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Russia Offers Food Deal to Finish World Cup Stadium

Andy Berg

Russia is employing Soviet-era tactics in hopes of completing its World Cup facilities in time for the first matches, which start June 14 and run through July 15. 

Reuters reported that officials in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region tried to entice local municipal workers to help them finish their stadium in exchange for food and lodging. The stadium, one of 12 throughout Russia, will host six matches during the competition.

The appeal by the Nizhny Novgrod’s sport ministry is similar to tactics used by authorities in the U.S.S.R who would sometimes draft students to help harvest bumper crops.

In letter seen by Reuters, the regional sports ministry asked the heads of local districts to nudge municipal sports facilities into sending their employees to help finish building Nizhny Novgorod’s 45,000-seat World Cup stadium. As part of the deal, workers would receive three meals a day, as well as housing and work tools.

“Unfortunately the level of the stadium’s readiness for the inauguration requires the enlistment of additional labor,” says the letter, signed by regional sports minister Sergei Panov. “I ask you to send employees from physical activity facilities and other institutions in the field of physical culture and sport (10 people) to Nizhny Novgorod for the completion of construction and general service works at the stadium from April 6 to 14 (inclusively).” 

Both the regional authorities and Stroytransgaz, the stadium’s general contractor, acknowledged the letter but took issue with how it was worded.

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