Is Belarus Safe? 5 Things You Should Know About Crime

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How safe is Belarus for travelers? Everything you need to know about crime, scams, civil unrest and the potential threat of terrorism in Belarus.


Belarus, Memorial Church of All Saints in Memory of Innocent Victims in our Fatherland Photo © Getty Images/Frans Sellies

Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions in Belarus – updated 18 January 2022: entry into Belarus a land border for foreign citizens has been suspended. There is a narrow list of concessions, and you can check the State Border Committee website for details. Flights continue to operate in and out of Minsk and regional airports as normal. Travelers arriving from countries where COVID-19 cases have been reported (check for the latest updates on the Belarus Government website) must self-isolate for 10 days. Foreign travelers must have a negative PCR COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours of arrival. Check to see if you require a visa. Foreign travelers must have valid medical insurance to cover their stay.

Before you buy a travel insurance policy, check your government travel warnings and health advice – there may be no travel insurance cover for locations with a government travel ban or health advice against travel.

Wondering how your travel insurance might be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak? Find answers to some of our common questions about COVID-19.

Crime in Belarus

Belarus is generally a safe place for travelers, police and security services are loyal to the government and opposition can result in an immediate crackdown. Violent crimes against travelers are rare, however you should always exercise common sense. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, don't be a hero – hand over whatever it is the perpetrator is asking for, or try to walk away and find a safe place. Avoid public demonstrations and protests as they are likely to be confrontational with force being used against those taking part.

The biggest threat to travelers in Belarus is petty theft, particularly on public transport, sleeper trains, and in popular tourist destinations around Minsk.

  • Be cautious, alert and aware of your surroundings and belongings at all times
  • Keep your wallet, bag or backpack zipped shut and in front of you
  • Men should try to keep their wallets in the front rather than the back pocket
  • Don't carry large sums of money with you, or draw attention to yourself
  • Wealthy tourists represent rich pickings for Belarusian thieves, so don't make it obvious by wearing flashy jewelry or super fancy clothing.

Another target for thieves in Belarus is European, Japanese and American-made SUV and luxury cars. Car jacking is rare, but car theft and theft of car parts is common here. Again, inconspicuousness is the key: park in secure overnight parking areas, and don't leave valuables on the back seat of the car – hide your belongings in the boot or beneath seats if you absolutely have to keep them in the car.

Civil unrest in Belarus

Following elections held in August 2020, a wave of anti-government protests began after its authoritarian president since 1994, Alexander Lukashenko, claimed to have won an 80% victory. The election outcome was widely contested, and media outlets have reported protestors being detained and injured on the streets. The opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, fled Belarus for her safety a few days after the election.

Belarus is an authoritarian state. Political unrest or dissention is not tolerated, and foreign travelers should stay well away from any political demonstrations, marches or large public gatherings.

If you participate in any kind of rally or demonstration, particularly if you are caught holding a banner, expect to be detained. Avoid any political demonstrations at all costs.

Drink spiking and drugs in Belarus

While there are strong penalties for possession or use of drugs in Belarus (convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines), there have been reports of drugged travelers by drink spiking in nightclubs. It can be very difficult to tell if your drink has been spiked, so here are a few ways to avoid it:

  • Never accept a drink from a stranger
  • Don't leave your drink unattended
  • Try to keep your hand over your drink if you are walking through nightclubs or bars
  • Don't drink anything you didn't open yourself, see it be opened or poured by a bar tender
  • If you think your drink has been spiked, if you feel dizzy or sick, ask someone you trust to take you to a safe place or a hospital, and report it to the authorities.

Prostitution is fairy common in Belarus, and it's not unheard of for sex-workers to try to enter hotels in search of customers. This really only happens at smaller, local hotels.

Capital punishment

As of 2020, Belarus is the only country in Europe which still has capital punishment. Execution is the punishment for murder, terrorism, treason, conspiracy and sabotage. If you are arrested for a crime in Belarus, you may not have automatic access to your consular official and you may be summarily expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

Terrorism in Belarus

Terrorist attacks have not occurred in Belarus in recent years, however terrorism can occur anywhere and the threat cannot be ruled out entirely. Before you travel, check your government travel advisory.

Bombings have occurred in 2005, 2008 and 2011. In the 2011 Minsk Metro bombing, 14 people were killed and more than two hundred were injured in an explosion.

Be alert, but not alarmed. Always register your trip with consular officials.

LGBTQ+ safety in Belarus

While same-sex relationships are permitted in Belarus, the LGBTQ+ scene is very low-key and few members of the LGBTQ+ community are open about their sexuality.

