Amid an unprecedented level of concern about the threat of terrorism surrounding the Sochi Olympics, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Thomas Bach expressed "full confidence" in Russia's ability to deliver safe winter Games.
To protect next month's Winter Olympics, the Russian government has set up an aptly named "Ring of Steel" perimeter around Sochi. The secure zone, which is 60 miles long and 25 miles wide, will mean near-total surveillance of residents, visitors and athletes. Drones will be deployed in the skies, speedboats will patrol the coast and sonar will reportedly be used to detect submarines.
Fears of a terror attack have ramped up as the Olympics have gotten closer, particularly after two suicide bombers attacked public transport in Volgograd, killing 34 people and injuring dozens of others. Protecting visitors en route to the Games is of the utmost concern. The Sochi airport has limited direct flights from foreign cities, but does have daily flights arriving from Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Advice for Travelers
- Expect increased police presence and enhanced security measures in and around the Olympic venues.
- Be aware of your personal surroundings and follow good security practices; remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation.
- When traveling, you may wish to provide a friend, family member, or coworker a copy of your itinerary.
-Avoid large crowds in areas that lack enhanced security measures. Use caution in any areas where protests, demonstrations, or other public disturbances are taking place. Demonstrations intended to be peaceful can develop quickly and unpredictably, sometimes turning violent.
Criminal activity in Sochi is similar to other cities of comparable size. However, major events such as the Olympic Games are a prime opportunity for criminal elements to target tourists
- Avoid carrying large amounts of money or other valuables.
- Since cash may be the only accepted form of payment outside Olympic venues, consider keeping money in a hotel safe or dividing money and placing it in several different locations on your person.
- Purses, wallets, cell phones, and electronics should be secured while traveling on buses, trains, or other forms of public transportation.
- Only use marked taxi services and prearrange transportation through hotel concierge or other reputable services whenever possible.
- Photocopies of passports, visas, credit cards, and other important documents should be kept in a secure location so proper notifications can be made if original documents are lost or stolen.
For an in depth guide to the Sochi Games, click the link below for a downloadable PDF:
< a href="http://www.assistamerica.com/sochi.aspx">www.assistamerica.com/sochi.aspx
The guide includes:
- Security Information: security measures in Sochi, prohibited items
- Necessary Travel Documents
- Transportation Information: To Sochi, airline restricted items, travel within Sochi
- Health & Safety: dressing appropriately for the weather, evacuation procedures, local hospital information
- Communications: calling within Russia, calling local emergency responders
- Top 7 Tips for Spectators
- QR Codes to download the Assist America Mobile App for one tap contact with our 24 hour Operations Center