You must have been some time since you have been in
the Ukraine! Things have really changed here a lot
and it is a far cry from the Soviet days.
When I first went to Russia many years ago I was
very cautious to avoid the police and not to be
stopped by them and hassled. I was only hassled by
the police in Moscow and that was pretty regularly.
Even years ago I was never hassled by the police in
The Ukraine is EXTREMELY different than Russia.
In the last three years in Kiev they have built in
the very center three modern malls as well as
hundreds of ATM machines have appeared where there
are few before. The center of Kiev is not a very
modern and European city.
I have always highly suggested my clients stay only
in the safe center of Kiev. The very center area of
Kiev is very nice and westernized and you should not
have any problems. You can venture out into the
suburbs during the day if you're very confident or
you have a friend. But again, I HIGHLY suggest not
venturing out of the safe center of Kiev at night.
That being said, after living here for years I have
never had any problems or issues in Kiev, but I'm
always in the center. Even going home late at night,
such as two o'clock in the morning or later, walking
home alone and obviously being American I have never
had any problems.
The police have stopped me a total of three times
and this was always late at night and asked for my
documents. To me this is a normal duty of a police
officer and they always treated me very kindly and
respectful. After making sure everything was OK they
politely hand my documents back and I was on my way.
You should not fear or avoid the police here. Things
have changed a lot and it is no longer the Soviet
The Ukraine is probably the best place in the world
to show your wealth. You'll see more wealth
blatantly shown in any place on the earth. It even
goes so far as to judge you by the quality and
expense of your cell phone. The new fashion item
here are cell phones the cost several thousand
Again, that being said, I would agree and not
suggest showing too much money. Most people here can
see who is an American walking down the street.
Everyone knows I'm a foreigner. Most foreigners are
known to have large numbers of money on them but so
far except for the “money drop” no one has ever been
A very popular and frequent scam is the “money
drop”. You'll be walking down the street and someone
will plainly say to in English “wow look at this
money I found! Is it yours?”
In this scam a man appears to find money on the
streets and asks you if it yours. There are many
variations of the scam but things quickly
deteriorate. Many times he has a Confederate working
with him and sometimes even a false policeman. If
you interact with him or them you will quickly lose
your money! My advice to all my clients is to see
something extremely harsh such as “* off” and go
about your business. If you stop and interact with
them they will get your money!
Other that simple scam, which frequently happens, I
really have not seen or experienced any problems. I
am now knocking on wood and hoping that I have a
I didn't touch the questions about strange women in
your hotel room! That's a pretty obvious one and
there are always risks and activities like that