People are realizing they've been sold a lie by their media.
A very revealing segment from Russian TV.
Full transcript below:
It's impossible to ignore soccer for long. There are countless fans in Russia right now. The lifestyles of the cities hosting the World Cup have changed drastically. The streets have become diverse, and the nights are now noisier.
Pavel Zarubin reports about the inrush.
English fans at a Russian railway station at night. They've never been on a Russian train before. They change from sneakers into slippers before entering the train. All the of various sleepers are occupied, passengers are eagerly climbing onto side and upper racks. They have no idea how much Russians hate these spots.
Jake Myers, a British fan: "Russia's been awesome, Moscow is just unreal. We're off to Nizhny Novgorod to watch England's team play".
As usual, train travel encourages new acquaintances with people and traditions. At first, they're bemused by having to eat an entire chicken at night. The slight shock disappears after they try it, it's not that bad.
"I don't normally eat chicken at night, but we're on a train".
The train hostess is trying her best. She bravely knocks on every door knowing that, today, a language barrier is present.
The Brits are somewhat bewildered. At home, they've heard so much about brutality, assaulted fans, and poisonings in Russia.
Luke Newsen, a British fan: "The way I see it, it's so different from what we've heard".
Simon Richwell, a British fan: "I feel safer here than in the streets of London at nighttime. The British newspapers simply make money writing about Russia".
It's now harder to hide the reality. European channels are now showing how foreign fans travel along the Trans-Siberian Railway.
“We Europeans often consider Russia dangerous, but it's not justified at all. There are constant solo concerts in Portuguese and Spanish in the bar-cars. The same goes on even at 35,000 feet in the air.
This is pretty much how they pictured Russia from India and Colombia, with blocks of ice, snow, and frost.
"It's too cold for us here. It's even worse in Russia in winter at -22F".
They grew up hearing about Russia's freezing cold temperatures. But, once they were in Moscow, they saw how hot it is, and the only way to feel the frost was to visit the ice cave at Zaryadye Park. Here, the fans can literally fly over Moscow. You can stretch your legs out and almost touch the domes, the roofs, and the soccer ball that's coming from somewhere in Luzhniki.
But the most fantastic part awaits if you walk from here to the heart of the capital. Why wouldn't you lie down right on the pavement of Red Square? You can see this all over the place. Some play soccer right here on Red Square, others take pictures. The Egyptians are especially passionate about soccer on the main square.
— Do you think they want a rematch?
— The Egyptians are really upset. Can you imagine how it is for them?
No matter how upset they are, they're grateful to Russia for a warm welcome.
German fans are kicking the ball around close by, somewhat puzzled with their team's performance.
"It's wonderful here, I didn't expect this. Everyone is so friendly and very kind. No, there was no fear. What's there to fear here? Of course, this is a different world, everything is so big here, but I like it".
"Go to soccer by train"
Some fans got lost in such a big country. They never thought that Russia has Nizhniy Novgorod and Velikiy Novgorod, and there's another Rostov in Yaroslavl Oblast, over 600 miles from the Rostov-on-Don stadium.
"14 foreign fans actually checked in four hotels near Lake Nero".
This Nigerian fan is staying in Tramvainy Lane in Kaliningrad. He said he lost his money and tickets, but found nice people who took him in.
"It's insane how I cook more for foreign guests than for my husband. It’s terrible!"
It seems the entire country is trying to remember long-forgotten foreign language lessons.
— You top the fish with onions. Can I show the vodka?
— Vodka? No, don't.
But he couldn't resist. The Rostov market vendor ended up showing everything he had in the fridge, including pickles and salo, but he didn't stop there.
— Do you want some champagne?
— No, no. Wait, wait, wait.
— No, that's alright. Take this with you. Enjoy. No, it's free. No, no, don't insult me. Have a safe trip!
Surprisingly, everybody finds a way to communicate.
— "Lemonade" "Mojito"
— Do you want it all? It's the same price, 17 rubles. Do you want root beer, lemonade, or mojito?
