Russia Public Announcement
Issued by US Department of State
Oct 27, 2004
This Public Announcement is being issued to alert American citizens traveling or living in Russia that recent incidents of terrorism within Russia have highlighted the continued risk of terrorist activity. There remains a heightened potential for terrorist actions, including attacks against civilians. This situation is likely to continue for some time. Since August 24, 2004, Russia has experienced several terrorist incidents. This supercedes the Public Announcement of September 3, 2004 and expires on March 31, 2005.
On August 24, two airplanes departing from Moscow to cities in southern Russia crashed within minutes of each other. The cause of the crashes, which claimed 90 lives, has been identified as explosives onboard the planes. On the same night, an explosion at a bus stop in Moscow injured several people. On August 31, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb outside a Moscow metro station killing ten people and injuring several dozen more.
On September 1, a group of terrorists believed to have links with Chechen separatists, seized a school in the Russian republic of North Ossetia, holding hostage over 1,200 students, parents and teachers. Over 300 hostages died.
Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage taking, have occurred in large Russian cities over the last several years. Bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, residential complexes, and on public transportation.
The Department of State notes that Chechen separatist elements have issued a new statement threatening attacks against Russian and U.S. interests. In addition, there is a general risk of an American citizen being an unintended victim of an indiscriminate terrorist attack. American citizens traveling or living in Russia are advised that the potential for terrorist actions, including actions against civilians, is high and likely will remain so for some time. American citizens in Russia should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices. Americans are urged to remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation. Americans should consider alternate forms of ground travel other than the metro if possible, especially during peak hours of usage. When going via train, plane or bus, travelers may wish to provide a friend or coworker a copy of any travel schedule. Americans should avoid large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. Travelers should also exercise a high degree of caution and remain alert when patronizing restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, bars, theaters, etc., especially during peak hours of business.
Due to continued civil and political unrest throughout much of the Caucasus region, the Department of State already warns U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all areas that border it: North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya and Kabardino-Balkariya. United States government personnel are prohibited from traveling to these areas, and American citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately as the safety of Americans and other foreigners cannot be effectively guaranteed.
American citizens living in Russia or traveling there are strongly urged to register with the embassy or nearest consulate general. Registration will allow the embassy to provide direct information on the security situation as necessary. Information on registering with the embassy can be found at the embassy web http://www.usembassy.ru or at the department of states consular affairs website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/abroad_registration.html.
As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its consular information program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328.