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Security Risks in Russia: How to Protect your People and Assets during the 2018 FIFA World Cup

In our increasingly dangerous and unpredictable world, the security efforts from Russian officials to combat potential threats at the 2018 FIFA World Cup are more rigorous than ever before.

The most prestigious event in football doesn’t just pose major safety concerns for the fans either, but to the organisations working or operating across Russia during the six week tournament. What’s more is that some of the decisions being made by the authorities in an attempt to protect people during the World Cup are consequently having a negative effect on business.

Representatives in Russia are confident that by hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup they will see a significant and long-term boost in the country’s economy. However, there are several restrictions now in place that could disrupt normal operations for many businesses throughout the world.

For example, the security measures include stringent restrictions on the selling and transportation of hazardous or explosive substances which could halt production in many industrial factories.

There is also a focus on the movement of vehicles around the 11 host cities, including limitations on bus, water and air within the vicinity of each stadium and the complete suspension of cargo transportation by sea and air on match days. These measures could potentially lead to delays in the delivery of goods and so companies who have links with suppliers in Russia or work directly with the country should take the necessary precautions to minimise the impact on day to day operations.

But the heightened security is, of course, crucial to ensuring that the real threats to businesses and travellers in Russia are dramatically reduced. So, what are the security risks in Russia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup?

Terrorism: The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia presents an enticing target for global terror groups. A combination of closely packed areas, multiple high value targets in close proximity and extensive media coverage ensures that any attack would be high profile. Radical Islamists of all stripes could be eager to target the World Cup to hurt Russia and gain significant traction in the international media.

It is claimed that the Russian military will protect 2018 FIFA World Cup host sites with an array of air defense missiles and other weapons, as well as squadrons of fighter jets standing ready to fend off any air attack. However, participating countries are more concerned about attacks from ‘lone-wolf’ terrorists rather than a coordinated large scale assault.

Hooliganism: The ‘militia-type’ Russian football hooligans are described as organised, armed and extremely violent. The hardcore hooligans each belong to a firm and have commonly undergone extensive MMA training. Amongst the various firms fierce rivalries exist but will eagerly collaborate with each other against opponents when the need arises as we saw during the 2016 European Championships in France.

According to officials, Russia has a “blacklist” of known hooligans who will be closely monitored during the World Cup. They’ve also banned anyone responsible for trouble in Marseille from attending. Although many of these firms include professional security guards and police officers, as well as having connections with the criminal world and far-right figures, including corrupt politicians. The LGBT community across the world, as well as ethnic minorities and English fans have already received threats from such groups.

Cyber Threats: Another potential security risk in Russia this summer is the possibility that criminals will target the large volume of travellers descending on the world’s largest nation over the coming weeks. There has already been a noticeable increase in cyber criminal activity leading up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup and is expected to continue throughout.

The latest reports suggest that Russian authorities will even hack into public wifi connections to monitor journalists and reporters. It’s recommended that where possible, workers and travellers alike should use a mobile hotspot rather than accessing public wifi, even in hotel rooms and official media centres.

Low-Level Criminality: From pickpockets to scammers, Russia has their fair share of petty criminals and foreign travellers are likely to be a target in the busy host cities of the FIFA World Cup. Keep your valuables close to you at all times and be aware of your surroundings especially in crowds and while on public transport.

As well as being exposed to a heightened risk of petty crime, Russia is also known for crooks posing as police officers. With the increased number of security and armed personnel commissioned to walk the streets and monitor the area, there’s also an elevated risk of falling victim to this kind of crime. Be wary of authorities asking to see your papers or ID, many will attempt to extort money from you while holding your items to ransom. Always ask for identification before handing over anything.


Educating your people on the security risks in Russia during the World Cup tournament is essential to uphold your duty of care, but with so many potential threats to your people and your assets during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it can be difficult to stay informed of the latest news.


Intelligence Fusion’s FREE Security Risk Analysis of the 2018 FIFA Russia World Cup includes a comprehensive evaluation of the current situation and possible dangers as well as providing advice and guidance on how to remain vigilant and manage risk when working or operating in Russia throughout the World Cup tournament.

Download free risk analysis of the 2018 Russia World Cup

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