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When asked today what a football hooligan is, many sports fans - especially those under the age of 50 and living outside of Europe - may scratch their heads and admit that, despite having heard the term before, they are not exactly sure what it means. Babchenko said: 'They Ukrainian Secret Service came to me a month ago, they said that there is an order for you to be killed they money had been transferred: $40,000 USD. US and NATO forces have declared that on Afghani and Syrian lands 60% attacks on US and NATO led forces are done from inside army forces to whom they giving training.
'I thank all honest and daring staff of the Security Service, the National Police and the Prosecutor's Office for your contribution to the protection of the National Security of Ukraine and for saving the lives of Arkady Babchenko, Igor Bogdanov, me and other targets of Russian saboteurs.
At the peak of the unrest, which saw dozens of attacks on non-Russians, Moscow's chief of police, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, held negotiations with masked ultras as smoke billowed around the Kremlin's famous towers. A couple of thousand England fans were given a fearful pasting by 200 Russian practically paramilitary hooligans, who smashed chairs over heads with tactical precision.
When I first met him two years ago, back in eastern Ukraine, dressed in camouflage uniform, Nikolai - in his late twenties, of medium height, physically fit but not steroid-muscled as some of the Russian football supporters look in France - had been happy to talk about his home football film at a southern suburb of Moscow, his deeply held Orthodox Christian faith, his previous service in Russia's naval infantry and his empathy with the Donbass Peoples Militia.
England fans embroiled in violence in Marseille on Saturday night have said groups of Russian hooligans launched savage coordinated attacks” around the city, disguised in English club shirts and equipped with gumshields and telescopic truncheons. The Russian authorities may have clamped down on football hooliganism at home, but statements by officials have overwhelmingly ranged from defending the violence to glorying in Russian machismo.
With the 2018 World Cup in Russia round the corner, a rehabilitated Tony (Jon-Paul Gates) is determined to represent England and get his revenge. Russian hooligans first grabbed international headlines when a few hundred of them attacked England supporters at euro 2016 in France.
The Cape Verdean midfielder stared at the hooting crowd for a moment and slotted home the goal that knocked Spartak out of the Russian Cup last month. United's most hardcore fans came to be known as the "Men In Black," Europe's largest, most organized hooligan firm and Tony led them for the better part of 3 decades.
Whether President Putin is really behind it (as Vasily the Killer, one notorious Moscow hooligan implied) is of less importance than what happens when it travels abroad to football matches or when we go to theirs, like at the World Cup in Russia next year.
When I first met him two years ago, back in eastern Ukraine, dressed in camouflage uniform, Nikolai - in his late twenties, of medium height, physically fit but not steroid-muscled as some of the Russian football supporters look in France - had been happy to talk about his home at a southern suburb of Moscow, his deeply held Orthodox Christian faith, his previous service in Russia's naval infantry and his empathy with the Donbass Peoples Militia.
'It's an incredible story of a resurrection,' joked Russian journalist Pavel Kanygin who like several of his Russian colleagues had rushed to Kiev to cover the story. Tony was the leader of a notorious London Hooligan firm, but whilst fighting a Russian ultra he sustains a head injury and must sit out some of the fun.