October 17, 2009

OUT OF PUTINSTAN:

Arsenal’s Andrei Arshavin loves London but is baffled by customs (Henry Winter, 17 Oct 2009, Daily Telegraph)

“But the lifestyle is very difficult for me. There are a lot of rules I don’t understand. In Russia, you can break any rule. Here you can’t break rules.’’ Like what? Parking?

“My parking is now OK. Look, for example, I need a visa for my family. Here they can give me a visa only for three months. Why? In Russia, I can get a visa for one year. In Russia for players, especially in Zenit, no problem.’’

Privilege untangled red tape in Russia. “It is good that everyone here in England is equal and it doesn’t matter whether you are a bus driver or player, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, you must follow the rules. I like it. It’s democratic.’’

He felt that his post-Soviet homeland was hewn with division. “In Russia, rich people say life is now better, you can buy anything you want. For older people and average workers, it is not a good time for them now. They are not sure of the future, whether they earn a good pension.’’

Coming from the captain of the Russian national team, such criticism of life back home is strong stuff. He does not flinch. “Sometimes, I speak directly and of course it’s about the wrong way of my government. I say we have this wrong, this wrong. But of course, there is more freedom, towns become more modern, more beautiful.’’

While at Zenit, Arshavin would be out about town, meeting friends. Now he spends time at home with his wife and two young children. “They are demanding! For my family, life is good here. It is common to consider it is ---- weather here but it is very similar to St Petersburg and even better in winter because there is no snow here. Of course, my wife likes it here because in London the shopping is the best.

“I like that you keep your history in Britain. You don’t use your red telephone boxes but you keep them. When we went to Scotland [to play Celtic] we stayed in an old castle. I felt it was only yesterday that knights had left the building.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 17, 2009 6:12 AM
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