Football match at 'Akhmat Arena' stadium. Photo: REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov

27 April 2019, 08:30

Chechen authorities react to publicity of forced attendance of "Akhmat" matches

Students and state (budget-funded) employees were not forced to attend the latest football match in Grozny, but they were invited to the stadium by a lottery of prizes, residents of Chechnya have stated.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that before the match of "Akhmat" FC with "Lokomotiv" in Grozny on April 13, Chechen residents received strict orders from bosses of enterprises and heads of higher schools to come to the stadium and actively support the local football club.

The match of "Akhmat" FC with "Krasnodar" took place in Grozny on April 24, but this time students, contrary to the established practice, were not forced to come to the stadium. In order to attract fans to the "Akhmat Arena", a prize lottery was organized, residents of Chechnya told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

Two days before the game, on April 22, the "Grozny" Chechen State TV and Radio Company (ChGTRK) broadcast a story about "malefactors and provocateurs", who are spreading "fake news" in social networks. Among other things, the story concerned reports about coercion to attend football matches.

The authorities of Chechnya are unlikely to abandon the "mastered practice" of forcing people to attend football matches; it's too early to make conclusions after one game, Ruslan Kutaev, the head of the Assembly of Caucasian Nations, believes. The republic's leadership tries to react to criticism in social networks, he said.

Nasir Buluev, the representative of the Assembly of Caucasian Nations in European international organizations, does not rule out that criticism will force at some point the Chechen authorities to correct their policies. He has called the information about forcing residents of Chechnya to attend football matches to be well-known.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 26, 2019 at 08:54 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: CK correspondent

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