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Glathe, Julia, and Mihai Varga. “Far-Right Fan Culture in Russia: The Politicisation of Football Hooligans on Russian Social Media.” Journal Für Entwicklungspolitik 34 (February 2018): 20–49.


This article investigates the relationship between hooligan groups and the far-right movement in the wake of Russia being awarded the 2018 World Cup. We research selected Twitter accounts and related fan blogs as well as social media channels of hooligan groups, and study three dominant frames circulating in the online hooligan scene in terms of their connection to the far-right movement: a) praise of violence, b) opposition to ‘modern football’ and c) racism. We show that the far-right influences the Russian hooligan scene, not only by tapping into existing racism and xenophobia, but also by shaping the forms and context of violence perpetrated by hooligans. Moreover, we demonstrate that the critique of ‘modern football’ – which has become particularly relevant in reference to the World Cup 2018 – is framed in an illiberal way and used to justify right-wing positions and violence by interpreting it as a form of ‘true’ and ‘un-corrupt’ fandom.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.