On June 12, 2012 Russian fans are expected to march through the Polish capital. Having received an endorsement of the city authorities, they intend to get to the National Stadium, where the European championship match is to be held, from the centre of the city.
The June 12 holiday marks the day in 1990 when Russian lawmakers declared independence from the Soviet Union by giving supremacy to Russian laws over Soviet legislation. Poland prime minster Donald Tusk expressed his support for the event. “I would with pleasure persuade Polish fans to take part in this march, because it is in fact the anniversary of the final burial of the Soviet Union,” he said.
What do Russians want?
It is rumoured that Russian fans are burning for collecting eyes and making headlines in the capital of Poland. Moreover, there is a wide-spread opinion that in their hunger for notorious glory Russian supporters are eager to provoke Polish fans, who have a reputation for rioters in Europe, into fighting.
As for Russians, they swear by all that is holy that all they need is celebrating their national feast and supporting the sports team. But what gives a certain political complexion to the deal is the fact that the march in Warsaw is being organised by the all-Russian society of sports fans headed by Alexander Shprygin, a member of nationalist Liberal and Democratic Party of Russia.
What are Poles afraid of?
Poland and Russia have a long history of troubled relations, including four decades of Soviet Union dominance under communism, which was overthrown in Poland in 1989.
The march of Russian fans is regarded by most Polish Rights as former occupationists’ parade. Action opponents can not stand the thought of seeing Russian visitors with Soviet symbols in Warsaw. Furthermore, the opposing side’s fans are about to dress in red like their soccer players and march through the city.
Polish right-wingers are absolutely sure that the participants are seeking a conflict with Polish supporters so that Poland might be accused of lack of safety and security for foreigners.
What to expect
During the Championship some Russians are acting out of line in Poland. Two fans have been fined and banned from games in Poland after disobeying stewards’ orders on entering the stadium for the match. Four others will face court on charges of causing bodily harm and material damage during a drunken brawl in the city center.
UEFA has launched disciplinary proceedings against the Russia football federation for its fans’ behavior during and after the 4-1 win against the Czechs. As well as the assault on stewards, the fans are accused of displaying a nationalist flag and throwing fireworks onto the pitch. There are even sweeping proposals that the perpetrators should be punished by taking three points off the Russian side.
However, Alexander Shprygin believes that the cause of that is to be sought in supporting Poland by the Championship organisers. In the interview to newspaper “Soviet Sport” he stressed that the points might well be taken off in favour of the Polish team.