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Russia Dismisses World Cup Doubts

Published: July 16, 2014 (Issue # 1820)



  • President Putin, left, with FIFA President Sepp Blatter and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the World Cup Final.
    Photo: Martin Meissner / AP

While Brazil just barely managed to get everything ready in time for the World Cup, Russia insists it wont have any such problems in 2018, although the country faces other issues ahead of footballs next showcase tournament including the threat of racism and violence.

Just like in Brazil, the sheer size of Russia is set to cause logistical challenges for organizers and fans alike for the 2018 World Cup, with thousands of kilometers (miles) separating some of the host cities. But the successful staging of Februarys Winter Olympics without any major organizational problems has raised Russians confidence in producing a high-class tournament.

After the games, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told parliament that Russia would avoid the Brazilian scenario of massive construction delays.

Of the 12 stadiums in 11 host cities, two are complete but must be reconfigured to host football games. A third, the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, will open in September. The others, including Moscows 81,000-capacity Luzhniki where the final will be played, are brand new projects where construction has either started or will begin this year.

The Russian government insists it will complete the stadiums on time, although Mutko told local media in March that some aspects of the design process gave cause for disquiet as deadlines were missed.

That is normal working concern, organizing committee head Alexei Sorokin told The Associated Press in a recent interview. That does not mean we are lying down calmly and waiting for things to happen. It suggests that we are...attentive to it.

Six stadiums still need to go through a design certification process before construction enters full swing.

All of the projects are being developed pretty much at the same speed, with one or two exceptions, architect Peter Lavelle of the Populous firm, which designed the Kazan and Sochi stadiums and is working on the Saransk and Rostov-on-Don arenas, told The Associated Press.

But as long as projects remain uncertified, delays are inevitable, warned construction analyst Vitalie Iambla of consultancy firm PMR.

We will have also stadiums built a few weeks or months before the first whistle of the tournament, he said, adding that rising building material costs and the rubles decline against other currencies over the last year are likely to cause cost overruns.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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