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The World Cup Is Russia’s Latest Makeover Attempt

The soccer World Cup, which began Thursday in Russia, could be perceived as a celebration of the world’s love for the beautiful game. It could also, as Boris Johnson, the U.K. foreign secretary, put it, seem like an “emetic prospect, frankly, to think of Putin glorying in this sporting event.” Indeed, the sporting aspect of the Cup notwithstanding, the tournament is yet another attempt by Russia to win respect, and perhaps rehabilitate its image, through sports.

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