The long read: For the past the last two decades the Russian commonwealth has encouraged an organization of murderous far-right fans. As the World Cup approaches, it is struggling to tame them. By Simon Parkin
The day that Denis Nikitin, a Russian neo-Nazi who claims he formerly preserved a framed photo of Joseph Goebbels in his bedroom, took part in his first street combat, his mother obliged him a jam-packed lunch. During the past 12 years, the Moscow-based MMA fighter has become a rising star of the extreme right, after rioting his method up through the grades of one of Russia’s top hooligan firms. But on that day, Nikitin says, he was like a schoolboy on his first field trip; his mother, who thought her 22 -year-old son was going to watch a football match, crowded his rucksack with nutrient and heated clothes.
Nikitin took a six-hour bus razz to the parallel, but “hes not” bought air tickets.( His comrade hooligans joke that, in the last few decades, “hes having” been inside a football stadium fewer than five times .) Since their own families had moved from Moscow to Germany a few years earlier, the best interest had narrowed to far-right politics and savagery. Nikitin’s local “team” was inspecting Hamburg- a city whose left-wing followers were a favourite target of the far-right Cologne hooligans. Nikitin’s hobbies just happened to intersect at football.
At around midnight, as two bus carrying Cologne’s supporters approached Hamburg, someone hollered: “They’re here.” Through the window, Nikitin visualized around 30 Hamburg bullies in front of the vehicle. It seemed strange- the 90 -odd Cologne hooligans on the bus greatly outnumbered “the mens” outside. It would not be a fair contend. Nikitin disembarked, extended to a nearby undergrowth, and placed his rucksack beneath the limbs. Then he seemed up. On the guardrail of an overlooking footbridge he saw a line of silhouettes- at least 70 followers, to add to the 30 in front of the coach-and-fours. An ambush, then.
Nikitin remembers operating toward the Hamburg rowdy. He picked out his first target and, from behind, territory a winging perforate. As “the mens” twisted in startle, Nikitin realised he had struck one of his own side.” Oh, fuck ,” he hollered,” sorry, sorry, sorry, soldier .” The contend was chaotic; in the dark it was difficult to pick out crew emblazon, buttons or scarves. With the panic of a person who wants to immediately put right a wrong after it is manufactured, Nikitin hopped on another silhouette and began impressing him in the president. This, very, was a Cologne supporter.
Blushing under his balaclava, Nikitin waited for some kind of signaling. Times later it came. One of the Hamburg hooligans came running at him, bellowing misuse. Nikitin, wearing gauntlets lined with metal pellets, territory a sucker punch on the screamer. As the man fell to the floor, Nikitin readied a follow-up blow. Before it connected, a competitive follower gathered off Nikitin’s balaclava, and began pummelling his face. Nikitin transgressed free and started extending for the buses, over dirt scattered with fallen telephones and billfolds. Back at the road, only one vehicle remained; the other move had fled.
As the remaining bus attracted away, Nikitin looked at the men around him, their faces flecked with browning blood, and felt a upsurge of euphoria. It had not extended unnoticed that he was one of the last beings to get back on board. In his captains’ nodding admiration, Nikitin knew the first flush , not only of belonging, but of something close to a calling.” The media claims that beings like me will end up alone in prison, or as an alcoholic, or depressed ,” he told me last year.” This is considered your inevitable fate as a Nazi football hooligan. It is a lie .”
In the summer of 2016, the Russian football hooligan, previously a provincial kind of bogeyman, padded on to the international stage at the European Championship in France. On 10 June, an estimated 150 Russians descended on Marseille’s Old Port. They moved in orderly phalanxes, reacting any England boosters they ran into with extravagant savagery. One England fan had his Achilles tendons sliced. Two English souls were left in a coma, one of whom was left paralysed on the left-hand side of his form( his alleged assailant, wanted for attempted slaying, was arrested in Germany in February ). Another man reportedly wandered dwelling on the Eurostar with glass from a shattered bottle still lodged in his neck.
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