empire watch, latest
Comments 9

Fancy a Trip to Russia? Better Not. It’s The ’11th Most Dangerous’ Country in the World.

by Danielle Ryan, via Russia Insider

gpi
Better travel to Ukraine, Mexico, Colombia, Mali, Mauretania, Yemen, Libya, Turkey or Egypt instead.

If you’re perusing the holiday brochures any time soon, be sure not to book a trip to Russia, for according to the Institute for Economics and Peace’s 2015 Global Peace Index, it is the 11th most dangerous country in the world. Yes, that’s right.

Forget taking advantage of the great ruble rate and planning the trip of a lifetime. Pack your bags and head somewhere else, folks. It just ain’t worth the risk.

Still, you might prefer some of the safer places for your summer hols — and indeed there are plenty of great options. Fresh off the NATO regime change carousel, Libya appears to look more inviting. Or perhaps war torn Yemen? Even a summer sojourn in Eastern Ukraine would seemingly be safer than a trip to Moscow.

Okay, let’s be serious. This ranking is incredibly misleading. Regardless of the methodology used, there is no way Russia ends up the 11th most dangerous country on earth, one notch above North Korea, more dangerous than war-torn Middle Eastern countries and some of the most poverty-stricken regions of Africa. Even if the indicators were all accurately measured (which is highly unlikely as these things often rely on perception), the combined result is still highly misleading.

I can understand how, based on some of the indicators measured, Russia could score highly. Incarceration, nuclear weapons, weapons exports. Fine. But then you look at the “combined major factors” and find Russia scores 2.7 out of 5 on “Domestic and International Conflict” whereas the US scores 1.7 out of 5. That just doesn’t tally, if you’re making any fair assessment of where the US stands in terms of “international conflict”.

On “violent crime” Russia scores 3/5 while US scores 1/5. On“militarization” and “access to weapons” Russia also scores significantly higher than the US. Ask a different “analyst” on a different day and the US would be dripping blood red on any of these indicators.

Then there are indicators like “political terror” where again, Russia obviously scores higher than the US (which I would agree with). But, look a little closer and you’ll see how they actually measured it: using information from Amnesty International and, you guessed it, US State Department Country reports. A lot of the actual ranking process is then done by EIU analysts. That is, Economist Intelligence Unit analysts, of the Economist Group — not exactly known for its fairness and accuracy in reporting on Russia.

“Perceptions of criminality” (4/5 to the US’s 2/5) also has an effect on where Russia lands in the ranking, as does “neighboring countries relations” (5/5 to the US’s 2/5). These are extremely subjective and I can’t see any accurate way of measuring them fairly. Despite the common perception, Russia has good relations with a number of its neighbors — and where that is not the case, the historical factors affecting that indicator are incredibly different (and not even comparable to) the US’s relationship with Canada, for example.

Then there are factors like “violent demonstrations” (Russia’s 3.5/5 to the US’s 2/5) which are measured, not on the actual number of violent demonstrations, but the “likelihood” of them. Again, all completely subjective and ultimately lacking in much real meaning.

Now, look at the map. The top 12 countries are marked in red. Why not just the top 10? But oh look, Russia’s at 11, so we better make the top 12 red, so we can splash red across that huge swathe of the earth. Scary stuff. Better not go there any time soon!

It’s difficult to tell what the authors of these reports actually mean when they refer to countries based on their level of “danger”. Is it that the country is dangerous to visit, or that it is a danger to the world? Or both? And how can you fairly combine the two anyway? When you combine factors like “perceptions of crime” with “nuclear weapons” you are going to get some seriously strange results.

Your regular Joe or Jane is not going to read the report in detail and come away with a nuanced understanding of all the combined factors. They’re going to see the headline and the map, their eyes will be drawn to the red, and they’ll go holy shit, Russia must be a God-awful place.

You therefore can’t just fling all this information down onto a list of “most dangerous” countries and think you won’t be misleading people.

Unless misleading people is not a major concern?


9 Comments

  1. hassan alqahtani says

    I am a proud saudi citizen ,and I can say for sure ,my country is the safest place on earth .where else in the world you can wonder to sea side 3 oclock in the morning with your children and sleep in an open tent and not worry about anything .we dont have gangs ,or bullies roaming the streets ,thieves lurking in dark allies,. every year 3 million people gather in one place for HAJJ.and visitors to the holly mosques MAKKAH and MADENAH ,they come from all over the world.honestly I’m blessed to be born in this country and under the just ruler King salman ibn saud .
    trust me guys this from experience ,I traveled the world for leisure ,business and education ,but the only place i feel perfectly safe for me and my family is the Kingdom of saudi arabia,

    • Hassan lives safely in his Sunni, Wahabbi, Medieval Kingdom. He keeps his Wife in his American-built Dog Kennel. All over the Middle East, Sunnis kill Shias and Sufis , Muslims who deserve to be blown up, stabbed to death, crucified, beheaded. If Saudi Arabia were wiped off the face of the Earth, there would be Peace in the Middle East.

  2. Davide says

    I spit water all over my computer screen when I read that the US scores 1/5 for violent crime.

  3. “Your regular Joe or Jane is not going to read the report in detail and come away with a nuanced understanding of all the combined factors.”

    Well, I’m not going to bother reading the report. Hey, if Amnesty International and the US State Department say it so, it must be, eh.

    Besides, being a regular joe, I don’t have any money to go further than to the local grocery store, where I end up having to spend most of it just to stay alive now that the Canadian dollar is worth 71 cents . . . oops . . . I mean 69 cents . . .it just ticked down another 2 points!

    So there won’t be a vacation trip to the sunny climes of Yemen this year. But if I ever do come into some spare change, be sure that I now know to scratch Russia off the list unless, of course, by the time that highly unlikely event happens, the evil Russians have become good Russians, either having been subdued by the Pentagon or themselves having done the subduing.

  4. Haven’t even read the article yet, but the title had me laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair. Now to read the article . . .

  5. thats untrue, here in the UK we have imminent terror attacks by ISIS promised by Obamas sock-puppet Cameron every other day. we peasants have to wear brown trousers all the time. sales of toilet-paper are off the charts. tourists see paramilitary police with machine-guns in their soup. the BBC repeated a program about Putins secret Billions of Roubles several times- whats he plotting with all that spare cash? we Brits are not trusted with our own tax-payers money, Cameron is sending Osborne`s sales force round to big American companies inviting them to the UK where we will pay their Tax for them. UK is now a Tax Haven like The Cayman Islands, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Jersey

  6. Secret Agent says

    Actually NORTH Korea is so safe they don’t even bother deploying police on the streets, though there is a good chance of being shot if you wander into a military zone.

Please note the opinions expressed in the comments do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or of OffG as a whole