The long read: For the past two decades the Russian state has encouraged groups of violent far-right love. 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 once continued a framed picture of Joseph Goebbels in his bedroom, took part in his first street fighting, his mother manufactured him a jam-packed lunch. During the past 12 times, the Moscow-based MMA fighter has become a rising star of the extreme right, after brawling his style up through the grades of one of Russia’s top bully houses. 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 food and heated clothes.
Nikitin took a six-hour bus journey to the accord, but he had not bought air tickets.( His chap bullies 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, his interests had restricted to far-right politics and violence. Nikitin’s neighbourhood “team” was seeing Hamburg- a town whose left-wing followers were a favourite target of the far-right Cologne rowdies. Nikitin’s hobbies just happened to meet at football.
At around midnight, as two buses carrying Cologne’s boosters approached Hamburg, person hollered: “They’re here.” Through the window, Nikitin heard around 30 Hamburg hooligans in front of such vehicles. It seemed odd- the 90 -odd Cologne goons on the bus immensely outnumbered the three men outside. It would not has become a fair combat. Nikitin disembarked, ran to a nearby bush, and gave his rucksack beneath the diverges. Then he seemed up. On the guardrail of an overlooking footbridge he saw a line of silhouettes- at the least 70 soldiers, to add to the 30 in front of the coaches. An waylay, then.
Nikitin remembers guiding toward the Hamburg hooligan. He picked out his first target and, from behind, property a winging punch. As the three men twisted in scandalize, Nikitin realised he had struck one of his own surface.” Oh, fuck ,” he hollered,” sorry, sorry, sorry, soul .” The battle was chaotic; in the dark it was difficult to pick out team colour, buttons or scarves. With the hysterium of a person who wants to instantly put right a incorrect after it is stimulated, Nikitin jumped on another silhouette and began striking him in the brain. This, too, was a Cologne supporter.
Blushing under his balaclava, Nikitin waited for some kind of clue. Minutes afterward it came. One of the Hamburg goon rose guiding at him, screaming insult. Nikitin, wearing gloves strung with metal pellets, territory a sucker punch on the screamer. As the three men fell to the field, Nikitin readied a follow-up jolt. Before it connected, a competitive supporter gathered off Nikitin’s balaclava, and inaugurated pummelling his appearance. Nikitin smashed free and started passing for the bus, over sand scattered with descended phones and purses. Back at the road, merely one vehicle abode; the other operator had fled.
As the remaining bus pulled away, Nikitin looked at the three men around him, their faces streaked with browning blood, and find a rise of euphoria. It had not disappeared unnoticed that he was one of the last mortals to get back on board. In his captains’ gesturing approving, Nikitin knowledge the first redden , not only of belonging, but of something close to a announcing.” The media claims that parties 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 state kind of bogeyman, padded on to the international stage at the European Championship in France. On 10 June, an estimated 150 Russians tumbled on Marseille’s Old Port. They moved in orderly phalanxes, greeting any England allies they ran into with extravagant savagery. One England fan had his Achilles tendons sliced. Two English servicemen were to stay in a coma, one of whom was left paralysed on the left-hand area of his organization( his alleged assailant, required for attempted slaughter, was arrested in Germany in February ). Another man apparently roamed dwelling on the Eurostar with glass from a shattered bottle still lodged in his neck.
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