Skip to comments.“Glory to Ukraine” – Croatian football players’ video and FIFA’s reaction
Posted on 07/15/2018 7:02:21 AM PDT by Leo Carpathian
The private video filmed after the Croatia Russia match, FIFAs reaction to it aimed to please the Russian Federation and the chain of ensuing events provoked a powerful international social and media response which exposed Russian propaganda narratives, uncovered a few painful truths as well as raised uncomfortable questions challenging some conventional western myths about Ukraine, Russia, FIFA, Facebook and western politics.
Let us quickly look back at the facts. On July 7, 2018, Croatian team defeated Russians on penalties at the 2018 FIFA World Cup quarter finals. After the match, Croatias defender Domagoj Vida and assistant coach Ognjen Vukojević, both of whom had previously played for the Ukrainian club Dynamo Kyiv, recorded a video message for their friends in Ukraine where they dedicated their victory to the Ukrainians with the words Glory to Ukraine!
The video was widely cheered in Ukraine, but caused a broad public and media outrage in Russia. FIFA called it a political statement, threatened to disqualify Vida and later fined Vukojević CHF15,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) fired Vukojević from the national teams coaching staff and officially apologized to the Russian public for the actions of a member of the Croatian delegation. Before the match with England, Croatian fans unfolded a huge banner with Thank you, Russia written over it, whereas this spontaneous display of gratitude was aired by the RT. Vida was subsequently loudly booed by the Russian fans whenever he got the ball on the playing field. Russia 1 state TV channel devoted a whole talk show to the video in a generally strongly negative tone. Russian politicians and bloggers alike were heard calling Croats traitors of the Slavic unity and fascists.
Western media, while reporting on the incident, reiterated the rhetoric of the Russian propaganda branding the slogan as nationalistic and politically controversial and firmly tying its context to WW2, whereas it easy to establish that the slogan was born decades before, during Ukraines struggle for independence in 1918-1920 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glory_to_Ukraine ).
FIFAs actions led to a social media explosion among Ukrainians. More than 158,000 Facebook users staged a storm on the official FIFA page giving it a one-star rating and writing the words Glory to Ukraine in the comments in different languages. FIFAs rating plunged from around 5 to 1.1 in a matter of days. Thereafter the rating functionality was removed from the federations pages on Facebook and Google Maps. Facebook went on subjecting some of the Ukrainian users who participated in the FIFA-bashing flashmob to additional cumbersome identity checks or giving them short-term bans. Maxim Savanevsky, a Ukrainian video blogger and an IT and media expert compiled a viral video (https://twitter.com/i/status/1016427318682607616) containing bits of speeches by politicians and leaders of various countries who used the slogan Glory to Ukraine from the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former US Secretary of State John Kerry, and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite to the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.
There was also an official response from the Ukrainian side. Football Federation of Ukraine sent a letter to FIFA supporting Domagoj Vida and Ognjen Vukojević, stating the Glory to Ukraine is a commonly used greeting in Ukraine (and) should not be interpreted as an act of aggression or provocation, the letter said. It was apparently ignored by FIFA.
Russian propaganda narratives and popular western myths
Russians and Ukrainians are brotherly nations a phrase Putin never tires to repeat. However, the sour reaction of the general Russian public to the full Ukrainian equivalent of the Vive la France! slogan shows that Russian society is rife with anti-Ukrainian sentiment and imperialist chauvinism.
Putin is the problem, Russians are OK a mantra embraced by many liberal politicians and journalists in the West. However, the public reaction towards Vida and Vukojević as well as Croatians as a nation shows that the mass aggression in Russia could be easily manipulated and channeled in the desired direction. State media are fuelling a mobilization mentality upholding the feeling that Russia is besieged with enemies, and these narratives fall on a fertile ground. Apparently the conflict of the collective West with Russia is on a much deeper level of values and ideology, rather than just politics.
Sports are not connected to politics a very old fallacy dating back to the antiquity. Since Athens and Sparta had to suspend the never-ending war to hold the Olympics, sports and politics have gone hand in hand. In the 21st century they are as close as ever. So, if Russia is not at a hybrid war with Ukraine, why should the Glory to Ukraine be regarded as offensive to the Russian public and why would it necessitate formal apologies and exemplary disciplinary actions from both FIFA and HNS? Apparently both FIFA and HNS are well aware of the regional particularities and of the political undertones of the Glory to Ukraine slogan given the context of the time and place where it was uttered by two Croatians.
Facebok is an impartial social platform a myth, Ukrainians experience first-hand on a daily basis. Pro-Ukrainian bloggers and ordinary users get blocked for weeks and months for hate-speech based on clearly robot-generated reports on posts and comments written years ago. And the networks administration does nothing to stop it, shrugging off relevant calls for action and criticisms. At the same time, Facebook has been very swift in looking for bot-generated activity behind the brilliant Ukrainian initiative of give FIFA one star. After all, people who flocked to the FIFAs official FB page, apart from Glory to Ukraine wrote a lot of keen criticisms. All of the comments were deleted together with the rating functionality.
