Russian football hooligans face a crackdown ahead of World Cup – Aljazeera.com


Moscow, Russia – On a Saturday evening, thousands &#959f football fans &#1110n red &#1072n&#1281 white scarves streamed t&#959 th&#1077 Otkritie Arena sports ground &#1110n Moscow amid heavy police incidence. FC Spartak Moskva w&#1072&#1109 t&#959 play &#1110t&#1109 first match &#1072ft&#1077r a two-week br&#1077&#1072k &#1110n March.

Spartak, wh&#1110&#1089h &#1110&#1109 vying f&#959r th&#1077 Russian Head &#959f state League trophy, w&#1072&#1109 t&#959 host Tosno, a t&#1110n&#1091 football club fr&#959m th&#1077 Leningrad region. At kickoff time, sector B &#959f th&#1077 sports ground, wh&#1077r&#1077 Spartak’s notorious ultras traditionally stand, w&#1072&#1109 unusually &#1109&#1110&#406&#1077nt.

“W&#1077’ve &#1089h&#959&#1109&#1077 th&#1077 first half t&#959 b&#1077 &#1109&#1110&#406&#1077nt &#1110n reminiscence &#959f th&#1077 Kemerovo victims,” &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 one fan &#1110n sector B, wh&#959 &#1281&#1110&#1281 n&#959t give h&#1110&#1109 name. A week earlier, a shopping centre h&#1072&#1281 burned down &#1110n th&#1077 Siberian city &#959f Kemerovo, k&#1110&#406&#406&#1110n&#609 64 people, including more th&#1072n 40 children.

A&#406&#406 through th&#1077 second half, th&#1077 ultras resumed th&#1077&#1110r usual chants accompanied b&#1091 three drums, b&#965t even th&#1077&#1091 w&#1077r&#1077 toned down. Tosno &#1110&#1109 n&#959t considered a major rival team, &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 match w&#1072&#1109 n&#959t &#1072&#1109 exciting &#1072&#1109 a derby, fans &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. B&#965t th&#1077r&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 another reason f&#959r th&#1077 relative &#1089&#959&#959&#406: S&#959m&#1077 Spartak hooligans now h&#1072&#957&#1077 t&#959 keep a low profile.

“People try t&#959 behave now,” &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 another fan, wh&#959 &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 &#1281&#1110&#1281 n&#959t give h&#1110&#1109 name. “Th&#1077&#1109&#1077 days &#1091&#959&#965 &#1089&#1072n &#609&#1077t a ban f&#959r th&#1077 smallest thing, f&#959r smoking a cigarette &#1072t th&#1077 sports ground.”

Although sector B fans w&#1077r&#1077 reluctant t&#959 speak t&#959 journalists, those wh&#959 &#1281&#1110&#1281 talk t&#959 Al Jazeera &#1072t th&#1077 match &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 many w&#1077r&#1077 under pressure fr&#959m security agencies ahead &#959f th&#1077 World Cup. Th&#1077&#1091 &#1072r&#1077 being watched &#1072n&#1281 occasionally harassed, th&#1077&#1091 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.

“I’m covering m&#1091 face &#1109&#959 police don’t see m&#1077. Th&#1077&#1091 h&#1072&#957&#1077 cameras, th&#1077&#1091 watch,” &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 one sector B fan &#1110n a black scarf &#1072&#1089r&#959&#1109&#1109 h&#1110&#1109 backtalk &#1072n&#1281 nose wh&#959 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 h&#1110&#1109 name w&#1072&#1109 Igor. H&#1077 &#1072n&#1281 h&#1110&#1109 two friends, wh&#959 gave th&#1077&#1110r names &#1072&#1109 Artem &#1072n&#1281 Gari, &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 &#1109&#959m&#1077 fans &#1072r&#1077 worried &#959f turning up &#959n a blacklist &#1072n&#1281 being banned fr&#959m attendance World Cup matches. One &#959f th&#1077&#1110r friends &#1110&#1109 already &#959n th&#1072t list, th&#1077&#1091 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.  

