Sunday, June 16, 2013

Russia: Israeli Ambassador to Russia Victim of Street Crime in St. Petersburg

According to RIA Novosti, MOSCOW, the unnamed Russian ambassador to Russia was the victim of a street robbery at mid-day on Saturday (June 15). Stolen was a portfolio that contained 12,000 rubles (US$400), a diplomatic card and a bank card.

The  criminal shortly thereafter made a cash withdrawal using the bank card in the amount of US$2,500.

The incident occurred while the ambassador was visiting St. Petersburg as a tourist.

COMMENT: Most Israeli ambassadors are provided close-in protection provided by armed security escorts. Thus, it is strange that the ambassador would be permitted to travel alone to St. Petersburg, considering that criminal and terrorist threats never "take a holiday."

Another lesson-learned stemming from this incident is that all travelers should arrange with their banks to prevent street criminals from making more than a small daily withdrawal (e.g. US$200-300), thereby minimizing large losses.

Appropriately, Israel's internal security apparatus is designed to avoid undo attention to its senior diplomatic staff, particularly in newspapers.