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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Student Offers 7 Ways to Avoid Being Attacked

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Email the Opinion Page Editor

Editor,
I am writing in response to the growing wave of racially motivated attacks across Russia. As we mourn the deaths of our brothers, I believe that abandoning our studies in fear should not be an option. "Skin terrorism" must not be allowed to win.

However, each and every one of us must be vigilant and street smart. Here are some ways to avoid racist attacks:

1. Stay six steps away from everyone in all directions. This measure won't save anyone from gun attacks, but it is a sure way to fend off knife attacks.

2. Avoid going to dangerous nightspots. It is stupid to go to a club where a dark-skinned foreigner was knifed a few weeks back.

3. When invited by a stranger for a chat or a drink, thank him or her and walk away or pretend to be deaf.

4. In the metro, use the first car instead of the middle or last cars. The rational is that racists won't stage an attack near the driver's cabin; police would be waiting for them at the next stop.

5. Select friends wisely.

6. Always be on the alert while approaching your hostel or apartment.

7. Avoid long waits at bus stops. Take a taxi home or wait for the bus in a nearby shop or restaurant.

Ted Onakaze
St. Petersburg



Kindness and Discipline

In response to a series of articles about U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's criticism of Russia on May 4 and Russian officials' response.

Editor,
I am a retired American physician who just completed his first trip to Moscow, which was a real treasure for me. I am optimistic that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and President Vladimir Putin will find ways for our countries to help each other, and I predict that those who disapprove of our friendship will be unpersuasive. Both countries understand the need for balance between kindness and discipline, as well as the balance between capitalist productivity and socialist protections.

Both peoples will, I hope, understand the value of 3 percent of each paycheck invested in companies friendly to employees and customers, or in mutual funds. And they will also understand that our credit cards like to eat us.

This is a great time for Russia, a time for growth and consolidation. Maybe even a baby boom. As Russia goes on to build great cities next to warmed Siberian lakes and Martian plains, let's remain good allies so that God can smile on us both simultaneously.

John F. Murphy
Mooresville, North Carolina



Not So Funny

In response to a comment titled "Tender Hysteria Over Victory Day," by Josefina Lundblad on May 4.

Editor,
What would a Swede know about a war? My father does. He, as a child, lived in a small village occupied by the Nazis. Was she laughing at him as well? Was she laughing at my father's eating grass and being routinely kicked by the Nazis?

I am a Russian citizen, but for the past 10 years I have lived in Colorado, where I teach at a university. Through the years I have made several discoveries, and one of the most important ones is the value of "today." It is not popular among ordinary people to discuss in earnest historic events. Just have fun today! Many do not know history. The author may fit well in this environment.

Natasha Watson
Colorado Springs, Colorado



Robbed Near Red Square

Editor,
I'm a 62-year-old American living in Brussels, and I would like to share with you an incident that happened to me near Red Square at about noon on April 27 during a four-day visit to Moscow.

I'm no stranger to Moscow -- I've visited at least 14 times -- so I decided to take a walk while the sun was shining and marvel at the beauty of Red Square. While coming out of the park right off Resurrection Gate, a man in his 40s walked in front of me and dropped a wad of what looked like dollars. My first reaction was, "Hey, this man dropped his money I better tell him." I then thought to myself that I'd just pass by and forget it. I noticed with surprise that the money was covered with plastic and wrapped with rubber bands. What to do? Tell the man or not?

As I moved toward the money, I noticed a man on my right also going for it, so I picked up the wad and called out to the man who had dropped it. Since I don't speak Russian, I motioned to him that he had dropped his money.

After giving the man the money, he motioned to me that he had two wads of money and that the plastic wrapped around the money was weak. I told him in English that I didn't know what he was talking about and started to leave. At that moment a plainclothes "policeman" came up and asked us for our passports.

Now I thought it was very strange that a policeman appeared on the scene so fast. Where had he been hiding? The three of us showed our passports. After checking my documents, the policeman asked me if I spoke Russian. I said I only spoke English and French. He then informed me in Russian that the man who had dropped the money was accusing me of stealing. I denied the accusation and explained what had happened.

Things were going so fast that I could barely follow what they were talking about, but the policeman asked me if I had any dollars on me. I said no. He asked if I had any rubles and to let him see them. I complied, thinking that since I only had 1,500 rubles he would not be interested. The man who dropped the money then asked me if I had any euros, and I said yes.

I didn't know what to do since I was quacking in my boots. Naturally, I felt intimidated. I imagined being thrown into a Russian jail for doing nothing wrong. I showed him my euros.

The man who had dropped the money then started counting the banknotes while explaining to the policeman that he was checking them for a secret mark that he had placed on his bills. As I watched him count my bills -- six 20s, two 10s and two 5s -- I couldn't imagine why he would want to examine them since he had said he lost dollars.

After he had counted the bills, he approached me and asked whether I had any bills in my back jeans pocket, which he then touched with a hand. As I looked down to see what he was doing, the policeman told him to return my money. He did, and I headed toward my hotel feeling funny about the whole situation. After arriving at the hotel, I checked my pocket and found four 20 euro bills missing.

I am so angry with myself for falling for this trick, and I write about it in hope that others do not fall for the scam.

Gyle Waddy
Brussels