Russians vow to boycott new "security" ID
Could organized resistance against the Fan ID help stop QR codes?
There have been many heroes in the fight against cattle tags—and more generally, Vax Law—in Russia. There was the Duma deputy who dressed up like a concentration camp prisoner to protest QR codes, the St. Petersburg businessman who valiantly led the charge against medical apartheid (and is now behind bars for his insubordination), and who could forget the mysterious gentleman who hijacked a vax van and hid it in the forest? We must never forget him.
But what if the QR code regime ultimately fails because of… football hooligans? Stranger things have happened.
At the end of December, Vladimir Putin signed into law the creation of a “Fan ID” that will soon be required for sporting events—ostensibly for “security” reasons.
If you were in Russia for the World Cup (feels like it was 1,000 years ago but actually…. that was 2018) you were issued a similar ID. Actually, the Fan ID system traces its roots to the Sochi Olympics. RBK has the details:
Fan ID is a document required when attending sporting events in Russia. The ID first appeared in Russia before the Sochi Olympics. At that time, the head of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, demanded increased security standards due to its proximity to the unstable Caucasus region. In response, the Russian authorities proposed the idea of personal passes for every sports fan.
The idea was developed at the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which were also held in Russia. At first, FIFA did not want to approve the system, but later agreed—on the condition that Fan ID would replace the visa to Russia for foreign fans, and also allow free use of public transport and travel between the host cities of the tournaments.
In order to obtain a fan passport, the Russian authorities collected the personal data of fans: full name, citizenship, date of birth, series and number of the passport, who issued it. It was also required to attach a photo, indicate an email and postal address, add ticket reservation numbers for matches.
Basically the Russian government decided it liked this system and created a permanent domestic analogue.
The new ausweis will be required for sporting events starting in June, and already the fans of Russia’s largest football (“soccer”) clubs have vowed to boycott all matches until the law is repealed.
Fans of Moscow clubs Spartak and Lokomotiv, the fan association of the St. Petersburg “Zenith,” and enthusiastic supporters of a whole list of football teams we’ve never heard of—all of these people are very angry.
Even the head coach of the Russian national team, Valery Karpin, called the introduction of the Fan ID a “catastrophe” that would greatly inconvenience professional football in Russia (which is already pretty garbage, or so we’re told; we have no idea).
We’re not really into sports but we did attend a World Cup game and enjoyed it immensely; also, everyone was in a very jolly mood during the entire tournament. We’ve never seen Moscow so jolly. But that’s neither here nor there.
But here’s what we’re thinking: football fan clubs seem almost ideal for opposing regional cattle-tagging efforts. These people are really… passionate.
A fun anecdote: We used to rent a small room, for journalism-related work, near Kievskaya. Just down the hall from us was a group of Spartak fans who had converted office space into a Spartak Party Zone. They were there 24/7, watching football and drinking enormous amounts of alcohol. Your humble Moscow correspondent got to know these upstanding Russians quite well—mostly because they would pound on our door and demand that we drink with them. They were quite insistent. But the point of our story is this: these guys are hardcore and if they say they’re going to boycott matches until the Fan ID is dropped, we believe them.
Could widespread fury over the Fan ID fuel resistance to cattle tags? Possibly. The Kremlin has already called for “dialogue” on this issue, and the head of Russia’s Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, recently demanded that the Fan ID be scrapped.
That being said, it will be interesting to see if the threats of boycott will actually lead to anything. According to one State Duma deputy, there are no plans to ditch the law and upset fans are just going to have to cope.
Of course, by June, Klaus Schwab will have nuked the internet and feral quadruple-vaxxed zombies will be roaming the streets looking for supple bloggers to eat—so who even cares about the Fan ID? Just a joke, just a joke. Maybe.