What is the place of the media in our life? Can headlines shape consciousness about places, cultures or people?
The answer is yes. Definitely yes. One of the interesting things about this World Cup is that there is not a large number of European fans in Russia. Just very few of them. For example, England, who regularly sends around 30,000 fans to big tournaments, arrived in Moscow in a timid 3,500 fans.
The majority of fans come from Latin America, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. How does that happen? The answer might be a large amount of negative articles in English about the bad side, that it is there is, in Russia, and less articles, or not at all, pieces that highlight things that are good in the country.
This prevented many people who consume only English media to arrive in Russia, and in general placed a very specific state of mind about the 2018 World Cup host.
Before the tournament, many people had concerns. The country, the culture, the corruption, the racism, the hooligans and violence in local football were the first things to come in mind when mentioning the Russian World Cup. To their surprise, the tournament has been going through in an excellent atmosphere with almost zero racist incidents. Does it mean that everything is okay in Russia? What is the real impact of this event on the host country? And most importantly - whether it is going to stay this way after it’s over?
In order to find out more, BabaGol met Robert Ustian, a Russian guy from Abkhazia, the entrepreneur behind CSKA Fans Against Racism, who talked with us about media, stereotypes, how to fight racism and stay sympathetic to your club, as well as the real meaning of this World Cup for Russia & the West, and the challenges that follow it.