Moscow’s Pacification

Moscow’s Murder Rate Now Lower Than “Prestigious” London’s

For the first time possibly since the late Middle Ages (for Britain had embarked on “pacification” – the vertical reduction of homicide rates, by dint of increasing state capacity, genetic selection, or both – centuries earlier than Russia), Moscow will very likely have a lower homicide rate this year (2021) than London. London had 1.5/100k murders in 2018, the last year for which we have population estimates; on current trends, it should finish up at around 1.4/100k this year (possibly more, if Corona-era projections of population decline are accurate). Moscow registered either 1.6/100k homicides [Rosstat] or 1.4/100k homicides [Prosecutor-General] in 2020. In the year to date (to August), the number of homicides has fallen by 21%. Either way, at somewhere around 1.1-1.3/100k, Moscow’s homicide rate is now lower than “prestigious” London’s.

This is a drastic improvement not just relative to the “Cursed 1990s”, but even the late Soviet period. The homicide rate in Moscow in 1985, according to numbers dug up by the blogger genby, was 3.8/100k; although Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign briefly reduced this (conceivably converging Moscow with London for a fleeting moment), by 1989 it was soaring again and would reach stratospheric heights during the mass alcoholization and breakdown of law and order in the early to mid-1990s. But those days are now veering into ancient history.

Moreover, a significant part of Moscow’s murders even today will still be of the middle-aged alcoholics knifing each other during vodka binges “death porn” tradition (if much less widespread today due to the decline of alcoholism), so “the streets” as such have de facto been safer than London’s for quite a while now anyway. One very recent example which outraged nationalists unable to “zoom out” as much as it demonstrated the sheer scope of the recent changes: A week ago, three Dagestani louts beat up a man called Roman Kovalev in the Moscow Metro for defending a woman from their unwelcome advances, and the affair became a minor national incident. Even a few years ago, this wouldn’t even have been noticed, and not just on account of its mundane nature, but also thanks to aggressive Caucasian ethnic lobbies. But in Russia, the Current Year is 2021, and Kovalev was awarded a state model for courage from Alexander Bastrykin, the Alexander Bastrykin, the Head of the Investigative Committee.

Note that this comes on the heels of Russia’s homicide rates falling below that of the US in 2020. Now to be sure, Russia eventually reaching lower homicide rates than the US was always expected, assuming it would eventually solve its Soviet-era alcoholization epidemic (which had short-circuited its “pacification” during the 20th century), and given American’s… racial-demographic specifics. And that happened, thanks largely to #BLM. Nonetheless, the idea that Moscow’s homicide rate – the capital of the “Mafia State” as defined by the West – could fall below London’s, would have been a very bold thing to predict in 2011.

For all intents and purposes, Moscow is now a considerably safer city than London, to say nothing of most American conurbations. Robbery rates in Russia are 5x lower than in the UK, and have almost converged to the level of the V4. Now in fairness, robbery is much harder to compare across countries; homicides are at least more clear-cut in that they leave a corpse, whereas the definition of “robbery” (“theft”, “rape”, etc.) differs much more from country to country. Nonetheless, to the extent that robbery rates are a reasonable proxy for “street level” danger, Russia can now be said to be a “comfy” country. And Moscow was also ranked as the world’s safest megacity for women back in 2017. n=1 and all that, but I can say that personal experience bears this out. I had my phone snatched out of my hands by a bicycle thief a short visit to London in 2018 (while reading Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now”, irony of ironies). I have yet to be a victim of crime in Moscow (petty scam attempts – most of them run from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine at that – aside).

My expectation is that, much as in most other things – gentrification, life expectancy, SWPL amenities, etc. – Russia’s regions will continue following Moscow’s footsteps with a lag time of ~10 years, and that by 2030 Russia will indeed have largely converged with the V4 in homicides as well (i.e., when the post-1965 alcoholization epidemic is as faded out as it already is in Moscow). This should also place it below many parts of “enriched” Western Europe.

In other news from the past couple of weeks, Michelin has finally come to Russia, awarding stars to nine Moscow restaurants (probably many more stars are yet to come, given that it already hosts two of the world’s top 50 restaurants). The Moscow Metro has started using biometric recognition to pay fares. You can now download their app, photograph your face, link it to a credit card, and walk in and out, no longer having to bother with anything physical. If this is what the conspiratorialists call the “digital Gulag” then I am one happy zek. Meanwhile, “a London private school adopts new BLM-inspired class on ‘white privilege’ with lessons on Meghan Markle’s royal experience.” Prestigious.

