Sputnik: Who benefits from this story, from these accusations?
Dr. Tara McCormack: This is just, I think, fairly typical tabloid stuff, fitting in with the broad hysteria around Russia that you get, especially, very unfortunately, in a lot of British media, including the serious media. In fact, I would say that these kinds of things are almost more standard tabloid fair, whereas it’s really much more in the serious broadsheet media, where we have a huge amount of hysteria about Russia.
Sputnik: Do you think that criticizing Russia has become a topic that sells and this is what the media is trying to exploit it, or is the majority of the British public not really buying into it?
Dr. Tara McCormack: Quite possibly, in the same way that I can imagine if the World Cup were somewhere in Brazil, I’d imagine there would be some kind of salacious stories – quite possibly, but again, I would say I don’t think in general the British public is hugely Russophobic, I think this is much more of a media, political elite instead of an ordinary, average person in the street. … What we consistently see in polls conducted is that the public are far less belligerent than out political class.
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For example, when it came to the Syria strikes, 75 percent people were against the strike. … Actually, the average person doesn’t have a burning desire to castigate Russia or to get into some kind of conflict. So, this is a bit of a confection from the media and the political class rather than actually something that the average reader is particularly bothered about.
[…] I think it will be a positive thing in that fans will go from all different countries and realize that Russia is a normal country, they will see people walking around … there will be interviews with normal people in the street. It will be positive to see some normal images of normal life in Russia.