That's the problem is
Most foreign people think Moscow is a bit scary and forebiding, as you said Kevin, but nobody can offer a real example of it that can prevent you from visiting Moscow
I think tourists feel comfortable here enough. The one true thing about Moscow is that it is has expensive hotels.
St Petersburg is a great city too, I've never been there. I wish I could.
As about elephant
I was trying to find out about this story long ago, but found nothing
I was in a Moscow Zoo and didn't see any mention of it in the elephants enclosure.