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Author Topic: Be Alert - You Could Be a Crime Victim in the FSU  (Read 7532 times)

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Online shakespear

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Be Alert - You Could Be a Crime Victim in the FSU
« on: September 08, 2010, 01:37:01 AM »
Had a small "incident" last night that might give the forum something to think about. 

I left my friends Donny and Greg at the table at one of our favorite watering holes about 2:45 and went to hail a gypsy taxi to head home.  In that process and with my limited Russian language skills, it is generally much easier to ask the driver to take me to Night Flight instead of trying to explain my residence address as my apartment is only 50 yards away from that establishment.  ALL the taxi drivers seem to know where Night Flight is :evilgrin0002:

I negotiated a fare and was walking to the cab when a guy who had obviously overheard my discussion with the cab driver approached me and asked why I was going to Night Flight and asking if I wanted to meet girls. I ignored him and continued walking but he continued to try to engage me in conversation. I had my wallet in my front left pocket and my camera in my back right pocket. As I was opening the car door, I felt him try to pickpocket me.  He reached for the camera and I knocked his hand away and then shoved him right in the chest which pushed him back about 10 feet.  At the same time in my loudest voice yelled, "You get away from me!" This startled him a bit and gave me a chance to get in the car and lock the door. Funny how the driver seemed to pretend nothing unusual at all was happening. As I was getting into the car I noticed two other guys who were trying to approach me from my blind side. I was inside safe in the car and the guy I'd pushed was now trying to open the door of the car and was pounding on the window cursing at me in Russian mat.  The driver calmly backed the car out on to the street and we speed away.

In hindsight, I think my alert and aggressive action, probably coupled with my physical size avoided what could have been an ugly outcome.   

I've been going to Russia for over 13 years and have been out late in the nightclubs literally hundreds of times and this is the first time I've had such an incident.  You may do well to read Andrewfi's story about his late evening account with street thugs in Tallinn.  My warning is that the FSU can be a dangerous place.  Don't engage people in conversation on the street, especially late at night.  Keep alert.  Don't leave clubs so drunk that you are not in fully aware of what is happening around you.  Late at night, avoid walking on streets alone. 
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun" - Katharine Hepburn

Offline kievstar

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Re: Be Alert - You Could Be a Crime Victim in the FSU
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2010, 08:13:06 AM »
I think it has more to do you were alone (you look like a foreigner) and 2:45 in the morning outside a bar.  Street robbers tend to target easy victims - alone, drunk, early in morning.  Does not matter the city in the world but a lot easier to target one person than two.  Walk around Chicago, Detroit, and New York at 2:45 in the morning alone and same thing will happen and does everyday.

Online shakespear

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Re: Be Alert - You Could Be a Crime Victim in the FSU
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2010, 08:21:41 AM »
I think it has more to do you were alone (you look like a foreigner) and 2:45 in the morning outside a bar.  Street robbers tend to target easy victims - alone, drunk, early in morning.  Does not matter the city in the world but a lot easier to target one person than two.  Walk around Chicago, Detroit, and New York at 2:45 in the morning alone and same thing will happen and does everyday.

Valid points, but in my case, this happended less than 30 feet from the well-lit enterance of a very popular night club , in plain sight of probably 10-15 Russian taxi drivers standing outside. 
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun" - Katharine Hepburn


Online shakespear

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Re: Be Alert - You Could Be a Crime Victim in the FSU- EPILOGUE
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 02:50:10 AM »
If something likes this ever happens to you when leaving a Moscow club, be sure to let the club management know about the incident.  It's certainly not good for business to allow the loyal customers of an establishment be subject to this form of abuse.  Believe me, they will do something about it. 

After-hours drivers outside of a nightclub are not so much different than drivers at the SVO airport.  They basically work with the permission and at the direction of some low-level mafia guy who works for some higher level mafia guy.  The bar/club managers through their "krisha" agree on a number of cabs that will exclusively serve their customers during the early morning hours right outside the entrance to the club/bar.  The low-level mafia guy acts as a supervisor, deciding which drivers will work that venue and then keeping track of how many rides each driver completes during the night and accordingly, how much "revenue sharing" needs to take place the next day.

Anyway, the day after the attack occurred, I told the General Manager of the club about the incident and he asked me to be available for a meeting early last evening.  At this meeting were the GM for the club, the Russian Manager of the Club, the low-level mafia taxi guy and myself.  I told what happened and the Russian Manager translated.  When I was finished, the GM made it clear to the cab guy that this type of behavior was unacceptable and that if he couldn't control the behavior of his drivers around his customers, then he'd have to discuss the situation directly with the cab guy's superiors.

The mafia-guy was apologetic, said he knew of some people who probably witnessed the event and that they would find out who the guy was and "handle it".  He also told me that he would guarantee I had no further troubles when leaving the club in the future.

Later that night about 3:30am after the OSU vs Miami game was finished, I headed home.  The mafia guy met me at the door and personally conducted me to a cab.  The driver offered to take me for free but I know the normal rate for that time was 300 pyb and I insisted on paying him that amount.

So, in summary, bar/club owners have an interest in making sure their customers are treated properly after visiting their establishment.  They certainly don't want to have a reputation that partons will get accosted, rolled or robbed when they leave the establishment late at night.  If you are a target for a criminal act, be sure to let somebody on the management staff know about it as soon as possible.

All's well that ends well . . . . . . . . . .               
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun" - Katharine Hepburn

Offline ChrisE

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Re: Be Alert - You Could Be a Crime Victim in the FSU
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2011, 08:33:25 AM »
 I sure wish things worked that well here in the states! I know of several incidents that have happened recently in my city, and the position of the club management is "Well, it wasn't inside the club, or on our property, so it's not our problem". The only places I know of here is the states that are relatively safe are the ones which are run by the Mafia in Chicago, or in a small area in Milwaukee where the Outlaws motorcycle club have their clubhouse. In either area, criminal activity is not tolerated and is dealt with harshly. Too bad the police here typically are no more than legalized petty criminals themselves and don't protect the public as well as the "real criminals".

Offline HeartInTheEast

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Re: Be Alert - You Could Be a Crime Victim in the FSU
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 03:58:53 PM »
I had more trouble in Milan than Kiev with stuff like this, at least I know how some things operate in Milan now and who not to trust. I missed out on a hot Brazilian chick by playing it cautious, I was paranoid I was being set up to be robbed.

Offline Uncle

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Re: Be Alert - You Could Be a Crime Victim in the FSU
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2012, 04:15:26 PM »
Good stuff to consider for any traveler, in any part of the world.  At least in this situation the proper actions were taken by vested individuals...

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