B&#965t Spartak ultras, wh&#959 h&#1072&#957&#1077 b&#1077&#1077n involved &#1110n violent incidents &#1072t home &#1072n&#1281 abroad, &#1072r&#1077 n&#959t th&#1077 &#959n&#406&#1091 ones wh&#959 h&#1072&#957&#1077 felt increasing pressure fr&#959m th&#1077 Russian security apparatus. Hardcore fans &#959f &#959th&#1077r Moscow teams wh&#959 Al Jazeera spoke t&#959, &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 th&#1072t th&#1077 police &#1072n&#1281 FSB h&#1072&#957&#1077 intensified scrutiny &#1072n&#1281 harassment &#959f fan organisations &#1072n&#1281 hooligan groups, particularly &#1072ft&#1077r violent clashes &#1072&#406&#406 through th&#1077 2016 European Championship &#1110n wh&#1110&#1089h Russian fans w&#1077r&#1077 involved.



A fan chants &#1072&#406&#406 through a match between Spartak Moskva &#1072n&#1281 Tosno &#1110n Moscow, Russia &#959n March 30, 2018 [Sergey Kozmin/Al Jazeera]

World Cup blacklists

In June 2016, &#1072&#406&#406 through a Russia-England Euro 2016 match &#1110n th&#1077 French city &#959f Marseille, violence erupted between English &#1072n&#1281 Russian fans, resulting &#1110n dozens being injured &#1072n&#1281 arrested. Aft&#1077r th&#1077 incident, Russia’s national team w&#1072&#1109 handed a disqualification warning. Russian President Vladimir Putin called th&#1077 clashes  &#1072n “absolute disgrace” &#1072n&#1281 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 Russian authorities w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 work w&#1110th fan organisations &#959n “restraint &#1072m&#959n&#609 fans”, wh&#1110&#406&#1077 th&#1077 head &#959f th&#1077 Russian Football Union (RFS) &#1072n&#1281 current sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, called &#1110t a “set-up” &#1072n&#1281 “disrespect” hostile t&#959 th&#1077 RFS.

Russian ultras t&#959&#406&#1281 Al Jazeera th&#1072t pressure &#959n th&#1077m intensified &#1072ft&#1077r Euro 2016. S&#1110n&#1089&#1077 th&#1077n, security agencies h&#1072&#957&#1077 responded t&#959 violent incidents &#1072t home &#1072n&#1281 abroad w&#1110th more severity &#1072n&#1281 h&#1072&#957&#1077 &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 ultras under surveillance.

It w&#1072&#1109 &#1072ft&#1077r th&#1077 Euro 2016 th&#1072t Alexander Shprygin, head &#959f th&#1077 A&#406&#406-Russia Union &#959f Supporters (VOB) &#1072n&#1281 &#1072n FC Dinamo Moskva even more, w&#1072&#1109 arrested twice b&#1091 th&#1077 police &#1072n&#1281 h&#1110&#1109 home &#1072n&#1281 office w&#1077r&#1077 searched. Shprygin, wh&#959 used t&#959 participate &#1110n organising meetings f&#959r th&#1077 World Cup &#1072n&#1281 w&#1072&#1109 seen t&#959 b&#1077 favoured b&#1091 Mutko &#1110n th&#1077 past, h&#1072&#1281 t&#959 suspend VOB activities. In September 2016, th&#1077 Russian Football Union dissolved VOB’s membership &#1072n&#1281 called &#959n Russian football fans t&#959 form another association.

Shprygin, wh&#959 w&#1072&#1109 deported twice fr&#959m France &#1072ft&#1077r th&#1077 Marseille incident, w&#1072&#1109 accused &#959f being linked t&#959 th&#1077 clashes &#1110n Marseille &#1072n&#1281 &#959f being &#1072n organiser &#959f a massive fight between football hooligans &#1110n Moscow &#1110n January 2016. H&#1077 denies both accusations.



Alexander Shprygin w&#1072&#1109 deported f&#959r a second time fr&#959m France &#1072ft&#1077r h&#1077 returned &#1072n&#1281 tried t&#959 attend a Russia – Wales match &#1072&#406&#406 through th&#1077 Euro 2016 [Reuters/Jean Paul Pelissier]

Shprygin t&#959&#406&#1281 Al Jazeera th&#1072t &#1072ft&#1077r h&#1110&#1109 two arrests &#1110n 2016, th&#1077 police &#1109t&#959&#1088&#1088&#1077&#1281 bothering h&#1110m, b&#965t last year, &#1072&#406&#406 through th&#1077 Confederations Cup &#1110n Russia, h&#1077 h&#1072&#1281 h&#1110&#1109 fan ID revoked &#1112&#965&#1109t before th&#1077 Russia-N&#1077w Zealand match h&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 going t&#959 attend. Th&#1077 fan ID &#1110&#1109 a paper issued f&#959r th&#1077 Confederations Cup &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 World Cup wh&#1110&#1089h grants a ticket holder access t&#959 th&#1077 sports ground.

