No More Heroes Anymore

Russia World Cup 2018

On 24 February 2022, Russia launched an unprovoked, large-scale military invasion of Ukraine, its neighbour to the southwest, marking an escalation to a conflict that began in 2014 with the Russian annexation of Crimea and the Donbass. Stop The War!

Arriving in a city early, is great for getting a full day there but can be a nightmare for your accommodation. I got lucky today. Arriving there at 9 am I was able to check in and have a shower before setting off to see the city.

First stop was Mamayav Kurgan.

I think I forgot to mention that they also used stirring music in St Petersburg for the bridges.

It is a towering monument celebrating the Russian victory in the 200 day Battle of Stalingrad in 1943 (The city's name was changed to Volgograd in 1961).

Mother Russia

On the way up you pass through the hall of military glory. I noted the names on the ceiling - Lenin, Alexander Nevsky, but no sign of Stalin.

After this I headed to the Panorama of the battle. Before making my way to the Saudi Arabia v Egypt match. In a mall near the stadium, I was queuing for some food. At the next queue someone was having a problem, I gestured that he could come in front of me he accepted after some hesitation and then insisted on buying me a drink.

After the match I went to a bar. There I shared stories with a friend. This is one he told me.

At a recent game he had seen. He spotted a Nigerian in an English football shirt. The poor guy was mobbed by locals. Someone asked him for a photo, his reply - "Not again!"

No more heroes anymore

Whilst in the bar I woman came in and asked if she could talk to us. We found out she was an English teacher and that she had brought a group of her pupils into town specifically to try and meet foreigners and talk to them.

She asked the security if her 16 year olds could come in the bar and have their photo taken with us. They introduced themselves in perfect English and were clearly happy with this brief encounter. The teacher could be heard saying "I am so lucky".

At around midnight we bumped into her and the whole group at the train station. Once again they whole group asked for photographs and even an autograph.

I asked her if I could ask one question. I had been to the Hall of Military Glory earlier in the day and noted the names of the Russians on the ceilings, as this was Stalingrad, I asked where he was.

She said: "That is a good question and one I have been trying to find out myself. I recently searched for the answer but could not find it."

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