Over the past couple of years, and especially since they were announced to be World Cup hosts, Russia has been in the spotlight for a variety of reasons, and it’s, often, for the wrong reasons. There have been documentaries showcasing the russian lifestyle, mainly showing communities of Russians who have far-right agendas, as well as Russian hooliganism at football matches. One of these documentaries (Reggie Yates’ Extreme Russia) was first aired on the BBC as to give viewers a look into Russian ideologies, how the people lived and what their views on certain subjects were (e.g. politics). However, since this documentary aired, many Russians have come out and said the documentary did nothing but “Damage Russia’s reputation.”
Compared to print media, digital media, primarily the documentaries based on Russia, put people right in the shoes of someone who’s there, experiencing it. It would be there for viewers to see Russia as it is, though certain scenarios can still be fabricated, compared to print media, it’s much harder to do on camera. Though much has been written about Russia, and interviews given to high ranking government officials that have then been printed, this gives readers another insight as to what’s going on there and the views of Russian people.
ReadRussia, a site dedicated to showcasing various stories and exposing myths on the country, stated that all the documentary did was give people a further impression that Russia is just full of “Neo-Nazi’s, homophobes and child models” which leads in to Russian people feeling that they’re not getting a fair deal and are being unjustly attacked.
Since Russia had been announced as World Cup hosts, a petition has been started on change.org, where the main goal is to “Dismiss Russia as host of the 2018 World Cup.” At the time of writing this post, it currently has 82,369 supporters of this cause. The reasons for doing this are relayed in posts below on the change.org page, where many incidents involving Russia are brought up. Incidents such as the downed Malaysian plane that was linked to have been shot down by Russian weapons, as well as the Ukraine crisis being included and anti gay laws, which some confuse with the banning of homosexuality, however, the anti-gay law that was passed in 2013, is to making “homophobic propaganda” punishable with a fine.
After doing some research regarding the 2018 World Cup in Russia, it was clear to see that most people were against this. I did find, however, that the Russian people themselves were advocates of the World Cup being played in their country, and ensured that safety of visiting fans would be paramount. The debate of what would happen if Russia were denied as World Cup hosts also came up, which lead to the points of not only the Russian people being disappointed, and also the Russian government. Which would make future political negotiations even more difficult.
Many people around Europe believe that Russia is a place simply filled with violence, homophobia, corruption and cold weather. Whilst the last one is true, the rest of those assumptions are exactly that, assumptions. The actions of a few don’t speak for every Russian citizen. It’s a country seeped in history, with amazing views and great people, and everyone is looking forward to a safe and enjoyable World Cup.