Moscow, July 11: Russia had a fantastic last one month, thanks to hosting one of the best football World Cups history has ever seen.
But as the tournament is drawing to the close (three matches are left now), the Russian psyche is turning anxious. Nine months from now, will there be instances of Russian girls giving birth to the 'festival babies' of colour?
According to a report published in The Moscow Times, it is an old Russian fear which has surfaced again, decades later. But it still has. A Russian official on women, children and family said in an interview at the time of the beginning of the World Cup that Russians must give birth to their own and warned Russian women against getting too cosy with foreign fans who came to witness the quadrennial tournament, TMT report said.
It had happened after 1980 Olympics
It is also not the first time that the Russians are facing such experience. After the 1980 Olympics in the then Soviet Union, too, several Russian single mothers were left behind suffering, the report said, making it evident how such instances have impacted the Russian mind and how they are cautious not to allow another 1980 happen in 2018.
"As the tournament got underway, it became clear that many in Russia shared the lawmaker's concerns. While foreign football fans flooded Russian streets and cities, commenters on social media shamed local women for fraternizing with Moroccans, Nigerians and Mexicans. They warned of the crisis that would materialize nine months down the line," the report added.
'Deti festivalya' or 'festival children'
TMT said the mixed-blood children born to Russian mothers after international events held in that country are called 'deti festivalya' or 'festival children'.
TMT said this worry is older than even the 1980 Olympics. Six decades ago, in 1957, several students from around the world - Africa, Asia, Latin America -- had flocked to Moscow for a two-week long World Festival for Youth and it just four years since Stalin's death, it was the first ever big international exposure for the Russians to the world and the racial intermingling that was unprecedented. Nine months after the event, it became commonly believed that Russian girls started giving birth to mixed-racial babies and the term "festival babies" became a cultural term, TMT said.
The report also cited experts as saying that the Soviet Union, prior to Stalin's rule, was racially tolerant but after his iron era, which saw a ban on Soviet citizens and foreigners, things changed. Post Stalin, such a law was changed, but the inhibitions remained.