The 2018 World Cup Finals have been an extraordinary exhibition of Russian hospitality, organization, security, and infrastructure. Whoever wins on July 15th – and Russia are as of writing still in the tournament – a grand time will have been had by all with plenty of memories to cherish.
Yet just two days later, a rather more somber anniversary occurs – the date of the 100th year since the execution by the Bolsheviks of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, his wife the Tsarina, their five children and several close personal staff. That occurred sometime during the evening of the 16th and 17th July 1918, in Yekerterinburg, itself host one hundred years later to some of the World Cup matches.
The last Tsar and the remains of the family are now interred in the St.Catherine Chapel at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The entire family and their Orthodox servants were canonized as “passion bearers” by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1981.
Also, on 17th July, Russian President Putin will meet with United States President Donald Trump in Helsinki to discuss US-Russian relations. Back in St.Petersburg, fresh flowers will be laid on the graves of the Royal Family. However as Russia moves on, 100 years later, to diplomatic heights and the hosting of globally successful tournaments, it is prudent to quietly remember the history of the nation and the sacrifices it has made to get here.