Russian Foreign Office (UD) says Norwegian activists World Cup handbook is anti-Russian

Vladimir PutinRussian President Vladimir Putin, right, and FIFA president Gianni Infantino visit the Fisht Stadium in the Black Sea resort of Slovyansk, Russia, Thursday, May 3, 2018. Putin says he wants to see "strong-willed, no-compromise" football from Russia's team at the upcoming World Cup. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

The Russian UD believes the Helsinki Committee’s journal for journalists covering the summer’s World Cup is anti-Russian and part of a campaign against Russia.


The manual features corruption, pollution, arbitrary arrests and forced labour, threats and other issues directly linked to the preparations for the World Cup. The book is a collaboration between seven Norwegian non-governmental organizations.

“We have noticed the Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s handbook for journalists covering the World Cup in Russia in 2018,” said Maria Zakharova, the press-language woman in the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

“In theory, it’s a positive initiative to help sports journalists prepare for a football championship held only every four years. But in reality it’s an absolutely anti-Russian document,’’ she said, according to the Helsinki Committee’s own translation.

“We consider the publication of the handbook as another unfriendly act from Norway within the framework of the Western anti-Russia campaign,” Zakharova said.

According to VG newspaper, who first reported the issue, the press officer also stated that the manual describes, in a banal way, “anti-Russian stereotypes.” She believes it’s shocking that the Norwegian authorities do not just close their eyes to, but also help finance the publication of such material.

The Helsinki Committee receives funding from the Norwegian state.

The Norwegian activist group reversed the criticism back against Russia.

‘’The purpose is to provide useful background for journalists on stories that are worth telling during the world’s biggest sporting event. We urge the Russian government to do something about the problems instead of attacking those who take this up,” said Secretary General, Bjørn Engesland.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today