News Politics Society, 11/07/2018

Kharkiv Supports Croatian Footballers Who Beat Russia for Ukraine

Yesterday, July 10, a picket was held near the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Kharkiv to support Croatian footballer Domagoj Vida, who proclaimed “Glory to Ukraine” after winning over Russia.

About 50 members of the National Corps, war veterans and activists took part in the meeting to “express their indignation to the aggressor state which influences FIFA.” The participants stuck flags of Croatia and Domagoj Vida’s posters on the stand in front of the Russian Consulate and shouted “Glory to Ukraine.” Among the posters, there were also congratulations to Croatia with its victory against Russia and calls to boycott World Cup in Russia.

“We supported the Croatian national team football players who chanted ‘Glory to Ukraine’ at the World Cup in Russia and were punished by the FIFA. We will continue to support the Croats as Croatian volunteers have supported us from the very beginning of the war with Russia,” says activist Daniel Akulenko.

Last week Domagoj Vida and Croatian scout Ognjen Vukojević celebrated Croatia’s World Cup win over Russia with posting a video where Vida, who scored Croatia’s second goal in extra time, shouted out “Glory to Ukraine,” the sacred slogan for Ukrainians. “This victory is for Dinamo (Kyiv) and Ukraine!” added Vukojevic on the footage.

The video has sparked a backlash in Russia, which continues the war in Ukraine pretending to defend its Russian-speaking minority.

FIFA governing body issued a warning to the defender for “political statement” on the video while coach Ognjen Vukojevic was fired and sent home by Croatia.

Many Ukrainians accused FIFA of siding with Russia and flooded the football body’s Facebook page with  “Glory to Ukraine” slogans. On July 9, the Football Federation of Ukraine declared that it was outraged by the punishment of Vida. Also, officials note that “Glory to Ukraine” is no more offensive, discriminatory or nationalistic than “Vive la France” or “Viva l’Italia” as it is a proclamation of support for Ukraine’s independence and identity. At the same time, this greeting honors the memory of the fallen Ukrainian soldiers.

Text: Olena Sokolynska

Photo: Kharkiv Today, The Times, Daniel Akulenko