How Not to End up Behind Bars at the World Cup

Ruslan Minaev

The 21st World Cup is one of the most important events in the international sporting calendar of 2018 and, of course, the Russian authorities want the games to go smoothly.

There is every chance that fans coming to Russia will have an incredible time. But what if the joy of victory or the sadness of seeing your favourite team lose upsets you, and events develop along the lines of: ‘When asked how he spent the evening after the match, the answer was: I do not know, I have not been told yet.’ In this article, I will talk about possible types of offenses that inevitably accompany football matches in Russia, the legal consequences arising from their them, as well as important features of the legislation that regulates the rights of citizens in Russia.

Technically speaking, in Russia, we are talking about civil offenses. A civil offense is an unlawful act of an individual or legal entity for which administrative liability has been established by the Russian Civil Code or the laws of the subjects of the Russian Federation. Putting it in simply, if you are in Russia, you are bound by the same laws as everybody else.

Among violations most often encountered in this sort of event are:

  • Minor hooliganism
  • Consumption of alcohol, consumption of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, new potentially dangerous psychoactive substances in prohibited places
  • Violation of the rules of accepted rules of behaviour of spectators during official sports competitions
  • Disobedience to a lawful order of a police officer, a serviceman, a member of the federal security service, a security guard, a migration employee, or a member of the Russian National Guard

Fines, paid in roubles are levied for the majority of these offences, however fans can be arrested for up to 30 days if they engage in more serious activities such as violation of established procedures for organizing an event that results in a violation of public order: holding a meeting, rally, demonstration or picket, inciting a riot, for violating the requirements of a state of emergency or a counter-terrorist operation, violating regulations on narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors. For really serious offences, a civil judge can deport an individual from the Russian Federation.

You may well ask: ‘what rights does the offender have?’ He or she has the right to become acquainted with all the materials of the case, to give explanations, to present evidence, to file petitions and challenges, to enlist legal assistance. Without fail, the foreign citizen is given the right to use the services of an interpreter.

To provide legal assistance to a person who has been detained or who a case is being presented against, as well as to provide legal assistance to a victim, a defence counsel may participate in the case. As an advocate to participate in the proceedings in the case of an administrative offense, a lawyer is allowed. The defender is allowed to participate in the proceedings on the case of an administrative offense from the moment of commencement of the case of an administrative offense.

It should be noted that it is the lawyer who possesses the necessary legal knowledge and is in fact able to help protect the rights of both the perpetrator and the victim. This is especially true for foreign fans! Employees of embassies are not always able to spare the time, and there are now fewer diplomats available after recent expulsions.

I recommend taking the help of our experienced lawyers. You can always count on the decency, responsibility and professionalism of the lawyers of the Moscow Lawyers’ Bureau ‘Shcheglov and partners.’

Here are our contact details: +7 (495) 748-00-32,