Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

We must preface this article with some sobering facts. Escalating tensions between the United States and Russia have prompted the US Department of State to issue its highest warning to Americans not to travel to the country at all. Any city could become the most dangerous city in Russia if things take a turn for the worst. Likewise, the places we list here can change rapidly.

The warning explicitly addresses the risk of kidnapping, civil unrest, and terrorism. Unfortunately, the threats don’t just exist with the citizens but with government security officials, too. Bear in mind that the US government may only be able to offer transportation options and not a means to evacuate the country.

Crime data that would provide the factual information to support our list isn’t as easy to obtain, given the size of Russia and the number of cities. People may be reluctant to report an offense in certain areas, further complicating matters. Our figures include the latest available data.

divider 1

The 23 Most Dangerous Cities in Russia: A Quick Look

Russia is the largest country in the world, with a mainly urban population. Non-violent crime is the most common type, with fraud and theft leading the list. Interestingly, most perpetrators aren’t kids but adults between 30–49. That may explain some of the other types present in the country, including terrorism and kidnapping.

Fortunately, 42% of crime isn’t particularly severe. Russia has also seen a dramatic drop in homicides since 2002. Nevertheless, offenses against tourists and foreigners make travel in this country problematic, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the area or its hazards.

1. Moscow

Image Credit: opsa, Pixabay
Population: 10,381,222
Level of Crime: Moderate to high
Safety During Day vs. Night: 81.40 (high) vs. 54.49 (moderate)

Not surprisingly, Russia’s capital city Moscow starts off our list of the most dangerous cities in the country. Violent crime has declined in recent years. However, we have some skepticism about the validity of these figures, given the population size. Safety is in numbers. Nevertheless, it’s wise to look out for scams and other offenses that target tourists.

2. Khimki (Moscow Oblast)

Population: 239,967
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 50.00 (moderate) vs. 43.75 (moderate)

Khimki isn’t a place where people feel safe walking the streets either during the day or night. It’s located northwest of Moscow, the country’s largest city. That site is the proverbial double-edged sword. While it brings revenue to the town, it also explains the very high level of corruption. Drugs and theft are the primary crime issues.

3. Lyubertsy (Moscow Oblast)

Population: 154,650
Level of Crime: High
Safety During Day vs. Night: 56.25 (moderate) vs. 12.5 (very low)

Crime is high in Lyubertsy and is likely to continue on this path. It was also a working-class town that suffered from closures. Organized crime also has a presence that has fueled the problems. Vehicle theft, drug trafficking, and vandalism remain high. Surprisingly, violent offenses are lower than those involving property. Nevertheless, the proof is in the numbers with the low safety rating at night.

4. Chelyabinsk (Chelyabinsk Oblast)

Population: 1,062,919
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 75.00 (high) vs. 33.55 (low)

Chelyabinsk has a long industrial history that also played a role during World War II. It sits in the rain shadow of the Ural Mountains, which influences its climate. The city offers a wealth of cultural attractions with sporting events, parks, and several higher education facilities. Crime is moderate but has been increasing. Drugs, theft, and robberies pose the greatest threats.

5. Shakhty (Rostov Oblast)

Population: 221,312
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: n/a

Shakhty is a working city, getting its start in mining. The city has tried to rebrand itself and take advantage of other economic opportunities. Unfortunately, it’s been a hard road, with several dangerous areas in the town. That’s worth noting, given the size of the city. Its claim to infamy is its location as the site of serial killer Andrei Chikatilo’s homicides.

6. Rostov-on-Don (Rostov Oblast)

Population: 1,074,482
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 71.23 (high) vs. 40.57 (moderate)

Its location on the Don River has propelled Rostov-on-don’s economy and place in Russia. The industry in this city is diverse, which has boosted its position. Even the country has recognized its potential for much more. Unfortunately, its success has come at a price. Property crime is a significant issue with stolen vehicles, burglaries, and vandalism fueled by high corruption.

7. Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk Oblast)

Population: 1,349,772
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 77.90 (high) vs. 37.68 (low)

Yekaterinburg is a beautiful city and one of the largest in the country. It’s a strong economic driver in Russia, with a wealth of cultural attractions that make it a must-see tourist stop. That explains the types of offenses that prevail here, including vehicle theft, vandalism, and drug trafficking. Luckily, violent crime remains relatively low for a town of this size.

