British football fans travelling to Russia need to stay vigilant

russia-2018-world-cupAfter the incident at the Euro 2016 in Marseille ( France ) England supporters heading to Russia for the World Cup have been warned to stay alert to “anti-British sentiment” and advised that Russian supporters could be more “emotional”.

fans travelling to the east of Europe have been told to “trust their instincts” to avoid being a victim of crime said the Football Supporters Federation ( FSF ).

The FSF, which has 500,000 members across England and Wales said that, the incident between England and russian supporters in Marseille during Euro 2016 and the heightened geopolitical tensions gives reasons to be vigilant while supporting the national team.

While the British embassy in Moscow said there hasn’t been any difficulties for British people travelling in Russia… ( football fans should ) stay vigilant to the possibility of anti-English or anti-British.

The FSF also said that “although same-sex sexual activity has been decriminalised in Russia since 1993, it is strongly recomended that you do not publicly display your sexuality, as still to this day russians are very sentsitive about this subject.

In 2017 Russia was ranked 48th out of 49 European countries for the protection provided from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity..

It has been advised to avoid areas such as Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, and other Muslim regions within the North Caucasus.

Racism is another area both the Foreign Office and Football Supporters’ Federation have drawn attention to.

The majority of visitors experience no issues, although unfortunately racially motivated attacks do occur.

Fifa World Cup Russia 2018

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What the Foreign Office says about terrorism

Moscow, St Peterburg and Russian aviation has seen large numbers of casualties
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks said the foreign office. Although these have mainly been in the North Caucasus region of Russia, attacks in other major cities and regions can’t be ruled out.

  • in April 2017, a suicide attack on the St Petersburg metro resulted in 15 deaths and many injuries
  • in October 2015, a Russian flight from Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai. Russian authorities stated the crash was caused by an explosive device on board the plane
  • in 2013, 3 suicide bombings targeted public transport in Volgograd
  • in 2011, 37 people, including a British national, were killed in a suicide bombing at Moscow Domodedovo airport.

Since December 2017, Russian security forces have disrupted several plots in major Russian cities, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Stavropol. These plots are reported to have targeted public transport and crowded places. Terrorist groups, including Daesh and al-Qaeda aligned groups, continue to call for attacks in Russia.

Before travelling

Check with your network operator whether your technology will work abroad and what costs are involved. It may be safer and cheaper to buy a pay-as-you-go phone​Make sure all your software and apps are up to date. If you are taking a laptop then make sure your antivirus is turned on

  • Turn on the ability to wipe your phone should it become lost. Ideally.
  • Make sure to save your data ( photos, video music, ect… ) and have a fresh memory card in case of theft or loss ( remember your phone can be wiped but not your memory card and you wouldn’t want someone getting hold of your private life )
  • Make sure your devices are password/passcode protected and use other security features, such as fingerprint recognition. Passwords/passcodes should be unique for each account and device
  • Many email and social media providers offer two-factor authentication. You should turn this on for important accounts; it makes it harder for other people to access your accounts
  • Never download apps from unofficial providers, either in the UK or abroad. Unofficial app stores cannot be trusted; there is no way of knowing if the app is genuine

Your normal streaming services (e.g. BBC iPlayer and Netflix) and online stores (e.g. iTunes, Google Play) might not work abroad. You should download films and books before you go. Do not use unofficial streaming sites as they might be untrustworthy

While abroad

  • Public and hotel Wi-Fi connections may not be safe; carefully consider what information you might be sharing when using these connections. Avoid internet banking abroad and implement the guidance above for all other accounts
  • Stay alert when using devices and don’t share your phone, laptop or USBs with anyone. Be cautious with any IT related gifts such as USB sticks. It is safer to not plug them in and to discretely dispose of them
  • Keep your devices with you at all times if possible rather than leave them unattended. Hotel rooms, safes and lockers are not always secure because other people may have access codes or keys
  • In March Russia’s ambassador to Britain told a press conference in the wake of the Salisbury poisoning that “all of the necessary measures are being taken” to ensure fans will be kept safe.
  • Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, warned that the expulsion of 23 staff from the British embassy in Moscow after the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, could impact its ability to cope with an increased workload during the World Cup.

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