Yes, Moscow might not yet be quite as “prestigious” as London. But it’s safer, comfier, cheaper, cleaner, and overall much more fun.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Joshua Erwin says

    This is why my plan for 2022-2024 is to pour savings into Russian assets. Russian shares currently carry a “stigma” penalty. The market, I think, doesn’t realize how stable and relatively well governed Russia is, and is likely to remain, how insulated Russia is from additional harassment. Certainly one should not sell crypto to buy Russia, but the RF is a good destination for marginal savings. I hope you will continue to let us know about interesting public Russian companies.

  2. Just as the regions lag 10 years behind Moscow, the capital itself may be lagging 10 years behind London… We may yet see the opened floodgates and enrichment by Tajik and Uzbek foreign specialists in due time. Some recent events regarding immigration ban amnesty, land lease, and new Moscow metro sign translations may hint at the things to come.

    • Which means that Russia needs to get Ukraine to buy time.

    • Yeah. Idk why Karlin shills for the current state of affairs, when modern Russia tries to imitate the rest of Europe and has essentially lost its identity to the same neoliberalism that has infected europe

  3. Michael Meo says

    You refer, without explanation, to the V4. What’s that?

  4. Vishnugupta says

    Anecdotally I found St Petersberg/Moscow to be much safer than London.I would never think of walking on London streets at night with an expensive smartphone in my hand but Moscow/Spb felt Switzerland tier safe. Of course we staying at the touristy parts of these cities but still the general ‘this place is safe to walk at night’ vibe is something I only experienced in Lausanne/Geneva. Our tour guide also informed us that as long as we stick to Yandex Taxis and not venture into very run down neighborhoods there is nothing to worry about. Putin & Co. cleaned the place up pretty well in the past 20 years.

    As I have stated multiple times on the other blog Russia increasingly looks like the only major European country with its bearings right and on course to have a great 21st century..In my four days in Spb I saw precisely ONE African!Amazing.

    • Gerard-Kzn-Kazan says

      Your overall sentiment is correct, but for other parts of safety we have to accept that as a pedestrian in Moscow, or anywhere in Russia there is a significantly higher chance of being victim of a retard or hot-headed driver crashing into you. The situation I am proud to say is much improved. Things improve and deteriorate at the same time on this issue though…… on 1 side there are far more people on the roads (sometimes this is me and sometimes it is not) who allow pedestrians to cross at non-trafficlight crossings – but at the same time this exposes the despicable moron driver in the car behind who will then overtake that car and crash into the pedestrian(s) allowed to cross by the car in front – too stupid to realise that was the reason the car in front was stationary.

      My first (and only) concept of “the west” in a positive

      • Gerard-Kzn-Kazan says

        sense was on holiday in Spain post-USSR, walking from the hotel to the main road, not near the end of the pavement or doing anything to indicate I was going to cross the road at that point(which I had not decided)….. then a car that was probably travelling at 80kmh, 30 meters away before, calmly brakes to allow me to go past – something I soon realised was completely normal there, and the West in general – where you can literally jump in front of a car at any crossing and be near assured a safe passage.

        This sounds mundane, although it was certainly a culture shock at the time, as in Russia I have seen or driven past the scenes of many pedestrian-vehicle accidents… though I repeat that driver behaviour at zebra crossings is much more responsible compared to 15 – 20 years before.

        Other stupid problems we create for ourselves that don’t happen in the west are unfenced areas around open manhole covers on public streets where works are being carried out but finished for the day. Again, this problem is much improved but it is extinct in the west for kids and elderly to fall into these manholes at night – but not completely uncommon in Russia.

        Stray, rabid dogs another issue that is nonexistent in west, but still something you may occasionally encounter in Russian cities.

        • True, in 1991 24 thousand pedestrians died in accidents. That’s 1 dead pedestrians for every 400 cars. In 2020, there were ~4500 killed pedestrians (still high), but 45 million cars, so 1 dead pedestrian for every 10,000 cars – 25x improvement in pedestrian safety, there is probably another 10x improvement reserve

  5. In other news that shows how life is improving in Moscow, an academic who in the 90s published a book in which he argued that scam artists were acting like forest wardens, who were clearing the forest of unhealthy trees or people who could not fit into the new capitalist reality, has himself fallen prey to scammers 20 years later who pretended they from from the central bank and got him to sell his apartment and give them the money. He also wrote a book about Russian ‘cattle-like’ mentality (or something… can’t really translate the title accurately).

