About Russia...and not all about football

Many of us are happy about the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Football has the power to unite people, and thousands of international visitors are coming into Russia and bringing open-mindedness and vibrancy to a country that has recently been seen as on the road toward isolation.

We would like to use the World Cup as a chance to provide you with more information about Russia. The Moscow office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation has prepared a series of texts and video materials on various topics relevant to Russia that are going to be published in the coming weeks.  They include democratic development and civic engagement, gender equality, and the environment. These texts are not always related to football, but will shed light on problems that are of interest to the local community and that determine the course of our foundation’s work in Russia. They show the many sides of Europe’s largest country — a country that deserves serious interest and attention.

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Interactive map

Map for People is a map for responsible consumers that provides information about places where tourists can eat, drink, buy souvenirs and clothes and, by doing this, support local projects that follow social, environmental and ethical responsibility principles. It is a research and educational project based on peer-to-peer model. 

Activists and experts conducted interviews with entrepreneurs in order to evaluate their compliance with the principle of responsible consumption. A map with charity shops, bars, coffeshops, restaurants and about 20 other local businesses was presented for World Cup fans, visitors and locals. This work is being continued beyond the World Cup in order to develop best practices of exchange and new solutions, rethink and popularize the notion of responsible consumption.

The first stage of our project was accomplished with support of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation in Russia.

Website of the project

Relevant topics

The Spartak Case

The story of "Spartak" during its first years was the story of a football team that was experiencing in practice how far the boundaries of the "Soviet way” to play football stretched out. However, what was still possible in 1935 or 1936 turned out to be deadly dangerous in 1937.

You are invited to learn about the new project “The Spartak Case”, organized by the International Memorial. The project website is available only in Russian.

1938. Soviet Cup Final. Spartak (Moscow) - Elektrik (Leningrad)


There are these stereotypes that a girl is weak and she won’t make it. But if a girl really wants something, if she is gifted, she can walk even through closed doors.

GirlPower, a Moscow-based school of women’s football, was founded 4 years ago and over 200 girls of all ages attend it at the moment. This sport isn’t very popular among women in Russia yet, largely due to gender prejudice and the society’s conservatism. However, GirlPower is breaking down these barriers, proving that the football field is open for everyone. Alla Filina, the leading coach and co-founder of the school, talks about the main difficulties and prospects of women’s football in Russia.

Photography exhibition about amateur football in Russia

What goes unseen behind the glossy images of big-scale official events? While preparations for the 21st World Cup are in full swing, all over Russia hundreds of amateur football teams are taking part in local competitions for the many Russian regions, republics and provinces. Empty seats, no camera flashes and no sponsors is often the reality of such matches. 

From the 8th of July, Sergey Novikov's personal exhibition “GRASSROOTS. Amateur football in Russia” is open for visitors in the Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography. 

Taking eye off the official events and narrative, photographer Sergey Novikov with his Grassroots project strives to draw wide

audience's attention to problems that amateur football is facing in Russia. The photographer aspires to showcase the diversity of football landscape in Russia, the unique location of the country's football stadiums, their role in urban infrastructure, regional identity and the influence they have on the local communities. The project also focuses on initiatives in sport at grass roots level.

During the exhibition an eventful educational programme will also take place featuring Russian and German experts in sports photojournalism, football philosophy and history of architecture. The exhibition and the educational programme are supported by the Heinrich-Boell-Foundation Russia.