becoming a safer place to be.
Even though it is not represented as such in Western media, Russia is a beautiful country with great people, fascinating cultures and a lot of amazing places. It is well-developed and has an excellent infrastructure in big cities.
Russia is well prepared to host the World Cup
With the upcoming World Cup, preparations have begun to welcome all the foreign tourists and football lovers with close attention to detail.
As proven with the Sochi Winter Olympics held in Russia, the country is capable of hosting highly prestigious international events complete with top-notch security.
The 2017 Confederations Cup which was like a warm-up prior to the 2018 World Cup was organized extremely well also.
I went to a few Confederation Cup games in Moscow and talked to some fans from Chile and Germany. They all were happy with how things are in Russia and they all wanted to come back again for the World Cup. I only heard fans complaining about the tickets price which has nothing to do with Russia being a host.
From the security point of view, the Confederations Cup went smoothly without major issues. The worst thing that happened to the visitors was a situation with a journalist from Chile who got scammed by a cab driver in Moscow. Previously, I already wrote a post with a warning about taxis in Moscow – make sure to check it out so you don’t make other peoples mistakes.
Will I get beat up by the Russian Hooligans?
If you are worried that some Russians may resort to violence as shown by the violent crimes of the Russian hooligans at the 2016 Euros in France, then you would be glad to know that the country is in the process of making it as secure as possible.
They are currently passing a law that dictates that any violent behavior from a fan or criminal behavior by any street gang members will be met with strict punishment.
In other words, these football hooligans will be completely shut down during the FIFA World Cup.
The 2018 World Cup is very important to Russia – they are invested a lot of money and resources to host the tournament. It is important to host as best as possible without any accidents. The government will do anything it takes to guarantee the safety of thousands of visitors from all over the world.
Do you really think that the Russians won’t be able to take care of the hooligans?! It’s silly, it’s not France! You won’t see or hear anything about the football hooligans while in Russia. I guarantee you!
Is it safe to go to the 2018 World Cup for black & gay people?
Football is a game that fuels passion in a lot of people which is why you would need to remember to not give in to any act of provocation from a fellow competitive fan as it may result in violence.
Westerners need to keep in mind that they will not be in a first-world country anymore so you should prepare yourselves for a massive culture shock.
The biggest difference that you hear from the media is discrimination aimed at sexual and racial minorities in Russia.
Well, I don’t exactly agree with that. Russia is safe to visit for black people and in general, Russians are friendly to people of color. Just so you know, there are thousands of black people living and studying in Russia and it is not something unusual.
The situation with LGBT is different. Yes, Russia is not LGBT-friendly but it doesn’t mean that a person can’t go there to enjoy the most popular game in the world. Russia is nowhere near as bad to LGBT-community as some Muslim countries where you can be sent to prison or even get a death penalty for being gay.
It’s totally safe to go to the 2018 World Cup if you are gay. Just don’t make out in public and you’ll be fine :).
If you are planning to travel to Russia the next summer, then these are the biggest things you should keep in mind.
Although there will be a high level of security continuously for the event and all the tourists, you should keep yourself around fellow tourists and be vigilant.
A country such as Russia does demand a certain open mind and patience to be able to deal with all the cultural differences and other controversial behaviors. You should also make sure to book a highly experienced guide who can take you on trips and tours that are conducted in a safe environment.
One advantage that Americans have is that their culture is very much admired by local Russians. You will find many very friendly Russians and they’ll try their best to impress you with their English-speaking skills :). In big cities, you’ll find a lot of people speaking English pretty well – like in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Not so much in smaller towns like Samara, Saransk, Volgograd or Kaliningrad.
In general, my best advice for you is to be friendly and positive to locals and they’ll treat you the same way.
It is safe to say that this World Cup will be a great opportunity for you to explore the biggest country in the world, which has some of the most impressive architecture and colorful culture out there.
I wish you to have a great time in Russia! You’ll love it there!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my other articles about the 2018 World Cup!