The long read: For the past twenty years the Russian nation has encouraged groups of violent 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 hindered a framed photo of Joseph Goebbels in his bedroom, took part in his first street contend, his mother prepared him a packed lunch. During the past 12 times, the Moscow-based MMA fighter has become a rising star of the extreme right, after melee his mode up through the grades of one of Russia’s top bully 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, replenished his rucksack with nutrient and heated clothes.
Nikitin took a six-hour bus razz to the match, but he had not bought air tickets.( His chap hooligans joke that, in the past decade, he has been inside a football stadium fewer than five times .) Since his family had moved from Moscow to Germany a few years earlier, their own interests had narrowed to far-right politics and brutality. Nikitin’s local “team” was calling Hamburg- a city whose left-wing backers were a favourite target of the far-right Cologne bullies. Nikitin’s hobbies just happened to intersect at football.
At around midnight, as two buses carrying Cologne’s backers approached Hamburg, person hollered: “They’re here.” Through the window, Nikitin interpreted around 30 Hamburg hooligans in front of private vehicles. It seemed curious- the 90 -odd Cologne hooligans on the bus vastly outnumbered the men outside. It would not has become a fair fighting. Nikitin disembarked, led to a nearby undergrowth, and set his rucksack beneath the forks. Then he ogled up. On the guardrail of an overlooking footbridge he saw a line of silhouettes- at least 70 mortals, to add to the 30 in front of the coaches. An waylay, then.
Nikitin remembers leading toward the Hamburg bully. He picked out his first target and, from behind, territory a running punch. As the man twisted in offend, Nikitin realised he had impressed one of his own side.” Oh, fuck ,” he hollered,” sorry, sorry, sorry, human .” The fighting was chaotic; in the dark “its hard to” pick out team colour, buttons or scarves. With the panic of a person who wants to immediately put right a incorrect after it is shaped, Nikitin jumped on another silhouette and began striking him in the pate. This, too, was a Cologne supporter.
Blushing under his balaclava, Nikitin waited for some kind of signaling. Minutes later it came. One of the Hamburg hooligans came guiding at him, screaming defamation. Nikitin, wearing gauntlets strung with metal pellets, landed a sucker punch on the screamer. As the man descended to the sand, Nikitin readied a follow-up punch. Before it connected, a competitive follower attracted off Nikitin’s balaclava, and began pummelling his face. Nikitin break-dance free and started ranging for the buses, over ground scattered with fallen phones and purses. Back at the road, exclusively one vehicle remained; the other driver had fled.
As the remaining bus drew away, Nikitin looked at the men around him, their faces flashed with browning blood, and felt a upsurge of euphoria. It had not run unnoticed that he was one of the last servicemen to get back on board. In his leads’ nodding approving, Nikitin knowledge the first even , not just of belonging, but of something close to a announcing.” The media professes that people like me will end up alone in prison, or as an alcoholic, or depressed ,” he told me last year.” This is considered your inescapable fate as a Nazi football hooligan. It is a lie .”
In the summer of 2016, the Russian football hooligan, previously a county kind of bogeyman, padded on to the international arena at the European Championship in France. On 10 June, an estimated 150 Russians sunken on Marseille’s Old Port. They moved in orderly phalanxes, responding any England backers they ran into with extravagant savagery. One England fan had his Achilles tendons sliced. Two English males were left in a lethargy, one of whom was left paralysed on the left-hand area of his figure( his alleged assailant, missed for attempted assassination, was arrested in Germany in February ). Another man apparently passed home on the Eurostar with glass from a shattered bottle still lodged in his neck.
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