Thursday, 21 June 2018

Sorry Russophobes and Neocons, the World Cup in Russia is Off to a Flyer

The World Cup in Russia is off to a flyer, serving up a feast of football amid the special and unique atmosphere generated by this quadrennial event. Fans from every corner of the globe having been packing the stadiums, some of them custom-built, reminding us that despite our differences we are one human family.

However not everyone is happy. For Russophobes and neocons the success of the World Cup in Russia is something to mourn rather than celebrate, interfering as it does with their relentless demonisation of a country, in Russia, which refuses to know its place as a subaltern power, home to retrograde cultural values, relative to the West.

In fact given the intensity of anti-Russia invective that has played out in the Western mainstream media these past few years, many watching the World Cup will have been genuinely surprised to know that, yes, the sun actually shines in Russia too; and that, yes, its people are not oppressed and living in gulags.

Consider for a moment the sentiments of Guardian journalist Shaun Walker — in Volgograd along with thousands of his English compatriots in advance of England's opening match Group G match against Tunisia:

The England fans I've met in Volgograd so far are absolutely loving it. "It's the opposite of what we expected, everyone has been amazingly welcoming. Last night was brilliant — couldn't ask for a better start to a world cup trip".

"The opposite of what we expected," Mr Walker tweets, which isn't a surprise considering the wall to wall anti-Russia propaganda the Guardian spews out on a near daily basis. There was no more craven an example of this than an article by the newspaper's Diplomatic editor, Patrick Wintour, just prior to the tournament, in which he conveyed without challenge the 'warning' by 'various MPs' that England fans travelling to the tournament were putting themselves at serious risk of abuse and attack.

The Guardian also carried an opinion piece in the run up to the tournament, the title of which — 'Robbie Williams selling soul to dictator Putin in World Cup gig' — only served to confirm why the liberal newspaper's decline has been so rapid. Anyway, having watched Robbie Williams' performance at the opening ceremony, there are grounds for arguing that it was Putin who sold his soul to bad music.

So yes for smug liberals, unreconstructed neocons (such as the cranks over at the Henry Jackson Society) and Russophobes of every stripe, their personal idea of hell has arrived in the shape of a successful, joyous and celebratory World Cup in Russia, involving beautiful football on the pitch and a coming together of different cultures and nationalities off it in a spirit of togetherness and amity. Just imagine their pain; years spent churning out anti-Russia articles, opinion pieces, speeches and books, only to see it all debunked over the course of just a few days.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, June 21st, 2018.]

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