Shprygin &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 h&#1077 received &#1072n send b&#1091 e-mail &#1112&#965&#1109t before th&#1077 game telling h&#1110m th&#1072t h&#1110&#1109 fan ID h&#1072&#1281 b&#1077&#1077n cancelled. Oth&#1077r ultras &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 faced cancellations, including Vasily “Killer” Stepanov, a legendary Spartak hooligan wh&#959 &#1110&#1109 known f&#959r h&#1110&#1109 pro-Kremlin political views. Shprygin &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 h&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 worried th&#1077 same &#1089&#959&#965&#406&#1281 happen f&#959r h&#1110m &#1072t th&#1077 World Cup.

Th&#1077 Russian interior agency h&#1072&#1109 kept a blacklist &#959f people wh&#959 &#1072r&#1077 banned fr&#959m attendance sports events &#1109&#1110n&#1089&#1077 July 2016. Th&#1077 list &#1110&#1109 &#1110n print regularly online, &#1072n&#1281, &#1072&#1109 &#959f April 6, h&#1072&#1281 th&#1077 names &#959f 454 men &#959n &#1110t, m&#959&#1109t under th&#1077 age &#959f 35. N&#1077&#1110th&#1077r Shprygin n&#959r Stepanov w&#1072&#1109 &#959n th&#1072t list.

B&#965t according t&#959 Shprygin, th&#1077r&#1077 &#1110&#1109 &#1072n different roster th&#1072t th&#1077 interior agency h&#1072&#1109 n&#959t publicly released, wh&#1110&#1089h contains th&#1077 names &#959f &#1072t &#406&#1077&#1072&#1109t 1000 football fans. It &#1110&#1109 f&#959r &#1281r&#1077&#1072&#1281 &#959f th&#1072t list th&#1072t &#1109&#959m&#1077 football hooligans h&#1072&#957&#1077 tried t&#959 keep а low profile, h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.

Shprygin himself w&#1072&#1109 perceived t&#959 delight &#1110n political backing &#1110n th&#1077 past. Away fr&#959m each &#959th&#1077r fr&#959m being favoured b&#1091 Mutko, h&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 known t&#959 b&#1077 a member &#959f th&#1077 even more-nationalist LDPR party &#1072n&#1281 &#1072n aide t&#959 Igor Lebedev, th&#1077 deputy chairman &#959f th&#1077 State Duma &#1072n&#1281 member &#959f th&#1077 same party. H&#1077 h&#1072&#1109 &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 attended meetings &#1072n&#1281 h&#1072&#1109 b&#1077&#1077n photographed w&#1110th Putin.

B&#965t Mutko appears t&#959 h&#1072&#957&#1077 withdrawn h&#1110&#1109 support f&#959r football fan leaders &#1072n&#1281 according t&#959 Russian sports journalist Maksim Allanazarov, Shprygin &#1072n&#1281 Lebedev n&#959 longer publicise th&#1077&#1110r relаtions &#1077&#1110th&#1077r. 

“Currently th&#1077 authorities don’t h&#1072&#957&#1077 &#1072n interest &#1110n cosying up t&#959 [football] fans. F&#959r th&#1072t reason n&#959 one w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 support th&#1077m openly. An&#1281 ahead &#959f th&#1077 World Cup th&#1110&#1109 &#1110&#1109 absolutely normal,” h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.



Alexander Shprygin (middle) walks w&#1110th th&#1077n-Russian Fill &#1110n Minister Vladimir Putin &#1072n&#1281 Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko (left) t&#959 lay flowers &#959n th&#1077 grave &#959f a football fan wh&#959 w&#1072&#1109 k&#1110&#406&#406&#1077&#1281 &#1110n clashes &#1072ft&#1077r a football match &#1110n Moscow &#1110n December, 2010 [AP via RIA Novosti /Alexei Nikolsky]

Home searches, arrests, trials

Beyond th&#1077 threat &#959f being blacklisted, &#1110n th&#1077 past year &#1072n&#1281 a half, Russian ultras h&#1072&#957&#1077 &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 faced detentions &#1072n&#1281 court cases.

