Matthias Platzeck (Matthias Platzeck) is a big fan of football. Being a good connoisseur of Russia and the Chairman of the German-Russian forum, a speaker for the past two decades for the development of social dialogue between the two countries, former Prime Minister of Brandenburg and SPD Chairman cannot fail to notice the many criticisms against the host country of the upcoming next year’s tournament. The 2018 world Cup will be one of the main themes starting in the coming weekend meeting of the Petersburg dialogue. One of its members will be 63-year-old Platzeck.
Die Welt: Mr. Platzeck, that should give us this debate?
Matthias Platzeck: We want to share our experience on the organization of the 2006 world Cup, to talk to our Russian colleagues how to develop the tournament into a festival of “visiting friends”. In discussion will take part, in particular, the President of the German Football Association (DFB), Reinhard quiet and scenic sur (Reinhard Grindel). In a week we have a big conference in Krasnodar, dedicated to the theme of partnership between the individual cities in which will participate both foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Sigmar Gabriel (Sigmar Gabriel). There is, for example, representatives of Dortmund will talk about how to them in 2006 we managed to organize in their city a real feast for the fans.
— Do you think that experience of Germany will fall in Russia on “fertile ground”?
I have always been opposed to impose on others their own ideas about what is “right” and what is “wrong”, and self-worth. There’s never anything good happens. But we try — and for quite some time — within the framework of Petersburg dialogue and German-Russian forum to talk about what we did ourselves to our partners then decide what will suit them and what not. We do not take on the role of a sort of mentor who says, “I know what to do, so do the same”. We just say that we did ourselves and eventually achieved success, and the people got a real pleasure. I don’t expect the sort of “Big Bang”, but something that our partners can learn from us.
And then the world community may decide that Russia is in all respects a healthy country. However, there are mass violations of human rights and vtaptyvaetsya in the dirt, democratic values, and the whole country is mired in corruption. On the construction of the stadiums worked workers from North Korea who lived in inhuman conditions.
— Of course, everything has its limits. When human rights are violated so much that the people are on the verge of life and death, these boundaries are violated. But it would be wrong to say that all — absolutely all — bad. In the world there are not only countries with a “Westminster” system of democracy. About this there has been debate on the eve of the Olympic games in Beijing, which, whatever it was, took place. And in the end they won not only China but the entire world community. During such major sporting events people exchange information about each other — they learn about how to live in a country, and much more. Such things has never and does not harm anyone.
— That is, the sport needs to do what politicians sometimes fail?
— No. But the sport should not further complicate social and political relations. As for Russia, we sometimes hit truly hysterical. I would like to have the smaller stained the situation only in black or white colors and less arguing about anything with foam at the mouth. I know that many of the events in Russia deserve criticism, but I still remember the words of Egon Bar (Egon Bahr): we cannot do without relations with the Americans, and Russia is indispensable on the European continent. This means that we can something to want or not want, but something we must do. Without Russia on the continent without peace, without or against Russia will not be a normal future, it is also normal economic development. It is the largest country in the world and the second largest nuclear power. We must never forget that.
— Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that while Russian troops remain in Ukraine, he believes the world Cup in this country is inconceivable and demands — along with some American politicians to boycott the tournament.
I’m against it. Still boycotts only harm the sport and it does not help policy. Sports and politics must be separated from each other. In this sense, I remain a long-standing disciple of Johannes Rau (Johannes Rau) in cases of doubt should be tolerated, rather than separate. Sport can unite people, regardless of political boundaries. Such a chance must not be missed. The players are in no way responsible for the various political relations. We are also quite selective: in the world there are few countries where you conduct certain sporting events. In the end, you can’t do everything carried out only in Germany.
— However, not so long ago in some countries, sports federations, for example, Federation of bobsleigh or biathlon refused to participate in the Championships or the world Cup has already been brought in, and forced the organizers to move the competition to other countries.
— In that situation it was about doping, about the respective programs at the state level. But he definitely did not apply to football. When suddenly some kind of sports Federation says: “We will not participate in a particular competition because of doping charges” — it will be sport the reason is and I think it’s normal. But if someone starts says that someone should be punished for the General political atmosphere and take away his world championship, it will be, in my opinion, wrong.
— You will go to the world Cup?
I don’t know yet. But I would love to visit a game or two.