Moon of Alabama — June 20, 2018
The “western” reporting on the World Cup in Russia is a stream of continuous Russia bashing. Some positive remarks are made about the obviously excellent atmosphere and organization. But no piece gets published that does not include a reinforcement of the official anti-Russian propaganda lines.
Alec Luhn is the “Russia correspondent for The @Telegraph”. Shaun Walker is a correspondent for the British Guardian who is “Covering central and eastern Europe for The Guardian.” This week both were in Volgograd, the former Stalingrad, to report on the World Cup game between England and Tunisia.
On Monday Alec Luhn wrote about the excellent welcome the English fans received:
“It’s been brilliant,” said Adam Haimes, 29, a geologist and Plymouth Argyle supporter drinking in the fan zone, set up on the west bank of the mighty Volga River. “I have had absolutely zero problems. All sorts of Russians have come up to us and are being friendly and just wanting to have drinks with us. I didn’t expect it but they are so lovely.”
That positive picture of Russia can not, of course, stand alone. Luhn thus mentions the “threat of violence”, the “attempted assassination of the Russian spy Sergei Skripal”, “ratcheted up tensions”, “Russian Ultras” and “Volgograd’s local hoodlums”.
On Tuesday evening Shaun Walker wrote a piece for the Guardian which followed a similar scheme:
[T]hose who came were almost uniformly positive about the experience so far. At a central Volgograd bar in the early hours of Tuesday, Craig and Tommy, two Sunderland fans, were practising Russian phrases with obliging locals and said they had spent three days in “fantastic” Volgograd, bonding with the locals and taking military history tours.
“We’re sick of people talking about trouble. If you’re respectful there won’t be any problems,” said Tommy.
Reading Walker’s piece would make Tommy even sicker. It repeats all the usual propaganda points: “unprecedented tension”, “strongly critical of Russian authorities”, “poisoning of Sergei Skripal”, “1936 Olympics, held in Nazi Germany” and “safety of LGBT fans”.
After having delivered their propaganda routines Luhn and Walker joined the English fans in a local pub.
Alec Luhn @ASLuhn – 00:02 UTC – 19 Jun 2018
Harat’s Pub, Volgograd, 3 am. 100 or so drunk British fans, some Tunisians, and some Russian guys who just chanted something about “jugend SS.” What could wrong?
Shaun Walker @shaunwalker7 – 00:32 UTC – 19 Jun 2018
3.30am, dawn breaks over this pub in Volgograd – English, Tunisian, russian fans all hammered and having a good time. Zero security or police, surprisingly. Did hear a group of three Russians sing a “Hitler Jugend, SS” song. Otherwise all very peaceful and friendly.
3.30am, dawn breaks over this pub in Volgograd – English, Tunisian, russian fans all hammered and having a good time. Zero security or police, surprisingly. Did hear a group of three Russians sing a "Hitler Jugend, SS" song. Otherwise all very peaceful and friendly. pic.twitter.com/kSF884drmE
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) June 19, 2018