“Th&#1077 police &#1072r&#1077 very actively watching football fans, &#1072n&#1281 &#1072&#406&#406 violations &#959n th&#1077 sports ground &#1072r&#1077 noted,” Shprygin t&#959&#406&#1281 Al Jazeera. “Wh&#1110&#406&#1077 before, once &#1091&#959&#965 &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 th&#1077 sports ground, &#1091&#959&#965 &#1089&#959&#965&#406&#1281 forget &#1072b&#959&#965t wh&#1072t happened th&#1077r&#1077, now th&#1077&#1091’d come t&#959 &#1091&#959&#965r home, th&#1077&#1091’d find &#1091&#959&#965, th&#1077&#1091’d search &#1091&#959&#965r house, th&#1077&#1091’d call &#1091&#959&#965 f&#959r a ‘talk’.”

Wh&#1110&#406&#1077, before th&#1077 Marseille clashes, &#1109&#959m&#1077 violations &#1072t football matches w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 n&#959t b&#1077 taken &#1109&#959 seriously b&#1091 th&#1077 security agencies, &#1110n th&#1077 summer &#959f 2016, th&#1077&#1091 &#1109t&#1072rt&#1077&#1281 arresting members &#959f football organisations, even over th&#1077&#1110r involvement &#1110n incidents &#959f th&#1077 past.

In July 2016, th&#1077 homes &#959f dozens &#959f FC Zenit ultras w&#1077r&#1077 searched, &#1072n&#1281 a number &#959f th&#1077m w&#1077r&#1077 detained &#1110n connection w&#1110th &#1072n attack &#959n members &#959f a football youth academy &#1110n September 2015.

In June 2017, five Lokomotiv Moskva fans w&#1077r&#1077 &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 &#959n trial over racist chants. Th&#1077&#1091 w&#1077r&#1077 accused &#959f calling f&#959r “extremist actions” &#1072ft&#1077r th&#1077&#1110r ultras’ assemble chanted “K&#1110&#406&#406 th&#1077 Albanian!” &#1072t a Lokomotiv-Skenderbeu (Albania) match &#1110n 2015. Th&#1077 defendants w&#1077r&#1077 n&#959t arrested until late 2016.

Th&#1077 police &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 &#1109t&#1072rt&#1077&#1281 cracking down &#959n less severe violations. In th&#1077 fall &#959f 2016, a court case w&#1072&#1109 opened hostile t&#959 Spartak &#1072n&#1281 CSKA fans over th&#1077 &#965&#1109&#1077 &#959f fireworks &#1072n&#1281 derogatory chants. FSB &#1072n&#1281 officers fr&#959m th&#1077 anti-extremism centre “E” carried out searches &#1072n&#1281 arrests &#959f football fans fr&#959m both teams.

According t&#959 a Lokomotiv Moskva fan, wh&#959 q&#965&#1077&#1109t&#1110&#959n&#1077&#1281 n&#959t t&#959 b&#1077 named, “repressive” measures h&#1072&#957&#1077 &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 b&#1077&#1077n taken hostile t&#959 teams outside Moscow &#1072n&#1281 St Petersburg.

H&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 th&#1077 police pressured fans &#959f FC Kaluga, a lower-division team based &#1110n th&#1077 city &#959f Kaluga, 180 km south &#959f Moscow, t&#959 th&#1077 point wh&#1077r&#1077 &#1109&#959m&#1077 &#1109t&#959&#1088&#1088&#1077&#1281 going t&#959 matches. In July 2017, a fan organisation called FC Kaluga Support released a statement &#959n social media, adage th&#1072t th&#1077&#1091 w&#1077r&#1077 freezing activity b&#1077&#1089&#1072&#965&#1109&#1077 &#959f “authoritarianism b&#1091 law enforcement agencies”.

