I'm Dominic Quiney and I joined Real Russia in February 2017 and my role at the company is Marketing Executive. I studied History and Russian Studies at the University of Birmingham and lived in Russia twice (once in Petrozavodsk, in summer 2013 and once in Moscow, from 2014-2015).
Why did you decide to go to the World Cup in Russia?
I decided I simply had to go to Russia for this unique experience, because, even though I've hugely enjoyed living in Russia before, I wanted to see the festival of football that this country with its unique culture and highly hospitable people could put on. I told my friends and family beforehand that Russia wouldn't disappoint for this, and I was certainly proven right!
Tell us about your experiences at the tournament
It was spectacular! The tournament was hosted across 11 Russian cities in total, and even though I only managed to visit two cities (Moscow and Volgograd), I could tell that the foreign fans were fascinated by Russia, its culture and its people, while the locals were fascinated by the foreign fans and were very happy to make new international friends.
As soon as I landed in Moscow, I got the train down to Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) and, after making new Russian friends on that train (Russian train journeys are always an excellent way of meeting the locals), I arrived in Volgograd. I spent my days there visiting the FIFA Fan Fest, the awe-inspiring Mamaev Kurgan (the highest point in Volgograd and which saw some of the fiercest fighting of the battle for the city), taking a brief cruise on the Volga river and visiting numerous museums. Oh, there was the small matter of visiting the Volgograd Arena to watch England play against Tunisia too! England won 2-1, courtesy of a very late goal from Harry Kane!
The day after the match, I got back on the train from Volgograd to Moscow. There were supporters from the UK, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the USA and, of course, Russia, in my carriage of the train, so it had a very international flavour to it! I spent a few days in Moscow and met up with some friends, visited Red Square and Nikolskaya Street during the World Cup festivities (they were extremely busy with fans from all over the world singing, playing musical instruments and celebrating), VDNKH (the huge, Soviet-era exhibition park near the Cosmonautics Museum) and, amongst other sights, the Moscow FIFA Fan Fest. This was held at Sparrow Heights (Vorobyoviye Gory), in the courtyard of the stunning Moscow State University.
Do you intend to go back to Russia this year using your World Cup Fan ID?
This is how one of our staff members used his Fan ID to explore Russia. How will you use yours?
Over the last two weeks, I have had the pleasure of travelling through Finland and Russia, experiencing the people, places, food, culture and, importantly, the trains first hand. Over the next few weeks, I shall be trying to sum up my experiences into a series of blogs in order to give you a brief ‘insider view’ into the good, the bad, and the ugly, of travelling in this region.
Before finding out what I thought, or felt, it may help to have some context. What did I expect to find in Finland and Russia? How did I expect to feel?
Russia ‘is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’. The words of Winston Churchill in 1939 hold just as true today as they did 75 years ago. It is unique. Both in the sheer size of the country, and in everything that is within those borders.
What I am trying to say is this, that even though I have been working with Real Russia for 10 months now, I still did not know what to expect. Particularly after the events of 2014.
All of the above?
To find out how I got on, and whether any worries I had were necessary, stay tuned to our social media and follow my blog posts over the next few weeks.
Spoiler Alert: Generally, Russia has been very kind to me, particularly the colleagues that I have met for the first time in our Russian offices, and any worries I may have had were unfounded.