Russia and Turkey aren’t on the best of terms right now, for lots of complicated reasons. Playing off these tensions yesterday was Lokomotiv Moscow’s Dmitri Tarasov, who revealed a Vladimir Putin shirt underneath his jersey during his team’s Europa League match against Turkish club Fenerbahçe.
Written beneath Putin’s image was “most polite President,” an oblique reference which the Guardian explains thusly:
The phrase on Tarasov’s T-shirt was an allusion to the unmarked troops who occupied Crimea in March 2014 and were popularly referred to as “polite people” and “little green men”, before Putin admitted that they had been Russian soldiers. Turkey has condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its treatment of Turkic-speaking Crimean Tatars.
When asked about his intent behind wearing the shirt, Tarasov demurred:
“I didn’t want any provocations, I’m just a patriot of my country, and Putin is the president of our country,” Tarasov later told LifeNews, adding that he might wear a Putin shirt “with a different caption” at his next match.
In any case, there’s a good chance Europa League’s officials aren’t as charmed by Tarasov’s allegedly innocent gesture. The Guardian reports that UEFA intends to investigate the matter, seeing as it broke their prohibition on political messages made during games. Tarasov could face a 10-match ban from European competition. Hope it was worth it.
Photo via AP