8. Ufa (Republic of Bashkortostan)

Population: 1,033,338
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 60.53 (high) vs. 35.96 (low)

Ufa has seen a significant uptick in crime in recent years. Violent and property crimes are issues in this industrial city. Unfortunately, that affects the quality of life because of the odor emitting from the factories. While it is business-friendly, there is also a high rate of corruption which can threaten this status. Burglaries are the primary offenses.

9. Sterlitamak (Republic of Bashkortostan)

Population: 267,231
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 75.00 (high) vs. 50.00 (moderate)

Sterlitamak is located about 75 miles from Ufa, which may explain some of the crime influences. Its primary economic driver is the chemical industry. While violent crime is relatively low, property offenses, such as theft and burglaries, are higher. That isn’t surprising, given its location. The town is well-served with public transportation with its size. However, drugs and vandalism threaten its safety perception.

10. Novosibirsk (Novosibirsk Oblast)

Population: 1,419,007
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 74.43 (high) vs. 34.88 (low)

Novosibirsk stands out as being more tolerant of other races and genders than many Russian cities. Nevertheless, while crime is moderate, it has been inching upward in the last three years. It’s evident in the difference between individuals’ safety perceptions during the day versus night. The other red flag is the very high rate of corruption and bribery that can affect different offense rates.

11. Kazan (Republic of Tatarstan)

Population: 1,104,738
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 86.88 (high) vs. 57.32 (moderate)

Kazan is another outlier on the crime front. It’s the largest city in its federal subject. It’s a visitor-friendly place with several public transportation options. That explains the higher safety perceptions. It also has several iconic cultural attractions that bring in tourists. The primary problems are corruption and bribery, a common theme in larger cities. It also leaves open the possibility of other crime issues.

12. Naberezhnye Chelny (Republic of Tatarstan)

Population: 509,870
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: n/a

Naberezhnye Chelny is a transportation hub, which helps account for its crime. It also is on the tourist circuit, bringing another source of transient traffic into the town. Property offenses are the main issues without the higher rate of violent crime you often see in larger cities. It has followed the trends evident in many places in the country and continues to rise at a steady pace.

13. Saint Petersburg (Northwestern Federal District)

Saint Petersburg
Image Credit: TFourlive, Pixabay
Population: 5,028,000
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 81.42 (high) vs. 52.61 (moderate)

Saint Petersburg is one of the tourist meccas of Russia. It is the second largest city. It’s known for its architecture and parks. It’s an excellent place to learn about the country’s history. However, property crime is the biggest concern here, with moderate increases in the past three years overall. Corruption and bribery are unusually high, putting them on our radar for places to watch.

14. Ulan-Ude (Buryatia)

Population: 360,278
Level of Crime: High
Safety During Day vs. Night: 56.25 (moderate) vs. 25.0 (low)

Ulan-Ude is an anomaly on our list, not being open to foreigners until 1991. Unfortunately, that change is a factor in the safety of this cultural town with lots to offer visitors. Crime is high in Ulan-Ude, with moderate increases in recent years. Car theft is the primary threat in property crimes. Even the stuff inside of your vehicle can get lifted.

15. Blagoveshchensk (Amur Oblast)

Population: 221,296
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: n/a

Blagoveshchensk is located in the far eastern portion of Russia near China. Even though it is relatively remote, crime is still on the front burner, with a surprising amount of offenses in proportion to its size. It has a history of clashing with its neighbor, which fuels what you may see today. Nevertheless, its ties with China are cemented by trade.

16. Grozny (Chechen Republic)

Population: 226,100
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 60.0 (high) vs. 55.0 (moderate)

Grozny isn’t as dangerous as many of the cities on our list. However, it stands you for its relatively high amount of violent crime, particularly robberies and assaults. Unfortunately, they both have seen an uptick in recent years. It’s worth pointing out the narrow difference in safety perception when walking in the city during the day and night.

17. Kemerovo (Kemerovo Oblast)

Population: 477,090
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 80.0 (high) vs. 40.0 (moderate)

Kemerovo is a coal-mining town, which undoubtedly plays a role in crime when you consider how dangerous the profession is. The economy has suffered from the transition from the Soviet Union. It’s a story played out in many places in Russia. While many types of crime are low or moderate, drug trafficking is high and may have a larger negative impact in the future.

