Accessibility links

Breaking News

Anonymous Bomb Threat Disrupts Trial Of Russian Soccer Stars

Zenit St. Petersburg soccer player Aleksandr Kokorin (left) and fellow defendant Aleksandr Protasovitsky attend a hearing in a court in Moscow on April 10.

The high-profile trial of Russian soccer players Pavel Mamayev and Aleksandr Kokorin who have been charged with battery and hooliganism was disrupted in Moscow on April 11 after an anonymous bomb threat.

The court's personnel, bailiffs, and defendants were evacuated from the building of the Presnensky District Court after the threat was phoned in.

The two well-known soccer players and two other defendants, Kokorin's younger brother, Kirill, and Aleksandr Protasovitsky, went on trial on April 9.

Zenit St. Petersburg striker Kokorin and Krasnodar F.C. midfielder Mamayev along with the other two are on trial in connection with an October 8 assault that attracted widespread attention in Russia.

They are accused of beating Denis Pak, an ethnic Korean official from the Ministry for Industry and Trade, after he rebuked them for behaving improperly in a central Moscow coffee shop.

Moscow's Tver District Court had ruled on December 5 that the suspects would remain in jail until February 8 pending further investigation and possible trial. The pretrial detention period is subject to further extension.

A video taken by a surveillance camera and broadcast by national television stations showed Pak being hit over the head with a chair and slapped in the face.

The four men are also accused of beating Vitaly Solovchuk, a driver for television journalist Olga Ushakova, in a separate altercation near a Moscow hotel on the same day.

That attack was also caught on surveillance camera footage that has been broadcast on television in Russia.

The attacks damaged the reputation of Russian soccer after the country's successful hosting of the 2018 World Cup in June and July.

They topped Russian television newscasts at the time, and officials and lawmakers called for the players to be punished.

With reporting by Meduza, Dozhd, Interfax and TASS
  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.