The final game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be played today between Croatia and France, with Russia also being seen as a victor as the football tournament’s host.
While hosting the competition, President Vladimir Putin has welcomed a large number of international leaders and politicians, seeking to use the attention of the games to boost Russian stature. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is the latest leader to visit Putin, with visits from US senators and the Israeli PM. Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, will be one of the most prominent figures in attendance at the final match, in a sign of Russia’s continued support for right-wing figures throughout Europe. The successful hosting has also helped Moscow avoid additional controversy over its role in Ukraine and Syria.
Despite its involvement in Syria and electoral interference in the US, it has run a successful effort to deflect from coverage of these issues, along with human rights violation in the country and the recent nerve gas attacks in the UK. The success of Russia’s hosting has helped boost public opinion amongst fans and international publics, elevating his profile ahead of his summit with Donald Trump later this week.
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Kai looks at security and political turbulence in the emerging market economies and also serves as a publisher with The Daily Brief.