January 01, 1997

How Safe is Russia?

In recent years, the issue of crime in Russia has become something of a cliche, with images of armed robbery, gangland warfare and hired assassins clouding the minds of many frightened would-be visitors. We asked Russian Life Managing Editor Robert Greenall to cut through the media hype and sensation and find out what foreigners really need to do to feel secure in Russia.

At 5 PM on Sunday, November 3, American businessman Paul Tatum was gunned down from above as he entered an underpass near Moscow’s Kievsky metro station. He died on the way to hospital.

The incident was one of the worst nightmares imaginable for Moscow’s foreign community. One of its prominent figures had been slaughtered in the late afternoon in a very public place, while surrounded by bodyguards (who themselves escaped unharmed). His business was one of many promising Western joint ventures with Russian partners which had gone sour. But while many other businessmen in similar positions had fled the country when they sensed a threat, Tatum had stayed to fight, and took on his partners in a Stockholm court. As a result, one of the uglier phenomena of Russian crime in the 1990s, contract killing, claimed its first American victim.

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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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