Russia’s fight against racism not too convincing

“Why do our national team a monkey?”

This racist chants that the fans were chanting “Spartacus” for the final of the Supercup of Russia on the 14th of July, was addressed to the Brazilian goalkeeper Guilherme.

Having received Russian citizenship in 2015, the football player of “Locomotive” participated in the Confederations Cup and has the chance to perform at the world Cup.

“It is unfortunate that this happens still. So many years have passed, and you still have to watch such things,” said Guilherme Folha.

“As a player I’m not going to say that I think this is normal, but I really don’t care what they are trying to insult me,” he says.

Although the confederations Cup has passed without public demonstrations of racism, insults to the Brazilian goalkeeper, who in the past were not able to avoid Hulk and Roberto Carlos, are not something casual. So say the authors of the report prepared by two NGOs on human rights.

The document reports that in the season 2016-2017 in the stands of the stadiums were registered 89 racism and xenophobia, it is about the matches of the Russian teams in the top division.

Examples of intolerance include the use of Nazi symbols and slogans that insult players of other ethnic groups, blacks or Asians.

In addition, there are cases of humiliation of teams from other regions of the country or discrimination against fans of the opposing team pertaining to minorities.

The last lower was in the 2015-2016 season (101 cases), but they are on the same level as in 2014-2015. Three years ago, it was noted 92 a similar case.

“Russia is quite a diverse country, but this does not mean that she was a stranger to discrimination. Our evidence suggests that black athletes are often heard insulting onomatopoeia, imitating the monkeys,” says Pavel Klimenko from the office Fare in Eastern Europe, one NGO, which registers incidents in Russian football since 2012.

The study shows that immigrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus may also be subject to physical attacks by neo-wing fans and supporters of the extreme right who get into fights on the basis of football.

According to Klimenko, the situation has improved somewhat in anticipation of the world Cup, because the tournament organizers have increased control over the flow of events to present Russia in a more favorable light.

“Incidents can be expected in small towns who are not used to hold big events,” he says.

According to African journalist in London Osasu of Obayuwana (Osasu Obayiuwana), who was a member of the anti-racist group FIFA disbanded in 2016, during the world Cup can hardly be afraid of serious problems.

“However, there is always a risk. We can’t confidently say that nothing will happen,” he says.

According to Obayuwana, who earlier this year criticized FIFA for the termination of the group’s work to combat racism, Russia needs to solve this problem in the first place in a football life.

“In my opinion, a big project of 2018 world Cup would be opposition to the existing Russian fans with racist tendencies. I defended this idea in the group of FIFA, which was abolished,” he says.


The local organizing Committee of the world Cup 2018 has set up a special unit to combat potential cases of abuse on racial grounds, which may take place in the course of the tournament. Alexey Smertin, the former halfback “Chelsea” and Russian national team in the 2002 world Cup, was invited to lead this project.

In 2015, he said that in Russian football there is no racism. However, later revised his opinion.

“Russia is a hospitable country. We need to educate people in such matters as discrimination, prejudice, norms of behavior. People have to go to the stadium to support their team, not to hurt others,” he says.

The organizing Committee of world Cup and FIFA in one voice say that the work done in the area of fighting racism, will have “excellent results”.

“Our country is open to the world. Moscow is home to people from over 150 different countries. At the Confederations Cup everyone was shouting “Cameroon, Cameroon!” I don’t think in the world Cup we will face in racism,” said Folha head of the Committee Alexei Sorokin.

For three years, as the Russian football Union is trying to prevent the insults on racial and ethnic grounds, which regularly occur at stadiums. Because of the chants, banners and slogans with this kind of abuse a number of clubs in recent years have faced serious fines.