Russian Hooligans

Russia has a fearsome reputation for football violence. The main hooligan firms belong to Cska Moscow, Spartak Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg. For many years the Russian military ruled football stadiums and was widely regarded as worse than hooligans for the vicious beatings they handed out to control crowds.

Russian Hooligan holds up flare

As a result many firms felt the best way for them to have a tear up was away from the stadiums and now more so than anywhere else, pre arranged fights take place in fields, car parks anywhere away from prying eyes of the authorities.

One of the oldest firms in Russia is Spartak's Gladiators who were formed in 1996. There main rivals are CSKA Moscow who are called Gallant Steeds. The rivalry between these two firms is such that it spills over into ice hockey and various other sports between the two sides. The most famous between the Gladiators and Gallant Steed happened at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon at a busy inter-section. The battle of 1905 street saw 200 CSKA up against 200 Spartak as people went about there everyday business. CSKA were victorious that day and even the leader of Spartak's firm agreed saying they weren't mentally prepared for the battle.

The most active firm outside Moscow is Zenit St Petersburg. They come from the second biggest city in Russia. There firm is called musichall which back in 2004 was created by bringing together all the top fighters from Zenit's different firms. The aim was to create an elite crew which could knock Moscow's firms off top spot.

Zenit St Petersburg Hooligans and CSKA Moscow hooligans are policed by the army

In Russia the majority of firms have signed up to a code of honour called fair play. The time and location for the fight is pre arranged, no weapons are used and the numbers taking part in each side are agreed in advance. The Russian hooligans say the fair play agreement shows respect for each other, your opponent, the enemy. These firms treat hooliganism like a sport with rules to be obeyed.

In 2005 firms from Zenit and Spartak met in a St Petersburg car park. There was over 200 on each side and because it was filmed, has become one of the most famous hooligan battles to date. There will be plenty of videos of pre arranged fights on this site so check the links to the right hand side.

Russia today suffers from inequality on a massive scale, even despite the vast reserves of natural resources the country has. The difference between the have's and have not's makes Russia an extremely unfair society. But the great irony is , it's the hooligans who have created a level playing field. They want a fair fight, it's the firms that are showing respect for each other.

Further Viewing:

Famous Russian Hooligan Fight Video
Zenit St Petersburg vs Spartak Moscow 2005