When Javier Vergara moved from Mexico to Russia, he knew very little about the country that has become his new home. Now he is an active social media user and the author of an online project about Russian football.
Vergara, who has been living in Moscow for three years, works as a Spanish language teacher. In his free time, he runs his online project called "'Futvodka" and posts pictures and videos about Russian football in social networks.
His main goal is candidly portray Russia to Latin American football fans who are interested in attending the FIFA 2018 World Championship.
"When I came to Russia, I noticed that there are a lot of videos of my compatriots on YouTube who moved to other countries and told about their life there. I decided that it would be interesting for people from Latin America to hear about the life in Russia on the eve of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. I first started to post pictures, comments and some curious facts on Facebook and received a good response," Vergana told Sputnik.
His Facebook page currently has more than 33,000 followers, his Instagram profile — over 5,300. These figures reflect the interest in Russian football that exists in Latin America, and especially in Mexico, the young man believes.
Vergana constantly improves the project. Recently, he bought a new camera and a computer for video and photo editing.
"In March, when the winter is over, I will start making more videos about the Confederations Cup. I did not want to do it in winter as they would see a completely different Russia than in summer when the Cup will be held," Vergara explained.
The young man believes that Moscow "is a good place to live," and recommends his compatriots to visit Russia. In his opinion, Russian football fans are not aggressive at all and their image as presented by Western media is wrong.
"I've been living here for almost three years and have never seen those aggressive fans. I went to the games of all Moscow teams and I spent time in football bars where I met ordinary young people from 18 to 20 years with their girlfriends. This greatly changed my idea of Russia. Much of what they tell us is untrue and distorted," Vergara concluded.
The "Russia's Hooligan Army" documentary about Russian football fans, which aired in February is criticized in Russia as a propaganda piece aimed at discouraging Britons from traveling to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Russian Embassy in London said in a statement that the documentary film by UK national broadcaster BBC was shot with the intention of discrediting Russia ahead of the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in the country.
The film, which aired late on Thursday, is based on the events of the UEFA Euro 2016 championship in France, when at least 30 people were injured in clashes between Russian and English fans after a football match in Marseille.
Meanwhile, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he does not fear that hooligans will cause any trouble during next year's Football World Cup in Russia, despite reported threats against foreign fans.