This year’s World Cup in Russia will cost more than $14 billion, making it the most expensive football competition in history. And while experts predict that the country will not recognize lasting economic benefit, the tournament will be a boost for some individuals and groups. 8 PHOTOS Winners and losers of the 2018 World Cup in Russia See Gallery Winners and losers of the 2018 World Cup in Russia Winner: Vladimir Putin The biggest winner is Russian President Vladimir Putin. Despite detailed allegations of corruption and ethics rule breaches, Moscow stonewalled a FIFA investigation and retained its selection as host of the tournament. Sports are important for Putin (like his predecessors) to showcase Russian greatness, especially in times of geopolitical turmoil. And the last few years have seen Russia receive international condemnation for annexing the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, providing the missile system that shot down a civilian airliner in eastern Ukraine, backing the murderous regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, meddling in various Western elections (including the 2016 U.S. presidential race), and poisoning a former Russian intelligence officer on British soil. Putin projects power and prestige by hosting the world’s most popular sporting event amid a streak of increased brazenness in the international arena. (Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS) Winner:… Read full this story
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