Russia 2018 World Cup, Will it be a success?


Feb 12, 2016
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Man Utd
If they wish it, so they can afford it

In June/July 2018 the final of the 21th FIFA World Cup should be held in Russia. Such an event occurs for the first time in that country. It is planned that World Cup matches will be hosted by 11 major Russian cities: Moscow, Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg and Sochi - the capital of the XXII Winter Olympic Games in 2014. The opening match and finals will be held in Moscow in "Luzhniki", one of the semi-finals will be also held in the capital and the second one - in St. Petersburg. Stadiums for the games of the football championship are either sport arenas under new construction or existing ones undergoing a renovation. All the sports facilities should be ready in advance - by 2017. This will require to perform a great deal of work, and the total amount of investments, taking into account the establishment of new major roads, could amount to 2 trillion rubles. Well, and in view of the current economic crisis and difficult political situation in the world, many people are asking the question whether Russia is able to organize and hold such a large-scale world-class event?

Will be everything built in time?
First of all, whether the Russians meet the deadlines? They are quite tight but could be met. Here, for example, is the opinion of Mr. Marat Husnullin, the vice-mayor of Moscow for urban policy and the construction, on capital facilities for the 2018 championship expressed in mid-December 2015.

"We are implementing plans ahead of schedule. For example, the main renovation works in "Luzhniki" (with a capacity of 81 thousand people) should be accomplished already in the next year. CSKA stadium will also be opened, in 2016, and "Dynamo" stadium - in 2016. To date, 6 out of 11 football fields for children and young people sports schools are ready and the rest will be commissioned next year. During the world championship they will be used as training fields for teams - participants. I have no doubts that Moscow will be one hundred percent ready for the upcoming world championship".

Meanwhile, it is the capital where the largest sports facilities are located. Construction and reconstruction works in regions are also on schedule. For example, in Kazan, multi-purpose football stadium with the capacity of 45 thousand people was opened as long ago as 2013. Regarding other facilities, government contracts for construction and reconstruction were signed as long ago as at the end of December 2014. The largest of them, the stadium in St. Petersburg with the capacity of 69 thousand people, should be commissioned in 2016. The capacity of other stadiums is from 35 to 45 thousand people. Sports facilities expenditures as of October 2015 were allocated in the amount of 627 bln. rubles, not counting the cost of high-speed long-distance railway Moscow-Kazan. Besides that, around 30 hotel complexes should be built and dozens of hotels should be reconstructed for the World Cup in Russia.

There is known old saying - a Russian man harnesses the horse slowly but drives fast! In this case it is very appropriate. After the decision to hold the World Cup in this country was made by the government and approved by FIFA, the 'things got rollin', as they say. Since it is a matter of prestige for Russia, they will practically kill themselves trying to accomplish the project on time!

How get to the stadium
But, taking into account that the 2018 World Cup football matches will be held in 11 cities of the immense Russia at once, fans from different countries just may simply not have time to get to every game they are interested in? However, it seems that no problems are envisaged there.

The construction of a high-speed long-distance Moscow-Kazan railway, which will amount to more than 1 trillion rubles, had begun in Russia especially for this championship. It should be built by 2018. It will take just an hour and a half to get from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod by a high-speed train, and 3.5 hours – to get from Moscow to Kazan. High-speed trains have been running between Moscow and St. Petersburg for a long time with travel times of less than 4 hours, and that except of the possibility to use air transport, because there are airports in all the cities where host football matches will be held. In the same cities, especially provincial ones, new motor roads, bridges and road junctions have been planned and are already under construction.Who is building in Russia today?

And one more question: who is building all this? Is the slave labor of prisoners or working for peanuts migrant workers used for such a sharp qualitative spurt? At some time - under Stalin, labor of masses of convicted persons was actually used in the Soviet Union; however, such practice has become history more than 60 years ago. As to migrant workers, at one time the number of those was large in Russia, but recent events in the world, including the threat of terrorism, have led to a significant decrease of the number of foreign workers. And those who stayed work absolutely legally on a common basis with Russian citizens, and there is no any difference between wages.

