Staunton, June 16 – In Saratov yesterday, animal rights activists organized a minute of silence before a World Cup match in memory of the thousands upon thousands of homeless cats and dogs Russian officials killed in venue cities in advance of the competition, just one of the stories the Kremlin, committed to good news only, is unlikely to cover.
The independent Sobkor portal carried that story today ( ). Eight of the many other stories the Russians powers that be hope undoubtedly hope will be overlooked or at least downplayed during the much-ballyhooed world sporting event in Russian cities include the following:
· Fan attendance at some of the first round competitions between less prominent squads has been so low that both Russian organizers and FIFA have launched investigations (, , and ).
· Meanwhile, members of the Russian elite are expressing unhappiness with the quality of the special seats allocated to them. Perhaps they won’t attend future matches unless something is done or they are pressed to do so ().
· In Yekaterinburg, a scandal has broken out because organizers have sold tickets for seats in sections of the stadium that hasn’t yet been completed ().
· Another scandal is occurring in Moscow. There, visitors say, a Russian restaurant near a World Cup venue has set prices on its English-language menu twice as high as on the Russian one for the very same food ( ).
· A Yeltsin makes an appearance at the World Cup. That is the first name of one of the Costa Rican players ().
· Ethnic Sakha have expressed outrage at what they see as the slighting portrayal of their nation in a Russian film clip about the World Cup ().
· When a Nigerian fan made too much noise while staying in a Moscow high rise, a group of Russians decided to “solve” that problem by throwing him out of the window. He has been hospitalized as a result ().