Leningrad football riot: what happened in 1957

Leningrad football riot: what happened in 1957

May 14, 1957 in Leningrad - after the game of the local "Zenith" with Moscow "Torpedo" - the fans staged a riot, which is considered one of the most widespread in the history of Soviet and Russian football.

The Leningrad football rebellion of 1957 almost turned into a political protest against Soviet power.

“Substitution” goalkeeper

Zenit unwittingly lost this match away with the score 1-5. Somewhere 5 minutes before the final whistle, a tipsy Leningrad fan ran out onto the pitch and tried to get in the goal instead of the Zenit goalkeeper. It is curious that the judge did not immediately notice the “replacement” of the goalkeeper, and for some time the teams still played to the laughter and hooting of the stands, until the police tied up the bully.

"Make the second Hungary!"

It seemed that the incident was settled, but the judge did not have time to blow the whistle about the end of the game, as the field flew bottles, stones, tiles.Then Leningrad fans, armed in the back rooms of the stadium (crowbars, shovels, scraps of pipes), went to the Zenit dressing room with the demands to give them a goalkeeper and head coach. But soon the anger of the fans switched to the police and military cadets, who kept order at the stadium. Excited rioters shouted: “Beat the footballers!”, “Beat the police!”, “Make the second Hungary,” meaning the 1956 Hungarian anti-communist uprising. As a result of the unrest in the stadium, more than 100 police and military personnel were seriously injured. The number of injured fans is unknown: according to the stories of witnesses, the account there went on hundreds. The revolt was able to crush closer to midnight when reinforcements arrived.

"Counter-revolutionary hooliganism"

After the suppression of unrest, the police detained people indiscriminately - including innocent fans who were taken hostage in the stadium. 16 people were convicted. And at the beginning of the defendants wanted to condemn under a political article-for anti-Soviet and counter-revolutionary activities. However, the Khrushchev thaw began in the courtyard, and the article was changed to hooliganism.

Information vacuum

The next day, most newspapers discussed the game itself, without saying a word about the massacre after the match. And only Komsomolskaya Pravda modestly published: “It should be noted the poor organization of the competition at the stadium and the lack of discipline of the audience.”

"Good" tradition

Most participants in the riots were intoxicated. In those days, at the stadiums, no one had yet thought to prohibit drinking alcohol. It was a good tradition to come to football and "crush" one or another bottle of vodka.

Riot against government loan

A number of analysts believed that Leningrad fans were “warmed up” not only by the bad game of their favorite team and “strong” drinks, but also by a recent decision of the Soviet government to delay the repayment of government loans for 20 years, which the whole country was waiting for. Bonds of the state loan were distributed by force under Stalin: sometimes the workers spent up to 50% of their salary on their purchase.

Other cities

It must be said that the Leningrad football rebellion was not exceptional in Soviet sports.In the same year, the fans rioted in Kiev, Tbilisi, Kutaisi and other cities. True, they were significantly inferior in scale unrest in Leningrad.

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