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.