A massive race-tinged riot outside the Kremlin walls has exposed the problems that Russia faces as it prepares to host the the 2018 World Cup.
5,000 ultranationalists and football hooligans clashed with the police on Manezh Square at the weekend and one Central Asian man was mobbed and killed by a gang of 15 youths on Sunday evening, while Nazi chants were heard at various Moscow underground metro. Media and rights advocates said the ugly scenes of hooded youth chanting "Russia for Russians" exposed a racist malaise at the heart of Russian society just a week after it was awarded the right to host the Cup.
The tension was sparked by the death of Yegor Sviridov — a Spartak Moscow fan who was shot on December 4 during a fight with men from Russia's predominantly Muslim North Caucasus.
As Russia prepares to host the Cup, the link between the extreme right and football fans — some of whom model themselves on British hooligans and calling themselves "firms" -- will be closely watched. Media reports said Sviridov was a member of Fratriya firm and a participant in an aggressive fan groups known as The Union. AFp