Here's a friendly word of advice: If you're traveling in or to Russia, and you're tempted to get on an airplane, don't. I know, big country. But take the train if you can, or drive. The Russian Federation and fellow former Soviet republics now loosely aligned in the Commonwealth of Independent States are among the most dangerous places in the world to fly.
A recent case in point: The navigator of a commercial aircraft that crashed in June, killing 47 people, including the navigator, was drunk on a bit of vitamin V - vodka. This, according to Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee, as reported 19 September by the Associated Press and posted on www.washingtonpost.com.
"Russia and other former Soviet republics have had poor air safety records in recent years,'' AP reports. "Industry experts say the air disasters are rooted not simply in flying older planes, but in a myriad of other problems, including poor crew training, crumbling airports, lax government controls and widespread neglect of safety in the pursuit of profits.''
Forewarned is forearmed.