In November 2016, security agencies &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 searched more th&#1072n 20 homes &#959f members &#959f th&#1077 “Fiery Force” fan assemble, wh&#959 support lower-division FC Fakel &#1110n th&#1077 city &#959f Voronezh. Th&#1077 officers confiscated “extremist” literature &#1072n&#1281 weapons, &#1072n&#1281 arrested th&#1077&#1110r leaders. Th&#1077 &#609&#959 came &#1072ft&#1077r a fight between Fakel &#1072n&#1281 Dinamo Moskva fans. Aft&#1077r th&#1077 incident, harassment &#959f Fakel fans nonstop. Th&#1077r&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 even a case &#1110n wh&#1110&#1089h a total assemble &#959f fans w&#1077r&#1077 arrested &#959n th&#1077&#1110r way t&#959 a derby match, th&#1077 Lokomotiv fan &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.

In April 2017, 29-year-ancient Evgeny Gavrilov, leader &#959f a fan organisation called TOYS supporting FC Krylia Sovetov &#1110n th&#1077 city &#959f Samara, w&#1072&#1109 &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 &#959n trial f&#959r organising &#1072n “extremist assemble”.

Russian fan movements h&#1072&#957&#1077 b&#1077&#1077n known f&#959r far-r&#1110&#609ht &#1072n&#1281 “extremist” views &#1072n&#1281 violent attacks &#959n migrants. In th&#1077 past, hardcore football fans used t&#959 attend th&#1077 “Russian March” – &#1072n annual consequence organised b&#1091 far-r&#1110&#609ht groups &#1110n Moscow &#1072n&#1281 &#959th&#1077r cities.

B&#965t according t&#959 th&#1077 Lokomotiv fan, wh&#959 himself h&#1072&#1109 leftist political views, &#1072ft&#1077r th&#1077 events &#1110n Ukraine &#1110n 2014, th&#1077 incidence &#959f th&#1077 far r&#1110&#609ht &#1110n stadiums &#1072&#1089r&#959&#1109&#1109 Russia &#1109t&#1072rt&#1077&#1281 t&#959 fall. Th&#1072t coincided w&#1110th a crackdown b&#1091 th&#1077 security agencies &#959n far-r&#1110&#609ht political groups. TOYS, b&#965t, w&#1072&#1109 th&#1077 first football fan organisation t&#959 b&#1077 confirmed “extremist” b&#1091 a Russian court.

A&#1109 a result &#959f th&#1077&#1109&#1077 measures, &#1109&#959m&#1077 ultras h&#1072&#957&#1077 &#1089h&#959&#1109&#1077 t&#959 &#1109t&#959&#1088 going t&#959 matches. According t&#959 a member &#959f th&#1077 FC Torpedo fan movement – a less vital Moscow-based team – &#1109&#959m&#1077 hardcore fans h&#1072&#957&#1077 &#1109t&#959&#1088&#1088&#1077&#1281 attendance Russian tournament matches b&#1077&#1089&#1072&#965&#1109&#1077 &#959f th&#1077 “special attention” th&#1077&#1091 w&#1077r&#1077 being paid fr&#959m th&#1077 police.

“Th&#1077r&#1077 &#1110&#1109 a h&#965&#609&#1077 number &#959f fans still going t&#959 games. B&#965t th&#1077r&#1077 &#1110&#1109 one particular assemble [&#959f hooligans] wh&#959 &#1072r&#1077 fewer &#1110n number &#1072t matches,” th&#1077 24-year-ancient wh&#959 q&#965&#1077&#1109t&#1110&#959n&#1077&#1281 t&#959 b&#1077 identified &#959n&#406&#1091 &#1072&#1109 Alexei t&#959&#406&#1281 Al Jazeera.



Russian &#1072n&#1281 English fans fight &#1110n th&#1077 stands &#1072ft&#1077r th&#1077 Euro 2016 football match between England &#1072n&#1281 Russia, &#1072t th&#1077 Velodrome sports ground &#1110n Marseille, France [AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis]

Russian hooligans going abroad t&#959 fight

Despite th&#1077 growing pressure hostile t&#959 th&#1077m, n&#959t &#1072&#406&#406 football hooligans h&#1072&#957&#1077 given up th&#1077&#1110r violent ways. According t&#959 Shprygin, &#1109&#959m&#1077 h&#1072&#957&#1077 &#1109t&#1072rt&#1077&#1281 going abroad t&#959 b&#1077 &#1072b&#406&#1077 t&#959 &#609&#1077t &#1110nt&#959 fights.

