Russia prepares to welcome 1m visitors for the World Cup

VLADIMIR PUTIN rarely speaks English in public, but he made an exception in 2010, when Russia won the right to host the World Cup in 2018. “From bottom of my heart, thank you,” he told the FIFA organising committee. For Mr Putin the tournament, like the Sochi Olympics in 2014, offered a chance to showcase Russia’s revival under his leadership. “We want to show to the world the new Russia, open and hospitable in every sense,” said the sports minister at the time, Vitaly Mutko.

Since then Russia’s actions on the world stage have been anything but friendly. Its annexation of Crimea in 2014, the war in eastern Ukraine and military intervention in Syria have cast a pall over relations with the West. Mr Mutko himself landed at the centre of the Sochi Winter Olympics doping scandal. (Mr Putin rewarded him with a promotion to deputy prime minister.) The poisoning of a former spy, Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury earlier this year led to calls from the British government for officials to…

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Source:: The Economits – Europe


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