This is Russia’s big test

Dmitry Podyapolsky Dmitry Podyapolsky

I’m very happy that we will host the World Cup, and this is the biggest football holiday for Russian fans, because for most people, this is the only chance to see the world’s best players and meet their idols.

Thanks to the World Cup, our government finally started building new arenas, and I think this is one of the biggest positives of hosting such a major event. Russian football is well known for our bad stadiums. The World Cup will leave a huge heritage for our football and the host cities. We desperately needed to promote football in Russia, and push people to visit a stadium and support their favourite team in a comfortable place, instead of sitting at home and watching it on TV.

Personally, I don’t think it is going to help the Russian economy. This is the other side of the coin. We are experiencing a really difficult economic crisis and things did not get better after the huge economic load of the World Cup preparations. This is the main argument of local opponents of hosting the World Cup, and I have to admit it is not far from the truth. Also, add Russia’s corruption factor and it doesn’t paint the prettiest of pictures. The tournament became a tool for the greedy to get rich. The prices for any rentable house has soared incredibly high.

The World Cup is a huge test for Russia’s ability to host major sports events, and the better we deal with it, the better will be the future of Russian sports. And, this time, it touches everyone here—from the government to the regular people.

Each of the host cities has its own special diamonds to see, and this is another reason for any foreign fan to stay here in Russia for a little bit longer. Moscow’s Kremlin, St. Petersburg’s museums, Kaliningrad’s architecture, Volgograd’s churches and many more. Every city is different with its own culture.

I don’t think the World Cup will improve Russia’s image for those who are looking for reasons to bad-mouth Russia. I want to believe that fans who will visit our country will see that we are different from what the press in the west says about us. We welcome everyone who is coming here with good intentions.

Dmitry is an engineer from Krasnozavodsk, Russia.

He is a fan of PFC CSKA Moscow.