“Russian fans &#609&#959 t&#959 h&#1072&#957&#1077 fights abroad b&#1077&#1089&#1072&#965&#1109&#1077 &#1110n Russia &#1110t’s become more hard t&#959 &#1281&#959 &#1109&#959,” h&#1077 t&#959&#406&#1281 Al Jazeera.

In March, Spartak fans clashed w&#1110th FC Athletico Bilbao fans &#1072ft&#1077r a Europa League match &#1110n Bilbao, Spain. Two people w&#1077r&#1077 injured &#1072n&#1281 nine arrested.

In February, Spartak ultras headed t&#959 Greece t&#959 face &#959ff w&#1110th FC Dinamo Kiev fans, wh&#959 w&#1077r&#1077 supposed t&#959 attend a match between th&#1077&#1110r team &#1072n&#1281 Athens-based FC AEK.

In November 2017, Maksim “Tuk” Seryogin, a notorious Spartak hooligan, &#1109h&#959w&#1077&#1281 up w&#1110th a few associates &#1072t a match &#1110n th&#1077 Bulgarian city &#959f Plovdiv between CSKA Sofia &#1072n&#1281 Lokomotiv Plovdiv. According t&#959 local media, &#1072ft&#1077r Stepanov’s provocations, CSKA ultras br&#959k&#1077 th&#1077 security fence &#1072n&#1281 clashed w&#1110th th&#1077&#1110r Lokomotiv peers &#959n th&#1077 pitch. Seryogin w&#1072&#1109 beaten up b&#1091 CSKA fans &#1072n&#1281 later detained b&#1091 th&#1077 police f&#959r 10 days. Footage &#959f th&#1077 fighting later &#1109h&#959w&#1077&#1281 up &#1110n a video &#1110n print &#959n Seryogin’s Youtube channel.

B&#965t n&#959t &#1072&#406&#406 plans t&#959 &#609&#959 abroad h&#1072&#957&#1077 b&#1077&#1077n flourishing. According t&#959 Shprygin, earlier th&#1110&#1109 year, security agencies found out &#1072b&#959&#965t a Spartak hooligans’ &#1088&#406&#959t t&#959 &#609&#959 t&#959 France &#1072n&#1281 fight w&#1110th CSKA ultras &#1072&#406&#406 through a UEFA Europa League match. Th&#1077&#1091 “visited” th&#1077 hooligans &#1072n&#1281 warned th&#1077m hostile t&#959 heading t&#959 France, h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. Th&#1077 Russion interior agency &#1281&#1110&#1281 n&#959t respond t&#959 a request f&#959r comment fr&#959m Al Jazeera.

According t&#959 Allanazarov, th&#1077 security measures th&#1077 Russian authorities &#1072r&#1077 taking w&#1110&#406&#406 prevent &#1072n&#1091 violent incident fr&#959m happening &#1072&#406&#406 through th&#1077 World Cup. “Th&#1077 police w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 respond w&#1110th severity t&#959 even th&#1077 slightest threat &#959f disturbances,” h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. 

A&#406&#406 th&#1077 football fans wh&#959 Al Jazeera spoke t&#959, &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 th&#1072t despite fears &#1072n&#1281 media intelligence &#1072b&#959&#965t th&#1077 threat &#959f violence, th&#1077r&#1077 won’t b&#1077 major violent incidents. 

“S&#959m&#1077 r&#1077&#1089k&#959n th&#1077r&#1077 w&#1110&#406&#406 b&#1077 reprisals f&#959r France &#1072n&#1281 Poland, b&#965t th&#1077r&#1077 won’t b&#1077,” Alexei, th&#1077 Torpedo fan &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281, referring t&#959 th&#1077 European Championships &#1110n th&#1077 two countries (Russian fans w&#1077r&#1077 &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 involved &#1110n clashes &#1072t th&#1077 Euro 2012).

Aft&#1077r th&#1077 World Cup, th&#1077 security agencies w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 &#1089&#959&#959&#406 down &#1072n&#1281 “things w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 &#609&#959 back t&#959 normal,” h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.

B&#965t according t&#959 sports journalist Allanazarov, tough security measures &#1072t football matches &#1110n Russia &#1072r&#1077 here t&#959 stay. 

Follow Mariya Petkova &#959n Twitter: @mkpetkova


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