What Will Russia’s $15 Billion Investment in the World Cup Buy?
The FIFA World Cup soccer championship in Russia is the most costly ever held.
Officials say the total cost will be $15 billion.
Close to $3 billion has been spent on 12 new or improved stadiums. At least $8 billion has been spent on infrastructure, including new roads, railroads and airports.
Now, experts question whether there will be a good return for the Russian taxpayer.
Professor Leonid Grigoryev is an economist at the Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation. He offers an unusual answer. He compares the World Cup to a wedding dress.
"On one hand, it's necessary. It makes everybody happy," Grigoryev told VOA. "The exact economic efficiency definitely cannot be defined in American quarterly financial reports. It's a long-term story. We still hope to become not only a hockey country, but a football country."
Brazil held the last World Cup in 2014 at an estimated cost of $11 billion. Four years later, the difference is clear to Brazilian football fans in Moscow.
"Comparing Brazil with Russia, the infrastructure here is much better than ours," Marcio Pessoa told VOA, as he walked through Red Square.
Russia's $15 billion investment is aimed at improving the country's image, even as it faces sanctions. International restrictions were put in place over Russia's activities in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
," said Oreshkin.
The first to feel the financial difficulty are likely to be the middle-aged people looking forward to retirement.
On opening day of the World Cup last week, the government announced an increase in the pension age, from 60 to 65 for men, and a much bigger jump for women, from 55 to 63.
Eva lives in Moscow. The 62-year-old told VOA that most Russians were not surprised.
She said she believed that officials thought that the championship would ease the effect of the news.
Eva described a joke that people were telling about the increase in the retirement ago.
"‘Yesterday, I had four years until pension age. Today, I have nine years. And they still keep telling us that you can't get your youth back!'" she said.
Russia said the World Cup is partly a gift for its young people. There is talk of unforgettable memories and new buildings. The World Cup ends on July 15, but its value will be measured in the coming years.
I'm Susan Shand.
1.wedding dress 婚纱
The bride is wearing a wedding dress made of lace.
2.the World Cup 世界杯
Poland know they have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup Finals.
3.walked through 穿过
They walked through thick forest.
4.put in place 落实到位
They're offended by the elaborate security measures the police have put in place.
5."On one hand, it's necessary. It makes everybody happy," Grigoryev told VOA.
On one hand 一方面
On one hand, this is all good news, because it means job security for yours truly.
On one hand, I'm inheriting a new son-in-law.
6.The first to feel the financial difficulty are likely to be the middle-aged people looking forward to retirement.
looking forward to 期待；盼望
The day we have been looking forward to has come at long last.
He was looking forward to working with the new Prime Minister.
教授列奥尼德·格里戈耶夫（Leonid Grigoryev）是俄罗斯联邦政府分析中心的经济学家。他给出了一个不同寻常的答案 。他将世界杯比作婚纱 。
格里戈耶夫告诉美国之音：“一方面，世界杯是必要的，它能让所有人兴奋。当然，其确切的经济效益是美国式季度财务报告无法统计出来的 。这场赛事的影响长远 。我们仍然希望成为一个冰球国度，也想成为一个足球国度 。”
德米特里·奥列什金（Dmitry Oreshkin）是一位政治专家。他说，俄罗斯总统普京试图弱化这些制裁对治国的影响力 。“‘即便面临制裁，我们还是举办了如此精彩的世界杯 。即便面临制裁，我们还是继续支援叙利亚战争 。’直到某一时刻他们开始感觉到，所有这些愉悦他们都要付出代价 。”
她说：“‘昨天，我还剩4年就可以退休。今天，我还得等9年才能退休 。而他们还一直对我们说，青春一去不复返 。"
俄罗斯表示，某种程度上看，世界杯是给年轻人的礼物。他们收获了难忘的回忆以及新的基础设施 。世界杯将于7月15日落幕，不过它的价值将在未来几年体现出来 。