18. Volgograd (Volgograd Oblast)

Population: 1,011,417
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 68.27 (high) vs. 27.88 (low)

Volgograd has a history, having been called Stalingrad at one time. That speaks to its political position in the country. Industry reigns superior in this city, with several manufacturers in the area, including oil refining and shipbuilding. Crime has seen a moderate increase in recent years. Property offenses have seen an uptick, pushing them to a high level. Corruption and bribery are also on the radar.

19. Khabarovsk (Khabarovsk Krai)

Population: 579,000
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 76.67 (high) vs. 53.33 (moderate)

Khabarovsk is located in the far eastern reaches of the country, bordering China. It has an ancient history that goes back centuries. It’s an industrial town that is strategically sited along the Trans-Siberian Highway. Despite its remote site, it has seen tourist trade. Property crime is the main issue here, with vandalism and burglaries higher on the list and increasing. Not surprisingly, corruption is also a problem.

20. Perm (Perm Krai)

Population: 982,419
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 74.00 (high) vs. 36.00 (low)

Perm is home to several industries, including fertilizers and petroleum. Manufacturing has attracted many people to this river town. Crime is moderate but has seen increases in recent years, primarily in property offenses. Robberies and assault are significant problems, explaining the differences in safety perception. Drug trafficking also plays a role.

21. Omsk (Omsk Oblast)

Population: 1,129,281
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 79.76 (high) vs. 58.33 (moderate)

Omsk is a transportation hub for both river and railroad traffic. However, its primary issues exist with organized crime and the subsequent corruption that inevitably follows. Drug trafficking is also an issue, reflecting its position on the transportation front. Omsk attracts tourism with its many cultural attractions. That explains its rates of theft and vandalism.

22. Saratov (Saratov Oblast)

Population: 863,725
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: 78.57 (high) vs. 33.93 (low)

The good news is that violent crime is low in Saratov. The bad news is that property and violent offenses are problems. It’s worth noting that the public perception is that it’s a corrupt town. Given this city’s strong economy and cultural significance, it’s a shame. It has an active sports presence with several higher education institutions.

23. Kyzyl (Southern Russia)

Population: 108,240
Level of Crime: Moderate
Safety During Day vs. Night: n/a

Kyzyl is another outlier on our list. It’s not a tourist hub, so the crime is homegrown. Violent offenses are the primary concern, although the rate has dropped in recent years, like in many cities in Russia. Visitors are likely to stand out and attract attention. Its claim to fame is its religious significance. Anecdotal references call it “Russia’s most dangerous city.”divider 1

How to Stay Safe in Russia

It’s imperative to stay up to date with the US Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Americans traveling abroad can also stay current with the Task Force Alert system. Staying informed is the single best thing you can do as a tourist to Russia. The agency also maintains a website of high-risk areas that reflect the changing situation in the country.

If you’re going to travel to any of these dangerous areas, it’s essential to have a plan before you embark. Know where to find help if you need it before a situation takes a turn. Many athletes learned a lesson at the 2022 Winter Olympics not to bring their electronic devices. While it’s still critical to have one, it’s equally vital to make sure that you have nothing on it that could provoke violence.

Alcohol and drug-related crime has been and continues to be a significant issue in Russia. Another concern is the number of scams often targeting unwary tourists. There are the ones you’ll find in any large city, such as the infamous taxi scams. It’s worth noting that crime stats for many areas show a significant disparity between how safe people felt walking during the day or at night.

Like many Europeans, the Russian people are often more soft-spoken than Americans. Many don’t tolerate public drunkenness because of the harm it has done to many societies. It’s something to keep in mind when dining out or visiting the clubs. Staying aware of your surroundings is imperative, as many attacks occur without warning. Remember that there’s safety in numbers, too.divider 1


Crime in Russia is a matter of contrasts. While violent and property crimes are prevalent in some areas, there’s also the added risk of terrorism. Foreigners are often targets, which puts crime at an entirely different level. Our advice is to consult the US Department of State travel advisories whenever traveling abroad. You’ll have access to the current status in a country with tips on how to stay safe.

Featured Image Credit: designerpoint, Pixabay

The post 23 Most Dangerous Cities in Russia (2022 Update) appeared first on House Grail.

Similar Posts