Travel Alert – Russia…

The U.S. State Department has issued this latest warning for U.S. Citizens and others traveling in Russia.  This information is available to GeoBlue plan members from the GeoBlue website daily…

Government Warning Issued for Russia

Government Warning Issued for Russia

Category: Unrest

Severity: 3 (Moderate)

Source: U.S. Department of State

07/31/2014 (Russia) – U.S. citizens presently in or considering travel to Russia should evaluate their personal security situation in light of current political tensions and the possibility of actions directed against U.S. citizens or interests.

Paratroopers’ Day

Saturday, August 2, 2014, marks the 84th anniversary of Paratroopers’ Day in Russia. The event will be celebrated in Moscow and throughout Russia. In Moscow, Paratroopers’ Day will begin with a ceremony at Suvorovskaya Square. Other locations for commemorative gatherings in Moscow include Alexandrovsky Garden, Gorky Park, Kievskaya Square, Pushkinskaya Square, Red Square, Victory Park at Kutuzovsky Prospekt, VVC Exhibition Center, and local markets. Participants will include current and ex-paratroopers wearing traditional light blue berets and light blue and white striped shirts, singing patriotic songs, and toasting their legacy.

Although the majority of these gatherings are jovial and peaceful, past years have witnessed incidents of violence instigated by ultranationalists and directed against foreigners, particularly Central Asians and those from the Caucasus region. Large-scale brawls and other incidents of public disorder have also been reported during previous Paratroopers’ Day celebrations.

Demonstration Advisory

Russian authorities have issued a permit for a rally/demonstration in support of Donbass to take place on Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm at the intersection of Olympic Prospect and Durov Street near metro station Prospekt Mira. As many as 10,000 participants have been authorized to gather.

The potential for confrontation cannot be ruled out. A larger-than-usual police presence will likely be evident in and around downtown Moscow to monitor the events. U.S. citizens should carry identification and present it if requested by legitimate authorities. You should also be aware of the possibility for counter-demonstrations or other spontaneous protest activity throughout the Moscow region and other urban areas of Russia. Such large gatherings may further cause significant traffic and mass-transit disruptions.

We also remind U.S. citizens to review the July 22, 2014 Russian Federation Travel Alert relating to events in Ukraine.

Please note the following guidance from the U.S. Department of State’s Country Specific Information for the Russian Federation: “U.S. citizens should avoid all public demonstrations, whether properly authorized by local officials or not, and avoid any large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures.”

U.S. citizens are reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

Copyright © 2014 U.S. Department of State

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