Russia is desperate to prove to the world that it is a new nation which has shrugged off its past reputation, though there are still no answers about the mysterious deaths of Alexander Litvinenko and Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. Why did FIFA turn a blind eye to this in choosing Russia to host the 2018 World Cup?

Our own Winston Churchill was quoted in their presentation to demonstrate how they have changed:

“A long time ago Winston Churchill called Russia a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. I can understand this perception which people have about my country….But the Russia which Sir Winston referred to is a Russia which no longer exists. What does exist is a new Russia, a Russia that is looking forward with great anticipation for an opportunity to host the World Cup, a World Cup that can expand the power and ability of football to move the world forward, and that is what is in our hearts today.”

Russia will continue to be “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” if it fails to provide justice following the two terribe deaths I referred to.

I would like to think that many ordinary Russians will benefit from hosting this World Cup, and that it will not just make its oligarchs even richer and more powerful.