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“Can’t keep silent anymore” / Russia’s ex-captain openly opposes Putin

With his home country, Igor Denisov took part in a world and a European championship. The war in Ukraine changed everything for him. Now he is publicly positioning himself against the Russian President.

Former Russia international soccer player Igor Denisov (38) has openly opposed President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. In an interview with sports journalist and blogger Nobel Arustamyan, the ex-professional described the attack on the neighboring country as a “disaster”.

At the beginning of the war he even recorded a video message to President Vladimir Putin asking him to stop the war. “I’m ready to get on my knees in front of you,” he said. But Russian media did not want to publish the message, Denisov said.

Denisov: Russian people are complicit in the war

The former captain of the Russian team is aware of the consequences that his statements in Russia could have. “I don’t know, maybe I’ll be jailed or killed for those words, but I’ll tell it like it is.”

The 38-year-old also reports on how he felt when the war started: “My perception of everything changed drastically. I didn’t sleep. I probably slept three hours for four days. I was just shocked.”

The Russian people are partly to blame for the war, “because we don’t manage to convey our point of view to the government,” he said.

Denisov: “I’m against it”

Denisov considers the invasion of Ukraine pointless: “Nobody can explain it to me. Maybe because I’m not well-read, maybe because I’m not well versed in history, but I’m against it. I don’t like it when people die. I can no longer remain silent.”

Between 2008 and 2016, Denisov played a total of 54 international matches for Russia’s national team. He spent most of his career at Zenit St. Petersburg, winning the Europa League with the club in 2008 (then still the Uefa Cup). He ended his career in 2019 at Lok Moscow.

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