Russia and Ukraine merged league a small part of a bigger play

“In Soviet times a creeping network of veins and arteries kept the footballing and state machines in the eastern bloc beating together as one like some great socio-vascular monolith. Owned and run by government branches, clubs’ fortunes peaked and dipped contingent upon their utility to the Nomenklatura. In Bulgaria the military team CSKA were richly resourced from above whilst rivals Levski, historically synonymous with social resistance, were manipulated by the Interior Ministry to render them forever runners-up. Elsewhere Kaparty Lviv, a beacon for Ukrainian nationalism at a time when communism was creaking under the weight of its own bureaucratic waste, were shut down by the party leadership in 1981, seven years before state-favourites Dynamo Kiev were given permission to privatise and further entrench their legend as Ukraine’s famously immoveable object. Ask not what your country can do for you, and all that.” World Soccer

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