There is no chance to feather ones nest at the World Cup facilities
Still, will the corruption among Russian officials hinder the implementation of such impressive plans? Of course, the notorious corruption is everywhere, but President Putin and his administration continue consistent combating bribe-takers, notwithstanding their positions and titles. For example, in 2015, Vyacheslav Gaiser, the Head of Administration of the Republic of Komi, one of the entities of the Federation, was arrested on charges of crimes of corruption. In the same year was arrested Alexander Khoroshavin, the governor of the Sakhalin region, who became a defendant in the bribery case..On 27 January, Denis Vasiliev, former head of the Office of contractual relations at the Moscow City Property Department, was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in the maximum security penal colony on charges of taking a bribe of 100 thousand dollars. He must also pay a fine of 495 million rubles. In November 2014, Mikhail Stolyarov, the former mayor of Astrakhan, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and penalty of 500 million rubles. On July 30, 2014, the former Minister of Agriculture and Food of Buryatia Alexander Manzanov was found guilty of malpractice in office and was sentenced to 2.5 years of imprisonment.

In view of the fact that preparation for the World Cup in Russia is personally controlled by President Putin and Prime Minister Medvedev, feathering ones nest at the sports and corresponded facilities will lead to most severely sanctions against the fraudsters.

Safety is of the utmost importance
However, terrorist threat is more dangerous now. How do they do this in Russia, where terrorist attacks have occurred too many times. However, over the past year and a half there were fortunately no such examples. Moreover, the example of Olympic Games in Sochi, the city located relatively close to the Caucasus and the state border, clearly demonstrated the high level of safety for athletes and spectators that has been attained. Olympics have concluded without a single incident. By the way, the experience of Sochi Olympics held at the highest level also proved that this country takes more than great respect to prepare for holding such events.
It is known that currently the Interior Ministry of Russia is preparing an overall security concept common concept for the FIFA 2018 World Cup. The present Russian regime has a reputation as a firm and even hard power. There is no doubt that the country's leadership will throw all the considerable powers of law enforcement agencies to ensure that the football festival will not be marred by thugs' attacks.

Bearing ecology in mind
However, there is another aspect – environmental, that must not be overlooked. How clean the air and water and how green the grass there, where the football players in 2018 will compete to win the World Cup? It is known that FIFA pais great attention to environmental issues. Therefore, all the interested Russian ministries and agencies have developed a list of relevant activities related to water and air treatment and territories cleaning for a more comfortable stay at the championship games sites and recreation areas for guests and participants.

An example of this are solutions planned by the housing and utilities complex in the city of Rostov-on-Don, where in addition to a variety of different measures a large-scale program for the development of water supply and drainage facilities is funded, which is particularly relevant for the southern city with a hot climate. The main part of this program is already being implemented in the framework of "Water of Rostov" and "Clean Don" investment projects. To substantially improve the ecological aquatic status, sewage treatment facilities in Rostov-on-Don are undergoing reconstruction and the waterworks treatment facilities are under construction in its north-western part.
Still more works to improve the ecological situation are carried out in Yekaterinburg, which is, perhaps, the most problematic city of the 2018 World Cup from the ecological point of view. "We should bring to an acceptable level the environmental health of the city: air - very serious transport contaminations, drinking water - not only in the hotels that will host tourists, but for the entire population also. These issues are currently being addressed, and we should maintain those indicators " - said Konstantin Kryuchkov, the Minister of Natural Resources of Sverdlovsk region, the center of which is Yekaterinburg. Air condition in Yekaterinburg will be improved due to changing traffic pattern in the city - it will be organized so that to decrease the number of road traffic congestions, and it is planned to transfer local transport to a high-quality fuel.

The refurbishment of the cities mentioned above and improvement of ecology are under public control. Thus, the head coach of the Russian national football team Leonid Slutsky, who is a native of Volgograd, is confident that in 2018 his hometown will to a large extent change for the better. "The World Championship will help to improve the infrastructure and make Volgograd a beautiful European city and the life in it - more comfortable" - said Slutsky in November 2015.

In Volgograd, environmental activities comprise ambient air monitoring, procurement of stations for ambient air quality monitoring, water bodies monitoring, parklands monitoring, including soil and green spaces, construction of wastewater treatment plants, a backup sewage pipe across the Volga River, water supply in the Airport settlement, reconstruction of treatment facilities backup power supply.

In other Football World Cup cities environmental problems are less acute, however they are given the most attention. Overall, Russia with its vast territories and to a large extent unspoiled from the ecological point of view nature looks quite good and eco-tourism is now one of the most rapidly developing areas there.

In general, to sum up, there is still much to do and to solve many serious problems the Russian 2018 World Cup, the country takes the preparations of the competition seriously and very responsibly. Of course, today such a championship is much too costly for Putin and his compatriots, but if they want, they may afford it, and there is practically no doubt that it will be done with the traditional Russian swing.

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