    According to his theory that what happened in the 90s was good social-Darwinism that created a more market-oriented population, his own experience now is proof that he is an old and weak individual that is bad for the herd, and he should be thrown out of useful Russian society. However, he has the audacity to complain to the police and write about his ordeal.

    I think this poor academic’s story should be widely shared to show that in today’s safer Russia, even social-Darwinists are protected by the authorities from the consequences of their ideas.

  6. I’d say your points hold well with regard to London as a whole, but we must also look at the wider respect for the rule of law and respect for governmental institutions (if we are to appreciate the real change). In this regard the UK is losing ground as it imports peoples with little regard for the niceties of Northern European culture and the Anglo Saxon work ethic in particular (this may be due to the type of immigration the UK is currently attracting, as a comparison between Indian and Pakistani immigrant social outcomes would demonstrate) , as well as the erosion of the post war social compact. But even though the UK isn’t the place it was, it is far ahead of Moscow and SPb in this regard. For all its numerous faults what effort has been made to make a new social compact? To increase respect for the law and govt? Ti create a philosophy that could be defined as Putinism? Coming from the conservative tradition within the GB as I do, I suppose I could ask, where is Russia’s Scruton?

  7. Persephone Victra says

    The first time I was in Moscow I stayed in an extremely proletarian part of the city that was populated by about one third non-Russian minorities at a guess, and it felt safer than the streets of any major Western capital day and night both. I was also surprised at how clean and well-kept it was. This was the height of summer, and the parks and verges were being regularly watered, trash collection was common, and everything looked recently painted.

    That’s to say nothing of the city proper, which was on the level of Vienna in terms of being clean, maintained, and attractive. And unlike Vienna, it did not feel like a retirement city. Moscow was alive, youthful, friendly, and buzzing. Going to cities like Vienna gives you a vision of a grandeur that was, and a future that wasn’t. Going to Moscow lets you see a future that we can yet grasp.

    There was also a considerable police presence, which I find reassuring coming from a European country where you practically never see cops on the beat (an absolutely core element of crime prevention — many Western countries have switched to a crime response model, for obvious reasons).

    Amusingly though, an old bus I took on the outskirts did break down and start smoking and leaking what I presumed was coolant. The driver promptly popped around to the back and fixed the issue, whatever it was. I was impressed.

    Moscow is my favourite European city, everyone should visit.

  8. Gerard-Kzn-Kazan says


  9. The easiest crime rate tool is to simply ask someone how comfortable would they be walking, especially at night.

    I know Belgrade night walks are comfy. I never once met someone from here who was paranoid to go out, apart from some girls that watch too much television. On the other hand – London, American cities? Oh boy can they get spooked. Even in “small” Belgrade-sized (bout between 1 to 2 million) cities!

  10. Doesn’t matter what moscow’s murder rate is – the murder rate of Russia as a whole (as well as suicide rates) remain above most of the world.

    Looking at ‘murder rates in moscow’ is the same as looking at ‘automotive production in Russia vs USSR’. it makes no sense.

    As the saying goes “Moscow is not Russia”

  11. Chairman_Meow says

    Also, I don’t see why you are talking about ‘Soviet era alcoholism’ or whatever. Alcoholism was a thing introduced into Russia by the Rurik’s as early as the 16th Century when the Tsar nationalized alcohol production and made it cheap and easily accessible in Tavern’s meaning that men would go out drinking very often. Alcoholism was not a Soviet problem, but rather a problem throughout Russian history. At least be honest about that – or maybe you don’t know. Now you do.

  12. There is a leading indicator that is showing what violent crimes are going to be in the near future – # of crimes among students, which includes juvenile crime. This covers almost 1/3 of the population, it youngest part, which is also quite susceptible to crime. The number of student-criminals went from ~150k in 2003 (peak) to 25k in 2021 – 6-fold decline. It may fall another 4-fold in the coming 10-15, because Moscow registered only ~500 crimes by students, which is ~1/4 of the rate for the whole country. Note, only ~10% of those crimes are violent, very few are murders. This means that crime situation will likely continue to rapidly improve in the coming decades.

  13. “If this is .. the digital Gulag then I am one happy zek.” – also very conveniently tracks the individual in an searchable, scalable way. How could that possibly go wrong?