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Russian Journalist Claims That Putin Has Rigged Russian Hockey League

Russian Journalist Claims That Putin Has Rigged Russian Hockey League

For the uninitiated, the 2014 documentary Red Army goes some way toward explaining how seriously Russians take their hockey.

A dual demonstration of their prowess for the sport, and the way such excellence can be manipulated for the benefit of the state, it's Cold War setting would appear to offer some reassurance that things are now a little different.

However, according to Russian sports journalist Slava Malamud, hockey remains the purview of a Russian hierarchy keen to demonstrate their brilliance on a global stage.

Orchestrated by Vladimir Putin himself, Malamud has claimed in a lengthy Twitter thread that the Russian president has rigged this year's KHL (Russian hockey league) to assure SKA St. Petersburg win no matter what.

In an election year, Malamud has suggested that in an effort to retain his strangle-hold on domestic politics, Putin is willing to compromise whatever small amount of morality remains in Russian sport for his own ends.

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Allowed various advantages that make the prospect of success inevitable, Malamud has claimed that the league itself is struggling to find adequate means of denying Putin's involvement.

In an official response to such concerns, the KHL offered the following rationale:

Allowing all the best players to concentrate in one team has created unique chemistry that transitioned seamlessly to the Olympic squad.

Making the KHL season easy for them has safeguarded against injuries and bad morale. This is why we won the gold.

Despite not being able to compete under a Russian flag at the recent Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the delegation of hockey players from Russia allowed to compete at the games did indeed go on to claim the gold medal in their final against Germany.

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At the expense of Russia's domestic hockey league, they have garnered national success. Operating under the remit that such results are "for the honour of the Motherland," Malamud had identified a potential issue for Putin's team.

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Although however faint the chances are that Putin's plans could be disrupted, Malamud concedes that in Putin's Russia, "evil always wins" - as was demonstrated throughout the playoff tie.

A goal that was awarded to Putin's SKA was unquestionably offisde (see here), yet, even after the request for an official review from Severstal's coach, it was decided that the goal should stand.

With little or no hope that anything can be done to query or halt Putin's efforts at holding to ransom Russian hockey for his own political ends, Malamud described the grim reality of life in Russia under such tyranny.

See Also: Watch: Shocking Tackle Results In Two Red Cards For French U20s

Arthur James O'Dea

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