Travel Advice on Russia: Don’t Go!

TravelGraphic

The graphic above shows the results of a survey of international cities among tourists who have visited them by TripAdvisor.  It shows the worst-performing cities across a series of eight criteria ranging from friendliness of the locals to quality of shopping.

The Russian capital city of Moscow was the very worst in the world in five of the eight categories, second from worst in a sixth and third from worst in a seventh.  The only one of the eight categories in which Moscow wasn’t among the three most wretched nations on the planet was clean streets.  Moscow’s antithesis is Tokyo, which dominates the list of best-performing cities in same way Moscow dominates the worst.

According to Mastercard, Russia doesn’t have a single one of  the top 20 cities of the world for for either tourist arrivals or receipt of tourist dollars.  According to Euromonitor, Moscow ranks #25 in the world for tourist arrivals with less than 4 million per year, while Russia’s second city of St. Petersburg ranks #47 with 2.5 million arrivals. Compare that with Istanbul’s 8 million and Bangkok’s 11 million to see how totally pathetic Russia’s performance really is.

The United States has not one but three cities ranking in the top 20 for international tourist spending:  New York with $20 billion, Los Angeles with $12 billion and Miami with $9 billion.    Russia doesn’t have a single city that is a member of this group.

There’s a simple explanation for all this miserable failure, of course:  Russians hate foreigners, and don’t want them in their country.  In fact, many Russians don’t really want to be there either. Vastly more Russians leave Russia to spend time in foreign countries than foreign tourists arrive in Russia to spend time there.  Russians reject foreign values and they have built a homogenized society that rejects foreign people.  Russians simply don’t care that vast sums of money are squandered in this way, just as they don’t care that their nation is one of the most corrupt on the planet, wasting untold billions more on this folly.

Russia is plagued by horrendous official corruption, which make the police even more dangerous than Russian’s virulent criminals to tourists.  Russia doesn’t know the meaning of the phrase “customer service” and its cuisine is wretched.  Russia has terrifying risks of airline,  fire and highway disasters, and it is riddled with terrorist activity.  By contrast, Russia offers almost nothing in the way of blockbuster tourist attractions beyond a few museums loaded with looted art and a few unusual churches.

And by visiting Russia, tourists lend support to a venal, anti-democratic KGB regime that is obliterating basic Western values.

So the advice on travel to Russia is simple:  DON’T GO!

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Shocking Backwardness in Putin’s Russia

Vedomosti reported on February 14, 2013, as follows (original DR translation, corrections welcome):

Russians live in a constant shortage of municipal infrastructure.  For example:

  • Central heating  is lacking in 8% of homes.
  • About 11% of homes in cities nationwide do not have a water supply
  • There are no sanitation services in 12% of residences.
  • There is no hot water in almost 20% of homes.
  • Over 30% of urban housing has yet to be gasified.

For 10 years these figures have remained unimproved.  The general deterioration of the utilities sector infrastructure has reached 70%.

These were the conclusions of the Russian Union of Engineers (RCI), analyzing the state of housing in 164 cities across the country. It is easiest to cope with these troubles residents suburbs. Eight of the top ten cities for infrastructure, nine were Moscow’s satellite cities.

The eight cities were Lyubertsy, Pushkin, Krasnogorsk, Podolsk, Odintsov, Balashikha, Shchelkovo and Zhukovsky. Lyubertsy took first place in rankings; it has 14 kilometers of heating network and 16 kilometers of water and sewer network for every square kilometer of urban territory.  This is the highest result in the country. In total length of gas pipelines (12 km/sq. km) the national leader is Barnaul , where 1 square kilometer of the city has 53 km of gas networking. In second place in that category comes Pushkino, where one square kilometer of territory contains over 23 kilometers of such networks. Neither Moscow nor St. Petersburg made the top ten. Other cities showing good performance were Kaluga, Morom, Stary Oskol and Novoy Urengoy.

The worst cities in nation were Samara, Essentuki, Tyumen, Novokuznetsk  and Chita.  In some cities, the situation is close to critical, according to RCI. For example, in Leninsk-Kuznetsk and Essentuki  the deterioration of water and sewerage network is close to 90%.

According to Rosstat, on January 1, 2012 (data through January 1, 2013 has not yet been published):

  • 22.2 million Russians have inadequate heating
  • 29.2 million Russians have inadequate water supply
  • 34.9 million Russians have inadequate sanitation
  • 47.1 million Russians have inadequate hot water supply

Rosstat found that 28.3% of Russians must use supplemental heat sources to warm their homes, and 13.3% rely on their stoves alone.  27.5% of households have inadequate electricity supply, with 8% seeing power failures more than once per week.

The People of Russia do not Deserve Respect

Vladimir Putin’s performance of late has been so odious, so noxious, so repellent that even hardcore Russophiles are turning away in disgust.

Take the bitter, poisonous anti-Putin diatribe that recently issued from the pen of Vladimir Frolov, once one of Putin’s most ardent brown-nosers.  Frolov begins: “Perhaps a true measure of rulers’ distrust of their people is when they choose to be more frank with foreigners and rush to tell them what they are not in a hurry to communicate to their fellow citizens.” And then he gets nasty, condemning Putin’s conduct at the recent Valdai forum propaganda festival as a insult to the people of Russia.

But we rise to defend Mr. Putin!  Distrust of the Russian people — indeed, contempt for them — is a theme that runs consistently throughout Russian history. And why shouldn’t Putin have contempt for the people of Russia?

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