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  • Aliona said

    Not sure if you ever visited Belarus and Minsk in particular. It’s listed in top 10 countries in the world for safety and what you describing is pretty wild 90s era. Minsk is very safe for anyone to visit!


  • ALEH ARLOW said

    Belarus is really safe country. You can safely walk at night. If you meet drunk people, then (most likely) will try to treat you :). Good, friendly attitude to foreigners prevails among the population. But, often poor knowledge of English and other foreign languages. Tourism is intensively developed and supported by the state. Many say that we have a wonderful nature. Come visit and see for yourself.


  • Derek said

    Totally agree with the comments above. Belarus is a beautiful country with very clean cities and very freindly people in my experiance. I have never seen so many beautiful ladies in all my travels and I am lucky enough to be married to a Belorussian lady myself. We lived in Spain, France, Andorra and Ireland (my country) together but we now live just outside the city of Grodno with our 4 young children and loving life. I would rate Belarus a much safer place than every other country I have lived in for the pure reason that I have never felt treatened once there and I am in the city every weekend in the evenings playing in the bars and walking in the streets late night / early morning. I haven't withnessed, nor heard of crime there over the past 4 years living there and I have noticed there are no homeless people ( or I just haven't seen any) compared to my home town, Dublin where we have homeless Famileis!
    The artical above in my opinion is very far off the Mark..... or as previously said.... completely out of date!


  • Angela Lapham said

    Minsk feels so safe, and the people are so kind, and it is so beautiful-looking and clean. It was a relief to be there after cities like London.
    Also, Russia does not have capital punishment.


  • Dave Load said

    I agree with the authors comments. Don't listen to all the good comments. You need to be streetwise in every country in the world. Protect yourself and your family.


  • Nick Wear said

    Thank you for all the information I require on visiting Belarus. I am going on a train journey from North West Europe to the furthest I am able to reach of Eastern Europe. I am 64 now, it's on my bucket list to do. Thank you Nick.


  • Bextol Anderson said

    Nice facts of yours. There's also an interesting fact. Belarus is such a lowland. "The highest point of Belarus is Dzyarzhynskaya Hara, with its official height being 346 m (1,135 ft)."


  • Vincent said

    I have been doing business in Belarus for over 30 years - in fact I say we pushed the wall down to get in.
    I call Minsk my second home. It the cleanest safest city in the now CIS with honest, friendly, well educated people. No hesitation in recommending anyone to visit
    Enjoy and keep our secret!!!


  • Joshua said

    Does anyone no, if your visiting Belarus from England in the next couple of weeks. At Minsk airport are you asked for a certificate showing a negative test result? Because I’m reading on some sites you do and others you don’t! Please someone help me?!


    • Amelia Brady said

      Hi Joshua,

      I have just updated the information here to be up to date!

      The UK Government travel advice currently states (
      "Arrivals from countries affected by coronavirus must self-isolate for a period of 14 days, regardless of whether they show symptoms. Those arriving from the UK with a medical certificate showing a negative coronavirus test result, issued no later than 48 hours before entry, will not need to self-isolate."

      Amelia, World Nomads


      • Mike said

        But who can get test results back that quick? nobody


  • Okpabi Emmanuel said

    Belarus is okay


  • Eguono Gabriel said

    Heard so many good things about Belarus hop to be there someday soon


  • Gabriel said

    Please l need info on how to move to Belarus from Nigeria


  • Jerry Eziowoma said

    What is the present situation in Belarus now about the political unrest ? Thanks


  • Yan said

    The political situation is getting worse every day. The crisis has gone beyond the borders of the country, now the regime is threatening neighboring European countries. But since the state terror is mainly aimed at Belarusians, the tourist can feel more or less safe (This does not apply to citizens of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine). You should not wear white and red, as for this you can be arrested and deported. If you see that a police officer is committing illegal actions, and decide to film him on the phone, you can be arrested. Be careful here. But overall, the likelihood of being accidentally detained has decreased compared to the previous year.
    Do not deal with drugs, if you get caught - you face 8 years in prison, or you will be offered to bribe from 5k to 20k $, depending on what they know about your finances.
    In spite of everything, the level of crime here is quite low.
    There are many interesting, smart and beautiful people here. Unusually clean streets. Prices are relatively low, both for housing and for food or clothing.


  • lisa fairclough said

    I won't bother!! Too many negative things going on there,FAR TOO MANY! .As a natural worrier I wouldn't have a minutes peace YIKES!!


  • Abisekh bhujel said

    How was country situation now...iam coming in working visa


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