FIFA is impartial, apolitical and honest where was its judgment when they finally agreed to hold the Cup in Russia? They had full four years to reconsider and strip Russia of hosting the World Cup after news started coming thick and fast about the invasion in Crimea and Donbas, MH17 and war crimes in Syria. And in light of the praise lavished by Gianni Infantino on Russia and its murderous leadership and of his insistence that the legacy [of the WC] will put Russia on the top of countries in football around the world (http://keirradnedge.com/2018/07/13/infantinos-russia/). The position of the Federations leadership looks hypocritical and calls into serious question its integrity. Apparently, FIFA consciously gave Putins regime a carte-blanche to massively whitewash its image.
Western politicians are all about values, integrity, rule of law and civil freedoms none of the important football countries chose to boycott the bloody World Cup, despite Russias dismal performance in terms of civil rights, freedom of speech, journalist security and observance of the international law. For one, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the president of Croatia, was seen together with Dmitry Medvadev and Gianni Infantino chatting merrily at the WC. Was she forging informal ties to Russia? Did she have a hand in the Thank you, Russia banner?
The situation around Vida and Vukojević managed something that dozens of thousands of Ukrainian casualties failed to do. It brought Russias aggression against Ukraine back into the mainstream of the international and specifically western media. However, international and specifically European attendance of the WC matches in Russia as well as reluctance of the world football nations to boycott the bloody WC in Russia unfortunately tell us that civilizational values are eclipsed by panem et circenses in the collective West.
It’s not that Croatians are anti-Russian people. They still see them as part of the greater Slavic brotherhood...albeit Serbs are Orthodox, and like Russians use the Cyrillic alphabet and Croats are Catholic who use Latin...
But the crux is the notion of independence...and of sovereignty and ethnic distinctiveness. “Yugoslavia” was lumped together the way the Soviet Union was... Small countries like Croatia can understand and emphathize with Ukraine in terms of wanting to be taken seriously as a distinct entity.
Serbia and Croatia are enemies, and Russia is the traditional ally of Serbia.
And yes saying “Glory to Ukraine” in Russia is punishable by arrest. As well as challengig the State line on Crimea. Russian professors have lost tenure over the matter.
I know. These ethnic squabbles get to be a bit ridiculous really. Kinda like the Middle East.
Didn’t know EU countries had football..
You mean the pussyball socialist panzygame?
At least Japan still calls it soccer :p
Some think this soccer match between Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade in 1990 went a long way towards triggering the war between Serbia and Croatia
saying things in Russia punishable by arrest....
And professors at liberal universities are free to analyze politics and say that Trump has done a lot of things that have been beneficial in his opinion.
And small groups can gather to cheer Trump on without fear of being attacked,gassed and beaten while police look on with folded arms.
And Ivanka can have clothes sold in major stores without mob pressure to strip them out of stock due to her father’s beliefs.
And we can all be complacent and relaxed. Maybe.
Japan's Rugby team is called the "Brave Blossoms." Amazing how Japan LOVES rugby! Nothing pussyball about rugby. LOL! US Eagles beat Russia, then went on to beat Scotland (Tier 1!!). Yay, us!
Excellent! Ef Putin.
Had no idea but eye-opening. Imagine if Mexico declared the SW US a province and held part of its territory today killing over 10,000 Americans while doing so.
That’s what you have with Russia in eastern Ukraine today. Here it’s FIFA siding with Russia (Mexico).
Ok, 18 minutes in and France’s Greizmann has dived outside the box to get a free kick and with it a goal.
Well I completely understand your analogy the Mexican military wouldn’t even be able to take it
Those situations are still not comparable to the State repression present in China, Russia, Muslim countries et al. At the end of the day, Trump wins due to Twitter and his opportunities to counter the media establishment. FreeRepublic.com is a thriving website. American culture of free speech and exchange of information still carries the day. And even getting to type on this website without restraint is proof of that reality.
“...the Mexican military wouldnt even be able to take it.”
Well, what if they used in place of “little green men” they went with drug cartels?
You are of course right and if I were not in a low mood due to a lot of rotten things going on I would be less self-pitying about the mostly commercial losses for attempting freedom of speech.
I just read in my daily Bible commentary readings (Psalm 42 one today) that “You will thank Him for the salvation that comes from His Presence through the afflictions He sends to cleanse you.” Artscroll, 2018, Psalms (Kesuvim)With A commentary Anthologized from the Rabbinic Writings.
Dems give me a lot of tests and aggravations to try to upgrade my character. Sorry I fail, unlike Job.
Thanks for your insightful post to keep my on the beam.
lol he drives a truck Just like YOU!!!
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