The Dark Side of Russia

World Cup 2018: The Dark Side of Russia

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!

The Dark Side of Russia
Protest in Moscow
Whilst I have highlighted a lot of the positive things I have seen in Russia during World Cup 2018, I am also aware there is another side to all I am seeing.

The Dark Side of Russia

The petty bureaucracy that demands all foreigners register where they stay. This is one that I have already explained.

There are gross inefficiencies in the system where people are not encouraged to think for themselves. If they do they have learnt that it is best to keep their ideas to themselves.

Children learn English at school, but do not appear to have been encouraged. The arrival of thousands of foreigners I believe will see a renewed enthusiasm for this subject as they clearly want to communicate.

At Sochi train station people were selling train tickets after the match. The train was free and the turnstiles to the station were left open.

On one of the free trains it was someone's job to come round and check your nationality. They already have that information as the Fan ID was used to book the ticket.

Whilst on the overnight train I struck up friendships with a lot of young people. One of them liked football and his English was good. We were having a long conversation when word reached him that his parents thought he should go to bed. It was 9 pm. It was light and his two sisters aged 9 and 10 were up until after 10.30 pm.

Arriving back to Moscow from Volgograd, I was present at the first 0-0 of the tournament.

With the schedule having matches in Moscow on two consecutive days, the next day I had time for a day of sightseeing.

First stop the Cosmonaut Museum.

The Dark Side of Russia

Next there was a World Cup exhibition.

The Dark Side of Russia

Then there was time to visit the Izmaylovo Kremlin.

The Dark Side of Russia

Before watching the Brazil game and then catching the 2 am train to Saransk.

Saransk to Kazan


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