Russia’s increase in crime targeting race and sexuality
Anti-gay and racist abuse including monkey chants is on the rise in Russia as the country prepares to host the World Cup.
Nineteen incidents of abusive chants were recorded this season, according to an annual report from the anti-discrimination Fare Network and the Moscow-based Sova Center released Wednesday. That compares to two cases the season before, and 10 the year before that.
Fare executive director Piara Powar said there is also a growing shift by far-right fan groups to racist chants because visual displays like banners are more easily tracked by surveillance cameras in stadiums.
“Some of their clubs have got their procedures in place for dealing with things that are very obvious, for bringing down banners,” Powar said. “That leaves people able or free to chant things and that’s a far more difficult thing to police.”
Victims included players from the French national team, who were targeted with monkey chants during a game against Russia in March, and Liverpool youth player Bobby Adekanye, who was racially abused by Spartak Moscow supporters.
Russian national team goalkeeper Guilherme Marinato, a naturalized citizen who was born in Brazil, was twice targeted by Spartak fans calling him a monkey. In another case, a regional governor told local media that the club his administration funds in the city of Vladivostok would not sign any black players.
The Fare Network, which helps FIFA and UEFA investigate racism cases, is planning to open two “Diversity Houses” in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the World Cup, where issues of discrimination in sports will be discussed.
“It’s a celebration of diversity,” Powar said. “It showcases the rise of ethnic-minority players across the continent and looks at the growth of women’s football, looks as issues associated with Russian football.”
Fare is also issuing a guide to Russia for visiting fans and operating a helpline for fans from minority groups to report harassment or attacks.
The organization urges fans from minority groups to travel to the World Cup but recommends caution in unfamiliar surroundings and awareness of issues such as racial profiling by Russian police.