What really surprised our foreign guests was that even the passengers on the tram had everything to celebrate with new acquaintances.
Foreign guests in Kazan get in line to get punched by a bag and fall from a log.
In Ekaterinburg, fans from another continent, South America, visited the border of two other continents, Europe and Asia, and were very surprised by it. It's important to understand that not everyone can afford to travel across the globe. These jumping, screaming fans are normally decent, solid people in real life.
"I'm actually an OB-GYN, I have a Ph.D. in medicine".
Japan's Princess has come to Saransk to support her national team. This is the first visit of the Imperial Family to Russia in 100 years. She's visited the Mordovian Erzia Museum of Visual Arts in the Capital. The Princess, who has a Ph.D. in art history, really enjoyed it. She took pictures of may exhibits with her smartphone. And soccer fans have noticed her soccer ball-shaped earrings.
Portugal's President got acquainted with Russia on the subway. That's where he felt the remarkable atmosphere caused by Russia's victory.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Portugal's President: "There's a small problem we might face if we play against each other. Sure, we have Cristiano Ronaldo, but Russia's team is showing great results at home. Thus, no matter what the results are, I hope they won't affect our diplomatic relations".
President Putin: "On the contrary, sports bring countries and people closer. As the hosting country of this World Cup, we're happy for the winners and empathize with those who weren't as lucky. If our teams do play against each other, of course, we'll both root for our own team".
However, the Portuguese President probably learned about the popular tradition among foreign guests during his trip to the subway. Fans from all over the world believe that this Moscow subway superstition will definitely bring good luck for their teams. Thus, thousands of hands have polished and even slightly deformed the dog’s nose. They take selfies with him, dressing him up in national headgear and flags, and confidently head to the stadiums.
"We'll win tomorrow".
Foreigners are truly shocked by the Moscow subway. It's not only due to the fact that every station is an artistic masterpiece. The Washington Post urges the local subway to focus on the one in Moscow.
"Wireless service is accessible deep underground and newer cars offer USB outlets. (Are you listening, WMATA?)"
Emmanuel from France yells out French soccer rant, "Go Blue!" He teaches it to Russians, but foreign fans often get in the way. At home, he's a car salesman who wears a suit to work.
Emmanuel: "Russians are very friendly. Everything I see here is the opposite of what our media tells us. They even gave me a special FIFA-themed 100-ruble bill. I love it here".
Emmanuel shows us what random strangers in Moscow write in his journal, words about Russians' love for France. And one girl, Fatima, even quoted Pushkin's "The wondrous moment of our meeting..." Emmanuel gives everyone Eiffel Tower-shaped keychains.
"We see you're open to everyone, it's so safe here. We have no problem with Putin".
"The British media is awful. True British fans have come here anyway, and so should everyone else. Russians are superb Thanks!"
They say Moscow never sleeps. But now, during the World Cup, the city center isn't even trying to calm down. This is what the normally quiet Theater Square looks like now. All Moscow cafes and shops are working on a special, schedule, serving customers non-stop.
Ilya Genin, a café manager: "I hope the next three weeks will be like today, every day".
"I tried the beef, and now I'm trying the shrimp".
The staff of this Nikolskaya Street café, located in the epicenter of fans' celebration, have to carefully warn their customers they'll be closed overnight, or they may never get to go home.
— Have your profits increased significantly?
— Well, yes.
— How much did you raise the prices?
— We haven't.
Only a small gift shop is still holding on. They sell magnets, mugs, and trapper hats until 4 AM, and merchandise is flying off the shelves.
"They buy mock-ups, music boxes, and other junk".
With nightfall, Nikolskaya Street truly comes alive. It's difficult to even walk here, but more people keep arriving every minute. Thousands of people have gathered in this tiny spot in the capital, and they're all in a great mood. However, some are feeling too happy, dancing on top of ancient canopies and light poles. But, this type of fun won't go on forever, the police politely, but firmly, ask them to come down and continue dancing on the ground, especially since Russia has plenty of room for everybody to celebrate.