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2 Dec, 2022 11:37

Kremlin comments on Russian songs at World Cup (VIDEO)

Bands have been heard playing ‘Kalinka’ and ‘Katyusha’ at the tournament in Qatar
Kremlin comments on Russian songs at World Cup (VIDEO)

The sound of Russian folk songs at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar is more evidence that the country’s culture cannot be “canceled” despite the best efforts of some forces to do so, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

A FIFA and UEFA ban imposed on Russia in February deprived its men’s national team of attempting to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Nonetheless, several-thousand Russian fans have made the trip to Qatar to take in the action at the tournament.

Local bands which whip up the atmosphere for fans at stadiums have also been heard playing the Russian songs ‘Kalinka’ and ‘Katyusha’.

Presidential spokesman Peskov was asked by reporters in Moscow on Friday if the presence of the songs proved that Russia was still “participating” at the tournament.

“Russia isn’t at the World Cup. Let’s call a spade a spade,” replied Peskov, according to TASS.  

“We aren’t participating at the World Cup, but Russian culture in its various forms is part of world culture, no matter how much someone wants to cancel it.”

According to the Russian ambassador to Qatar, Dmitry Dogadkin, around 4,200 football fans have traveled from Russia to the World Cup – while 700 more Russians already based in Qatar are also attending matches.

Ahead of the tournament, Russian football official Alexey Sorokin – who headed the organizing committee for the 2018 Russia World Cup – said that around 350 of his compatriots are part of the team helping to run the tournament in the Middle Eastern country.

At a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani thanked the country for passing on its expertise.

“After Russia made a great success in organizing the 2018 World Cup, Russian friends have provided great support to Qatar, especially in terms of organization, with the organizing committee of the 2022 World Cup,” said the emir.

The Serbian team are in Qatar, and their fans have also been seen showing support for Russia, with one displaying a 50/50 Serbia-Russia flag in the stands for the game against Cameroon.

Similarly, Cameroon star Gael Ondoua has ensured a Russian presence in Qatar by donning the nation’s flag on his boots alongside a Cameroonian one.

Ondoua, 27, was born in Cameroon but also has Russian citizenship, having spent his formative years in the country and coming through the football academy at Lokomotiv Moscow.

Ondoua faced calls from some quarters to be sanctioned for his Russian flag gesture, but the defiant midfielder has said he would not be in Qatar were it not for his footballing education in Russia.

The midfielder has said he will auction his boots after the tournament and donate the money to a Russian charity.