MOSCOW (AP) — Oleg Semyonov is Russia’s World Cup fixer. The name heart he runs for enthusiasts is a hubbub of communicate in numerous languages, resolving taxi scams, price tag fraud and even scientific emergencies.
“Fans from Tunisia, Morocco, Asian countries celebrate so emotionally on Manezh or Nikolskaya,” he says, naming two places the place enthusiasts acquire in central Moscow, “that they injure themselves. Tearing a meniscus or something like that. We help them get an ambulance and emergency care in hospital.”
“They receive free analysis of the condition but then they get cunning — these people are like that — and ask ‘give me this operation for free.’ A lot of them have arrived without health insurance.”
Russia’s welcoming overseas enthusiasts and allows them to acquire and have a good time in the street in techniques in most cases banned underneath strict rules on unauthorized protests and gatherings. Still, Semyonov says the state well being machine attracts the road at unfastened surgical procedure.
Semyonov, previously a number one determine in Spartak Moscow’s hardcore fan scene, says the middle will get a choice each two or 3 mins and has grown to make use of 96 personnel talking languages together with English, Spanish and Arabic.
Some Russian hooligans who had been banned from World Cup video games have inquired about looking to get in on other folks’s ID — no longer a good suggestion on account of tight safety, Semyonov says — and there are charitable callers like a person in Yekaterinburg willing to provide accommodation in his house free of charge.
While Semyonov says his heart hasn’t gained any calls about overseas enthusiasts being attacked — “thank God” — bag thefts, misplaced tickets and more than a few more or less scams incessantly crop up.
“There have been attempts to offer Russian fans some kind of (fake) electronic tickets,” he stated. “Imagine a fan living on (the Russian island of) Sakhalin (near Japan). He gets on a six-hour flight after having sent his money to some site or other and received some picture, gets to Moscow or St. Petersburg and finds out he’s thrown his money away.”
Fans have booked motels handiest to be grew to become away on arrival, whilst some taxi drivers have raised fares by way of 3 or 4 occasions, he provides. Social media manner scams may also be uncovered temporarily.
“People learn from theirs and others’ mistakes and there are fewer fraud cases already,” he says. “Ten years ago, we wouldn’t have had that.”
A cafe close to Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium faces an investigation over claims it produced Russian and English-language menus — the latter with doubled costs. The eating place advised The Associated Press it was once a “training aid” for personnel and was once dispensed by way of mistake.
Semyonov is reluctant to present complete main points of investment for the decision heart, run from the places of work of a Moscow legislation company. Calls are unfastened and maximum inquiries appear not going to wish any more or less formal, paid felony paintings.
He says the middle receives “support” from the Russian Sports Ministry and has to offer weekly reviews to the federal government detailing the numbers of calls gained and issues looked after.
World Cup tickets are nugatory and not using a government-issue Fan ID and the ones may also be canceled at any time. Semyonov suspects the Russian safety products and services are tracking social media to search for enthusiasts to prohibit.
“One fan posted a photo with the comment that ‘Oh no, it’ll be hard to get onto the field from here.’ Obviously the security services monitor all this and the fan got a message that ‘your Fan ID is annulled,'” he stated. “We live in a world whether Big Brother is following us. Big Brother, big data.”
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