The Russian Hooligan Scene
Some facts about RUSSIAN hools. Especially Spartak casuals.
There are six clubs in Russia, which have more or less organised groups of supporters. They are Moscow clubs – Spartak, CSKA, Dynamo, Torpedo, Lokomotiv and Zenit from St.Petersburg. Let's start with Spartak Moscow (red-white colours), because it's the strongest Russian football club and has the most progressive fans. The main firms of Spartak are Flint's Crew (this is the oldest firm with the longest history and its own traditions), West End, Gladiators, Mad Butchers and Clock Work Oranges (the last three consist of experienced, strong and staunch fighters and these firms are very perspective) and Young Crew (this is the younger part of Flint's Crew), there are many local groups, mostly based on people living in one district.
The ideas of casuals are popular among Spartak fans. Rivals of Spartak supporters are CSKA, Dynamo and Zenit fans and their allies are Torpedo supporters.
One firm represents CSKA Moscow (red-blue colours) – they are the Red-blue Warriors (also young casual firm Urban Kids). This firm is one of the most powerful in Russia. RBW isn't really a huge group but it's well organised. RBW is the everlasting rival of Spartak fans. The next two firms are supporters of Dynamo Moscow (blue-white colours) – Blue-white Dynamite and Patriots. Dynamo fans are less organised than Spartak and CSKA supporters are and their fighting efficiency is lower. Some years ago Dynamo had one of the biggest fan movements in Russia (formerly USSR) but now the quantity of their fans has fallen and the quality of fanatism among those who still support this club has changed for the worse. Their allies are CSKA fans and their rivals are Spartak and Torpedo fans. The next club, which has strong groups of supporters, comes from St.Petersburg – it's Zenit. The firms of this club are Nevsky Front (the main one), Jolly Nevsky, Piter wolves and many other local groups. Zenit fans are quite organised and have the biggest banner in Russia. As it was already said – their allies are CSKA and Dynamo fans, rivals – Spartak and Torpedo fans. There are two more firms in Russia, but they are very small and frankly they could be hardly named “firms”. They are West 5 Action Group (Torpedo supporters) and Loko ‘81 firm of Lokomotiv Moscow.
Ultra(s) News/Spartak Supporters: The zine is published by Flint's Crew and is probably the most informative and independent in Russia. The zine describes aways, derbies, gives some interesting news about other fans etc.
Russian Fan Herald/CSKA Supporters: This is the magazine, which is published by Red-Blue Warriors. The first issue of this zine was published some time before the first issue of “Ultras News”. First, it was made to be a pure
Russian fanzine, but then, when other fanzines appeared, it became a true fanzine of CSKA fans. Of course, it describes every event from the point of view of CSKA fans. It became a “CSKA raising” fanzine. This magazine with “Ultras News” is the leader of the Russian fan-press.
Bulldog/Torpedo fans: The “Bulldog” fanzine is a quite correct and neutral fanzine. The fanzine describes problems and events in the Russian fanatism. This fanzine has a short, but full-action history.
Zenit's Banner/Zenit Supporters: “Zenit's banner” is the fanzine of Zenit fanatics. It's also quite young, but there are some correct and true articles, which are worth reading. This is a progressive fanzine, but the main problem is the distance between Moscow and St.Petersburg. Moscow is the centre of the fan life in Russia, “Zenit” fans can write about events in Moscow from the stories by their allies – Dynamo and CSKA fans – that's why
it can't be objective. But “Zenit's banner” has some articles about their own conflicts with “Spartak” fans.
Ramenskoe, June 1999
This was probably the biggest riot in the Russian history of hooliganism. The action took place in the small town near Moscow. All Spartak firms were present at this away match. After the goal on the 22nd minute the madness began after the slam on the terraces, the police began beating innocent people – fans began clashing, tearing out the seats and throwing them at the police …
Soon all the terraces of Spartak fans were in action, special police came to the stadium, the match was stopped!!! (for the first time this happened in the history of Russian hooliganism). After 15 minutes the riots were more or less stopped, the police withdrew from the terraces and the riots finished. Anyway, this was the first time, when Spartak hooligans showed their real power, showed the police that there're people which won't stand the unfair actions of the police, and will fight for their rights!
Russian national team
The Russian team didn't play well for a long time… Until the last months, when it won 4 matches out of 4 and beat France – champions of the world 3-2. Since then interest in the Russian team and Russian football on the whole has risen. But, unfortunately, there are still no organised groups of supporters. For a long time there haven't been any organised away tours except Kiev in autumn ‘98, when our team lost the game with Ukraine 2-3.
This extreme away to Kiev (even in the times of the former USSR Kiev with its Dynamo was always a rival to all Moscow clubs, there were always great riots – all fans went to Kiev to fight) united supporters of many rival
clubs and about 3,.000 fans united by their nationality – Russians went to Kiev. There were many riots – fights with the very cruel Ukrainian special police “Berkut”. Some of Russians had to stay in hospitals.
Performance of the football fans in Russia on the terraces rises quite quickly (as the quantity of troubles on the terraces caused by football fans rises) – new banners and new fan songs are being made… The quality of supporting football teams in Russia is getting higher in general. There is only one great problem – Russian cruel police, which is often very stupid – they may prohibit singing on the terraces or putting out banners and scarves… but of course it will never stop a true football fan.