Unser Mann in Moskau!

Was gibt es Neues in Russland? Im Angebot heute Alkohol- und Finanzmissbrauch. Beteiligt: Fans von Dinamo Moskau und Offizielle vom FK Mordovia Saransk. Zusammengefasst von unseren Mann in Moskau.

Amid financial troubles, Saransk fans question new stadium construction

Times are tough at FK Mordovia Saransk. With the club languishing at the bottom of the Russian Premier League (RFPL) table, without a win since 6 November, players’ wages have gone unpaid and fans have begun to question the need for a new stadium.

The financial situation at the club has been critical for some time, with the team having no shirt sponsor for the past six months. At the same time, according to Mordovia defender Vladimir Rykov, he and his fellow players have not received wages for the last three months. This is despite communicating their concerns to the club on several occasions, including by sending an official letter to club management. For their part, the club have claimed that they are trying to resolve the situation and had previously informed players that all wages owed to them would be paid in full by 25 April.

With low expectations that the club’s promises would be fulfilled, the players turned up to their regular training session on 26 April, but refused to take to the field. Instead, according to FK Mordovia spokesperson, Vitaliy Laptev, the players then held a meeting with management in the changing rooms, in the course of which they were once again promised resolution of the situation, supposedly by the end of the week.

Following Tuesday’s boycott, the training session set to take place the following day was cancelled, with club spokesperson Laptev informing press that the players would instead train “at their own discretion” and “according to individual programmes.”

On Thursday, 28 April Mordovia’s official website posted an update declaring that all debts to staff would be cleared within one month of that date; however, with Thursday’s training session also cancelled and spokesperson Laptev claiming that debts had not yet been paid because “money had not yet arrived on the club’s current account,” the forthcoming game between Mordovia and FK Rostov appeared increasingly under threat of falling victim to the intensifying standoff.

Despite assurances from RFPL president, Sergey Pryadkin, that the game would definitely take place, as planned, on 1 May, along with comments from Laptev claiming that a boycott of the match was “off the table,” other elements have suggested that this may not be the case, with defensive midfielder Dalibor Stevanovic suggesting in a TV interview that the team could boycott the game. According to Stevanovic, “at the present time, we are in agreement with our partners that the team will not play the game on Sunday,” adding that “Everyone is on board. We cannot continue any longer.”

With the World Cup finals set to take place in Russia in just over two years’ time, fans of FK Mordovia, among others, have started to question the need to construct a large, modern arena in the city. Twitter user @Radej reacted to the potential boycott by saying “and they’re building a stadium for this lot?”, while @Krasnoyar complained “why is this region getting the World Cup over Krasnodar? What use is a new stadium if there won’t be any more football [there]?”

It is easy to understand the last fan’s frustration, particularly given the fact that Krasnodar is a major city of 750,000 people that plays host to two RFPL clubs. Indeed, after the success of Russia’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup finals, when the details of the proposed tournament were finalised, there was both amusement and not a little derision in the country, given that the relatively small, regional city of Saransk was included on the final list of host cities. Located in the centre of the European part of Russia, within the autonomous Republic of Mordovia, and with a population of less than 300,000 people, Saransk did not seem like an obvious choice for a World Cup venue. This also led to speculation in Russia as to whether some influential figure associated with the bid had a longstanding connection with the city.

FK Mordovia is far from the only club that is experiencing financial issues brought about or worsened by the sanctions regime in force against Russia, imposed due to the ongoing conflict in the Donbass area of Ukraine. For instance, a similar situation to that experienced by Mordovia, played out at RFPL side Kuban Krasnodar, with wages going unpaid for over 6 months before the club’s embattled owner, Oleg Mkrtchyan, was forced to issue gratuitous shares to the regional administrative body of Krasnodar Area, after which the debts were cleared. Meanwhile, the difficult financial situation in the country has badly affected clubs lower down the leagues, with second division National Football League (FNL) clubs Shinnik Yaroslavl, FK Baikal and Luch-Energiya Vladivostok all experiencing serious financial difficulties.

Sources: (in Russian)


Fight breaks out on plane as Dinamo fans celebrate rare victory

Fans of Dinamo Moscow marked the occasion of their first away victory since August with a drunken brawl on the plane that was set to take them back to the capital.

The incident occurred on the evening of 19 March, following Dinamo Moscow’s 1-0 victory over FK Ufa, representing only the second time the team have won away from home this season, with the last victory coming away at Anzhi Makhachkala on 8 August. Dinamo currently sit 11th in the Russian Premier League (RFPL) table after 21 matches.

In scenes more reminiscent of stories involving young British men flying to budget destinations for stag parties, a group of around 30 Dinamo fans, spread across several rows of the aircraft, were shouting and chanting to the irritation of their fellow travellers. The fans had allegedly been drinking heavily and the situation culminated in the assault of another passenger, who had reprimanded the group for their behaviour and received several blows to the face, resulting in head trauma and the loss of two teeth.

One of the Dinamo fans who witnessed the event claimed that the assaulted passenger had himself been drinking, was behaving aggressively and actively “was looking for” a fight with the assailant. He also claimed that a stewardess had been urging the passenger in question to fasten his seat belt prior to the incident.

After the fight broke out, staff called police and a unit was dispatched to meet the plane while it was still taxiing prior to take-off. 152 passengers were on board the Pobeda airlines flight to Moscow at the time of the incident, and one eyewitness praised the quick reactions of the airline staff in dealing with the situation.

In total, six fans were removed from the aircraft by police, despite calls from other passengers to have the entire group of fans expelled from the flight. Three of those removed from the flight were arrested and charged with “minor hooliganism” and “drunk and disorderly behaviour in a public place.” Two were then remanded in custody for a period of fifteen days. Meanwhile, the fans who were permitted to continue their journey on board the flight were reported to have behaved responsibly for the remainder of the trip.

In a reassuring display of football solidarity, a group of Ufa fans attempted to gain access to the incarcerated Dinamo fans in order to provide them with food and basic sanitary supplies; however, police did not allow the Ufa fans to pass on their care package, since only close relatives are allowed to visit prisoners. Despite this, Ufa fan representative Andrei Kolenchenko remained committed to passing on the items, since “all of these guys are from Moscow and have no relatives in Ufa.” He went on to reiterate that the group would “make every effort to help them, in any way possible, during their incarceration.”

The city of Ufa is the capital of Bashkortostan, an oil-rich region with a largely Muslim, Turkic-language speaking populace, located to the South-East of Moscow. The city’s football club, FK Ufa, were only founded in 2010, when Bashkortostan president, Rustem Khamitov, decided that the autonomous republic should aspire to have a team competing in the RFPL. This goal was achieved rapidly, as the team gained promotion to the top division in 2014 via a relegation/promotion playoff victory against Tom Tomsk. The team currently lie 14th in the RFPL table.

Sources: (in Russian)