Russia Goes for Gold in Hooliganism

The Future World Cup Host’s Latest International Sporting Event Antics Only Deepen the Kremlin’s Sense of Isolation

Yaffa of Russia

In authoritarian political systems, sports take on outsized importance. After all, national greatness is part of the bargain. A measure of democratic freedom is traded for strength and victory, whether on the battlefield or in the stadium. That logic holds for Vladimir Putin’s Russia, too—which is why you could say Putin has had very bad month.

In France, at the Euro Cup, the violence of Russian hooligans almost got the national team banned before a humiliating loss to Wales took care of that, sending the Russians home doubly embarrassed. Days …

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