Former Russian national team captain Igor Denisov has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine publicly and admitted that he might be risking his own safety in the process. Denisov is one of a number of Russian stars that have spoken out about the matter publicly, for which significant numbers of the public have been jailed.
Denisov, 38, still lives in Russia and could fall foul of law introduced that prevents Russian citizens from spreading fake news or criticising military action publicly, with a potential sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Denisov made the comments in an interview with a Russian YouTuber.
“These events are a disaster. Complete horror. I don’t know, maybe I’ll be imprisoned or killed for these words, but I am speaking as it is,” Denisov was quoted by Politico.
??Former captain of the Russian national football team Igor Denisov urged Putin to stop the war with Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/bIL0lkEvPh
— Flash (@Flash43191300) June 15, 2022
His comments continue to prove that sporting stars are ever more conscious of their impact on the world and the voice that they have in the public sphere. More recent examples from the United Kingdom include the English National team and Marcus Rashford, who have been significant agents of change in recent years.