The Downfall of a Russian Soccer Team

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Among other problems, Dynamo Moscow has been losing many of its best players, like Aleksandr Kokorin (right), shown here in a 2013 match against CSKA.
“The Russian soccer team Dynamo Moscow has its roots in a factory club that was founded in 1887, at the Morozov mill, on the city’s outskirts. In the spring of 1923, the club was co-opted by Vladimir Lenin’s feared secret police, the Cheka, and given its current name. (The playwright Maxim Gorky is credited with coining the club motto, ‘Sila v Dvizhenii,’ or ‘Strength in Motion.’)* By the mid-thirties, Moscow was home to five major teams, four of which represented different arms of the Soviet state: CDKA, now CSKA, was the team of the Red Army; Dynamo, the secret police; Lokomotiv, the state railways; and Torpedo was the club of the city’s sprawling Torpedo-ZiL automobile factory. The exception was Spartak Moscow, founded by the Young Communist League and the local soccer hero Nikolai Starostin, who named his club after the gladiator who revolted against Roman rule. Spartak forged an identity as ‘the people’s club,’ which is why, even today, it has more fans at its games than any of its rivals can boast.” New Yorker

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