Stadium of Oktyabrsky Island in KaliningradIrina Belova/Sputnik
It would not have been a bad idea had it not been for the deep marshes which existed there even under the Germans and which reach a depth of up to 50 meters (164 ft) [Kaliningrad is the former German city of Königsberg which became part of the Soviet Union after the Second World War] and all attempts to drain them and build something monumental on the site always ended in failure - the water always returned.
No sooner said than done. The stadium has been built on piles. A total of 25,000 piles were driven into the ground and plates placed on top. And the number of seats had to be reduced to 35,000. In the summer the stadium is to host five group stage matches.
Former Russian Sports Minister Vitaly MutkoRamil Sitdikov/Sputnik
Former Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko's command of English became an Internet meme in 2010 after he opened his presentation of the Russian bid for hosting the 2018 World Cup with the words "Let me speak from my heart" and continued in a strong Russian accent. Mutko is now the Russian government's deputy prime minister for sport.
Later, bloggers discovered that aides had specially written out the speech in Cyrillic [Russian letters] for Mutko since his English was very poor, but things went from bad to worse. The phrase went viral and Mutko's botch-up was immortalized with a song on YouTube.
After that the minister promised to learn English. In 2015 he even managed to describe the situation to do with preparations for the World Cup in one phrase: "Is very good temp, open new stadium, no problem, no criminality". But immediately after saying it he switched to a mixture of Russian and English. For his birthday Mutko received a teach yourself English book as a present from Vladimir Putin and two years later, in 2017, he announced that he had learned it from "cover to cover" and moved to learning Spanish…
"Night of the long bulldozer blades" in MoscowAndrey Lyubimov /Moskva Agency
Zenit ArenaRuslan Shamukov/Sputnik
The stadium was finished in 2017 and its cost was over six times more than the original estimate - it rose from 6.7 billion rubles ($117m) to 43 billion rubles ($750m), and practically
Tverskaya street, MoscowDmitry Ermakov/ Moskva Agency
It seems some people at the city council strongly believe that nothing is impossible. If you haven't been to Moscow for a long time, you are in for a culture shock. In the meantime, you can psychologically prepare yourself here.
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