Diversity Guide

General safety advice

For all travelling fans when in Russia

Frank May/Alamy

There’s been a lot of talk about safety at the upcoming World Cup and it can be difficult to know who to listen to. Follow these eight general guidelines to help ensure your trip passes as smoothly and safely as possible:

  • Get a local SIM card as soon as you arrive. If you can, take a second phone.
  • Avoid getting a taxi from the street, even if it is clearly marked as a taxi. Use taxi apps. UBER and Gett Taxi are available in many cities. The biggest local providers are Yandex and Taxovichkof.
  • Drinking alcohol in public is punishable with a fine up to 5 000 RUB or arrest for a period up to 15 days. You can also be deported for this. You can drink alcohol only at home or in a café, or in the designated official fan fests during the World Cup and in World Cup stadiums.
  • Smoking is banned within 15 metres from any train stations and airports, metro stations, and also inside stations and on passenger platforms, gas stations, playgrounds. It is also prohibited at sports facilities, beaches, hotels, shopping centres, cafes and public offices. As a rule, in places where smoking is prohibited (except for bus stops), there is a sign about it. Punishment is a fine of up to 3,000 RUB.
  • Do not wear symbols associated with drugs (for example, cannabis). This is punishable by a fine of up to 5,000 RUB or by arrest for a period of 15 days, as well as deportation for foreigners.
  • Organised violence at the World Cup is less likely than at other times. However, Russian fans in general might react negatively when they feel provoked by what they see as ‘inappropriate’ behaviour in public places, or when they feel their national symbols are being ridiculed. The line between verbal and physical response in conflicts is often very thin in Russia.
  • In simple terms: Be careful of the way you show support for your team in public places before and after matches. Drunken group singing is likely to draw the attention of over-zealous police officers and could be seen as provocative by local hooligans. Do not sing about topics such as fighting wars, or your opinion of the President, or about Russian women.
  • Try not to discuss politics with people you don’t know, and don’t ever offend the symbols of the Russian state. Steer clear of sensitive topics such as World War II. Most likely your Russian interlocutor will take it personally or as a criticism.