MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. Russian State Duma member Dmitry Svishchyov has slammed British media for using Russia’s Shrovetide festivities as a weapon in a propaganda campaign over the World Football Cup finals Russia is to host in 2018.
The British tabloid Daily Mirror on Tuesday illustrated an article brimming with allegations about threats to English fans from their Russian counterparts that may be in store at the 2018 World Football Cup finals with pictures taken during Shrovetide outdoor festivities in Moscow’s Izmailovo Park on February 25, 2017. The pictures showing phoney fist fights were accompanied by captions describing the cruelty of Russia’s extremist football fans.
"Our traditional holiday - Shrovetide - has been used as a propaganda weapon by British mass media," Svishchyov said. "The guys’ faces in the picture look quite normal, although very serious. I’ve chanced to see far more terrible photos of drunken fans at British football stadiums. The British origin of the word ‘hooligan’ is quite telling, too."
Svishchyov sees the article in the Daily Mirror as yet another punch in a string of attacks against Russian sports.
"That’s fresh evidence of the hysteria our foreign counterparts have plunged into in their attempts to discredit the image and prestige of Russian sport and everything good that we have been doing," he said. "Everybody is aware that the forthcoming World Cup is greater in scale than the Olympic Games. Many football powers are unable to reconcile with the realities and get very nervous while trying to make use of a hypothetical chance to prove why Russia should not be allowed to host the World Cup."
He recalled that Russia was making very serious preparations for the tournament.
"Russia is very serious about the security of sports events. We have special legislation on that score and special divisions of law enforcement agencies responsible for that," he said.
Earlier, the British Broadcasting Corporation (the BBC) aired a documentary about Russian fans who, as it claims, look forward to taking vengeance on English fans during the 2018 World Cup for the clashes that occurred at the European Cup in Marseille in June 2016.