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A scandal around two Russian football players from Zenit, St. Petersburg’s football club, is still raging around. Pavel Mamaev and Alexander Kokorin have beaten up a Russian official severely for his Asian background. The accident happened while both sportsmen were under the influence of alcohol.
It seems like such racist scandals have become regular the past decades for the Zenit club, considering that aggression towards Asian people is shown not only by Zenit fans, but also by the head of Gazprom, who practically owns the club—Alexey Miller.
A Korean, Denis Pak was a victim of the accident and was abused verbally and physically for nothing else but his nationality. Unfortunately, Kokorin and Mamaev were not alone. They were supported by Kokorin’s brother. The attackers were immediately arrested after the accident and officially apologized to Denis Pak afterwards. Yet, it’s hard to say how sincere their apologies were. Most probably, they were just political.
It looks like this story is being accurately buried, considering that any further investigation may lead to extremist accusations of the top management of Zenit club.
Generally speaking, Zenit is considered to be one of the most racist football clubs in the country according to Versia, a Russian newspaper. The club’s fans along with its management are openly showing their pride for not having any black colors in the Zenit’s flag. They obviously imply the players of African origin.
Unfortunately, this racist problem of Zenit remains unresolved since the 90s. Zenit fans were penalized for racist incidents a lot of times and they were not allowed to attend some matches. The penalties go on and on, including severe monetary charges to the club for disrespectful behavior towards different nationalities.
For example, Brayan Idowu, a Russian-Nigerian football player, who went through Zenit football school and was considered one of the best according to his sport performance, was not taken into the club he always wanted to play for. As a result, today he plays in a club in Moscow. The story explaining the reason why Brayan was not accepted by Zenit was told by his father in an interview to a Russian newspaper.
However, some people may argue that there are African players in the club which are their top players, however many experts believe that they were taken with political reasons in mind and for just one main purpose— to contradict the society about their hate towards other races.
The most tragic part of the story for Russian authorities is the fact that this racist football club is supported by one of the largest Russian companies – Gazprom, headed by Alexey Miller. Subsequently, all issues are handled by the powerful hands of Gazprom.
According to Russian unofficial Internet channels, Gazprom has granted EUR 2.000.000 for recovery of the club’s reputation. However, turning the story upside down by brainwashing society and making Denis Pak look guilty will not be that easy, considering that there is a different side of the story, supported by Gazprom’s opponents. As a result, we can see a real clash of the titans playing games with reputation and dignity. You never know who will win the public opinion; however, the football players’ lawyers have spent just 1/4 of the entire budget.
Let’s wait a little longer to see how the human rights confronts this racism. It's hard to predict the winner—a giant company with humongous funds or the truth.