Vladimir Kornilov: English Football Fans Debunked the Russophobic Propaganda of Their Own Government

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



The western media, frightening readers and spectators with “horrible” Russia on the eve of the World Cup, seemingly are in some confusion. The football tournament goes at full speed – and nothing horrible has happened. The football fans who arrived in Russia face the opposite to what they were promised — friendliness and the hospitality of Russians, their smiles and embraces.

It is enough to remember how western (and especially British) media scared fans with the allegedly unprecedented level of racism in Russia.

Representatives of all races walk on the streets of our cities — and there are no problems.

But if there are no problems, then there is a need to invent them. So on June 16th the The Guardian newspaper is issued with a bold heading: “Nigeria game first big test of Russia’s resolve to stamp out racism”. One might ask: why the “first”? After all, there was the match Russia vs Saudi Arabia. The Russian fans fraternised with Arabs, made joint selfies, and even consoled them after the devastating defeat.

But the author leaves us on a knife edge — the reader still doesn’t understand if the “test” for racism took place or not. This isn’t important, after all, in the following article Russia has pass through a test for the threat of acts of terrorism. And the author recognises only on his own twitter: “…it is also true that Russia is super welcoming to visiting fans of all colours during a World Cup”.

However you won’t find this truth on the pages of the publication.

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The most amusing thing is that the same Guardian (more precisely, its Sunday issue known under the name “The Observer”), trying to inflate the topic of “racism in Russia”, turned to a former Liverpool player, the black John Barnes, for comment. And the latter advised “Let’s look closer to home”, and spoke about the horrifying manifestations of racism in the cities of central England that black football players have to face nearly everyday.

John Obi Mikel, the captain of the Nigerian national team, who the correspondent of The Guardian was so worried about, noted: “The Russian people have been really nice to us. A lot of Russians support the Nigerian team … This place feels like home for us.

It is even difficult to imagine the surprise experienced by fans of the English national team. During several months they were told on the front pages of newspapers that a “bloodbath” awaits them in Russia. And finally The Sun, which shouted the loudest about fans being “killed”, reports how warmly the British were met in Volgograd, and quotes a 48-year-old fan from Staffordshire: It’s so clean, so friendly and everyone is really polite. The general conclusion of the British: “[It’s] not at all as I expected”.

“I would say to everybody – don’t believe what you read, come out and see it for yourselves,” said the black fan of English national team of Billy Grant on the pages of The Belfast Telegraph newspaper.

But even with such impressions the needed reaction was found. The employee of the German Bild Julian Röpcke known for his especially aggressive anti-Russian position, shortly specified in response to the comments of English fans in Volgograd: “Putin’s plan is working”. Putin’s plan, according to his own words, involved fans enjoy their stay in Russia — open, hospitable, friendly Russia – and find new friends here, new like-minded people. And in this sense Röpcke is right: after all, the plan works!

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